Eberhart: Free program helps Hoosier small businesses build online presence

Posted by: Lydia Kirschner  | Wednesday, August 12, 2020

STATEHOUSE (Aug. 12, 2020) – State Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) encourages Hoosier small-business owners and entrepreneurs to apply for a free program that provides direct technical support to help build their online presence.

"In this day and age, it's almost become a necessity to connect to more people who are online searching for products or services," Eberhart said. "Most businesses want and need to reach more customers and increase sales, but they may not have the know-how or money to pay someone to help. Now they can turn to this program and get some guidance from top-notch interns – all for free."

The Indiana Small Business Development Center launched Project HOPE and recently partnered with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business to support long-term economic recovery of Hoosier small businesses and entrepreneurs. Eberhart said through the 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.

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

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

Eberhart said Kelley School of Business students and recent graduates are able to receive paid internships through this program to assist Hoosier companies with creating or modifying websites, building e-commerce platforms, improving cybersecurity frameworks, migrating data and more. Interns are overseen by faculty members, and projects are completed within two weeks. According to Eberhart, more than 75 student interns have participated in the program and are providing more than 8,000 hours of support to 97 small businesses in 28 counties.

Through the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the Indiana SBDC 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.

-30-

State Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) represents House District 57,
which includes Shelby County and portions of Bartholomew and Hancock counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.