Karickhoff, VanNatter: Program helps Hoosier small businesses build online presence

Posted by: Andi TenBarge  | Friday, July 31, 2020

STATEHOUSE (July 31, 2020) – State Reps. Mike Karickhoff (R-Kokomo) and Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo) encourage Hoosier small-business owners and entrepreneurs to apply for a program a no cost that provides direct technical support to help build their online presence.

"In this day and age, connecting online with customers is an extremely valuable tool in building and sustaining a business," Karickhoff said. "As consumers adjust their buying habits in light of the health pandemic, having an online presence has become even more of a necessity than ever before."

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. Karickhoff 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. 

VanNatter 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. 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.

"This program serves a dual purpose of helping small-business owners while proving opportunities for interns to use their college training," VanNatter said. "It's another resource offered to local businesses in need of innovative solutions to reach a wider customer base, and these talented students will work hard and fast in a number of areas based on the needs of the company."

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.

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State Rep. Mike Karickhoff (R-Kokomo) represents House District 30,
which includes portions of Grant and Howard counties. 

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

 

State Rep. Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo) represents House District 38,

which includes portions of Carroll, Cass, Howard and Clinton counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.