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LIFToff Financial Impact Challenge:
Enabling Capital and Credit Opportunities for
Underrepresented Communities

Status: Applications Closed. Winner announcement pending.

ABOUT THIS CHALLENGE

Underrepresented communities struggle to build and maintain credit, get access to capital, and build overall wealth. This challenge is amplified for business owners and entrepreneurs from these communities. Comcast NBCUniversal has deep relationships with underrepresented business-owners/entrepreneurs and their customers and is seeking startups with eligible solutions addressing these systemic challenges. These action-oriented solutions should be post-minimal viable product and enable trust in, access to and strengthening of the financial safety net for consumer and business long-term success. Examples of solutions include (but are not limited to): building and maintaining credit, alternative pathways to credit, capital access, banking or lending, payment alternatives, financial processing, consumer behaviors and habit building.


YOU ARE

An early to mid-stage FinTech startup with at least a minimum viable product in beta testing or live in market

WE ARE

An experienced partner helping startups grow and scale their businesses

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WHAT TO EXPECT:
Challenge Launch: Applications Open July 28
Weeks 1 – 4: Sourcing & Office Hours (7/29 – 8/27)
Weeks 5 – 6: Evaluation & Diligence (8/30 – 9/10)
Weeks 7 – 9: Startup Shortlist Selection & Notification (9/13 – 9/24)
Week 10:Final [virtual] pitch to Comcast NBCUniversal business leaders (late Sept/early Oct)
Finalist(s): Announced and awarded in mid-October

 

If You’re Selected

Selected participants in this LIFToff Financial Impact Challenge may be eligible for:

  • Up to $300K in investment funding via Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE)
  • 12-month membership to Ureeka, an online mentorship, coaching and support community for entrepreneurs
  • Access to the Comcast NBCUniversal business leader network, including mentorship and connections to business units, where relevant

For questions about the program or application process, please contact us at LIFT@comcast.com

WHY THIS PROGRAM IS IMPORTANT

During the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses were hit hard. Businesses owned by women, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people were disproportionately affected.

Many minority-owned small businesses were in financially precarious positions even before COVID-19 lockdowns and in 2020 alone, 41% of Black businesses, 32% of Latinx businesses, and 30% of women-owned businesses closed.

For those that survived, 80% of businesses note that they are experiencing financial challenges

Amid financial instability and lack of cash flow, operating expenses have become the top financial challenge for small businesses, followed by making payments on debt, paying rent, purchasing inventory and credit availability. According to the Small Business Credit Survey, large banks approve 60% of loans sought by white small-business owners, yet only approve 50% by Hispanic/Latinx and a mere 29% sought by Black owners.

Small businesses aren’t just part of our economy; they are our economy.

The 1.1 million minority-owned small businesses in the US employ more than 8.7 million workers and generate more than $1 trillion in economic output. The success of underserved communities depends on the success of locally owned small businesses.

 

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