Negele: New program helps Hoosier small businesses build online presence

Posted by: Josh DeFonce  | Tuesday, August 4, 2020 2:00 am

STATEHOUSE (Aug. 4, 2020) – State Rep. Sharon Negele (R-Attica) encourages Hoosier small businesses to apply for a new program that provides direct technical support to help build an online presence.

"As a small business owner, I know how much an online presence can help your business reach more customers and increase sales," Negele said. "As Hoosiers remain cautious and continue social distancing during this pandemic they need another way to connect with local businesses, and this free resource provides that opportunity."

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

Negele 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 Negele, 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 Corporation, 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


State Rep. Sharon Negele (R-Attica) represents House District 13,
which includes all of Benton County, and portions of Fountain, Jasper,
Montgomery, Newton, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties. 
here for a high-resolution photo.