Arion Long

Arion Long, Femly founder (Courtesy Photo)

Arion Long started her company, Femly, after being diagnosed with a cervical tumor linked to chemicals in popular feminine products. But, she survived that, and her business is surviving the pandemic. Bianca Jackson, a visionary and trailblazer, had always possessed a drive to do more than what her career as a tech journalist allowed. The Philadelphia- born entrepreneur, who owns and operates BrickRose Exchange, not only survived the pandemic, but she’s thriving.

Both Long and Jackson are among the first round of Comcast RISE award recipients. The company said more than 700 businesses will receive consulting, media, and creative production services from Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable or technology upgrades from Comcast Business.

RISE – Representation, Investment, Strength, and Empowerment – is part of a more extensive $100 million Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative that Comcast launched in 2020. The company has committed to playing an integral role in driving lasting reform and developing a comprehensive, multi-year plan to allocate $100 million to fight injustice and inequality.

Femly and BrickRose Exchange are among the 15 Comcast RISE award recipients in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The Baltimore Times also counted among the award recipients.

“We are grateful to Comcast and salute their continued mission to effect real change,” The Baltimore Times Publisher Joy Bramble stated.

Each of the businesses has detailed their stories about the pandemic’s impact, how they pivoted, and how the services they are receiving from Comcast RISE will help them move forward.

“The biggest thing that this award from Comcast means is accessibility and access as a Black female in business,” stated Long, whose long list of available feminine products includes panty liners, day and night pads, and a unique menstrual cup.

“I think that as a Black female in business, access to capital and marketing are often barriers to success,” Long added.  She said the creative production services she received from Comcast will allow her to accomplish more. “It’s been an amazing opportunity to be able to craft commercials that will be shown to women in our target markets,” Long said.

For Jackson, the Comcast RISE award could not have arrived at a more opportune time.

“They gave us laptops and iPads, and I’m just so grateful and humbled to be a recipient of this grant,” stated Jackson, who noted that her BrickRose Exchange was “born from love and appreciation for connecting people.” “The name itself has some great significance,” Jackson explained about BrickRose Exchange. “Brick represents culture and tradition, spaces and cities. Rose is like innovation, and when you look at cities like Baltimore, sometimes, when innovation comes in, it erases culture and tradition. So, the name is a space where both can meet.”

According to a news release, Comcast RISE consists of several components. They include a media technology resources program, consulting, a linear television media campaign, creative production, technology makeovers, business resources, and grants of up to $10,000 for U.S.-based small and diverse businesses that have been operating for at least three years.

“We created Comcast RISE to partner with Black, Indigenous and People of Color-owned (BIPOC) small businesses and give them access to tools that will help them survive the pandemic and thrive,” Dan Carr, Vice President, Comcast Business, Comcast’s Beltway Region, said in a statement.

“As we’ve gone through the selection process, it’s been so powerful to hear these business owners’ stories and see the tangible ways that we can help grow their businesses and positively impact their communities. I could not be more
pleased to open this program to the entire BIPOC community and continue this positive momentum.”

For more details about Comcast RISE, visit https://www.comcastrise.com/

Bianca Jackson, owner, BrickRose Exchange