New program available to help Hoosier small businesses build online presence

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Small Business Development Center (Indiana SBDC) announced today a new partnership with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business to support the long-term economic recovery of Hoosier small businesses and entrepreneurs. Through a new program, eligible companies may apply for no-cost assistance to help establish or increase their online presence through website development, e-commerce support and other digital tools and services. 

“As a state, we’re focused on encouraging long-term planning and investments to propel Indiana’s economy into the future,” Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger said. “With this new partnership, the Indiana SBDC will continue increasing its support for Hoosier small businesses and entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 pandemic, improving access to critical tools and resources to help companies adapt to new markets and enhance their competitiveness by growing their online presence.”

The Indiana SBDC and Kelley launched Project HOPE to support Indiana small businesses negatively affected by COVID-19. Under the program, Kelley students and recent graduates are offered paid internships to assist eligible companies in expanding their online presence, solving technology issues or providing new digital capabilities. The projects, which include creating or modifying websites, building e-commerce platforms, improving cybersecurity frameworks, migrating data, and more, are overseen by faculty members and completed within two weeks. 

To be eligible, Indiana small businesses must meet the following criteria:   

  • Be an Indiana SBDC client,
  • Have been in business as of February 15, 2020, and
  • Be able to demonstrate a negative impact from COVID-19. 

“Since our founding 100 years ago, our school has believed we have a responsibility to support the Indiana business community,” said Idalene Kesner, dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. “Due to the COVID-19 situation, the need for support is greater today than ever before. Our dedicated faculty and engaged students are ready to apply their expertise and skills to help our state in its efforts to recover from the pandemic.”

To date, more than 75 student interns have participated in Project HOPE, providing more than 8,000 hours of direct technical support to 97 small businesses in 28 counties. Along with these services, student interns provide training and education to enable small businesses to operate the new technology or tool following the conclusion of the project. All work is conducted virtually to ensure the health and safety of Hoosiers. Indiana companies are encouraged to submit applications online.

Black-owned small business partners with Indiana SBDC & Kelley to launch state-of-the-art website 
Nicole Kearney is the vitner and owner of Indianapolis-based boutique winery Sip & Share Wines, which produces a diverse collection of artisanal vegan wines. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Kearney has shifted gears to meet the changing needs of her small business, developing an online strategy to reach new and existing customers. With the help of the student interns, Sip & Share Wines launched a new website equipped with improved functionality for novice and experienced wine drinkers and an e-commerce platform designed to bolster the company’s online sales. 

The Indiana SBDC, which is a program of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, approved $150,000 in federal funding provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration through the CARES Act to support the statewide launch of Project HOPE. To learn more about COVID-19 resources and no-cost counseling available to Indiana entrepreneurs and small businesses, visit isbdc.org/indianacovid19smallbusiness.

About Indiana SBDC 
The Indiana Small Business Development Center (Indiana SBDC) is a program of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which leads the state of Indiana’s economic development efforts. The Indiana SBDC helps entrepreneurs launch, grow and locate businesses in the state, providing entrepreneurs with expert guidance and resources on how to start and grow a business. With a network of 10 regional offices through the state, the Indiana SBDC creates a positive and measurable impact on the formation, growth and sustainability of Indiana’s small businesses.
 
The Indiana SBDC is funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. For more information about the Indiana SBDC, visit www.isbdc.org.