Alicia Wong and husband Alex Issvoran received support from Comcast RISE for their fortune cookie company. Credit: Oakland Fortune Factory

This October, Comcast will once again give $10,000 grants to 100 small businesses in Oakland led by women and people of color.

The Oakland Fortune Factory is one recipient of support from Comcast RISE. The Oakland family business hand-makes dazzling fortune cookies — frosted, sprinkled, chocolate-covered and more — with customized messages on the inside, be it for weddings or corporate events. 

Open since 1957, the bakery expected to have its best sales year of all time in 2020… and then came the pandemic. This prompted husband and wife, Alicia Wong and Alex Issvoran, to create an online presence and begin sharing virtual cookies, adapting the business to match the needs of their customers and community.

The couple knew that the business needed more exposure to bring in paying customers.  They applied for the Comcast RISE program and received a media grant, which included a commercial about their tasty treats. The couple is grateful to have found this opportunity to get more exposure and they plan to build on the success that the Comcast RISE program has brought so far.

The Oakland Fortune Factory made branded cookies for a special event called “Hella Asian.” Credit: Comcast

“Growing up as an Asian American in Oakland I felt invisible,” said Wong. “Now that I have taken over my parents’ fortune cookie business, I want to modernize it. I want to show the world that Asian Americans have a voice. My dream is to have a voice through our product, and Comcast RISE is helping me pursue my dream.”

Eligible businesses:

  • Owned by a woman and/or person of color;
  • Established operations at least three years ago;
  • Have 1-25 employees;
  • Based in Oakland.

Apply online through Oct. 16. Awards are announced end-November and given out in December. 

Comcast’s support for small businesses

The Comcast RISE Investment Fund, which awarded grants to local businesses last year, is ready to help another batch of businesses this fall, with applications due this month. The goal of the funding program is to provide monetary grants to help small businesses owned by women and people of color grow as they navigate the challenges of the pandemic.  The 100 grants total $1 million, just within Oakland, increasing the total fund being awarded to $2 million. 

The Investment Fund is an extension of Comcast RISE — which stands for Representation, Investment, Strength, and Empowerment — a multi-year, multi-faceted initiative launched in 2020 to provide small businesses owned by women and people of color the opportunity to apply for marketing and technology services from Comcast Business and Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable.

If a business is not eligible for the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, applications are also available for marketing and technology services.

“When we launched Comcast RISE, we knew a profound need existed in many of the communities we serve,” said John Gauder, regional senior vice president of Comcast California. “We have now seen firsthand how the program’s marketing and technology resources benefit small business owners who continue to work hard and rise above 2020’s impact. Today, with Oakland receiving additional funding as a Comcast RISE Investment Fund grant city, we are excited to see how this infusion of funding will continue to propel businesses to thrive. We know the impacts will be fruitful and far reaching, especially with this year’s program expansion for women-owned businesses.” 

Comcast has committed $1 billion over the next 10 years to programs and partnerships that will reach an estimated 50 million people with the skills, opportunities and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

Grant recipients will also receive a complementary 12-month membership to the coaching program from Ureeka, an online platform for entrepreneurs, to help them build skills, gain more customers and become financially stable.