The Indiana University Kelley School of Business is offering assistance to Hoosier businesses to establish an online presence for their operations. The school says the Kelley HOPE Digital Project aims to help small companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Kelley says the project will bolster the digital capabilities of small businesses in Indiana, and the focus will be to quickly solve a technology problem or to provide companies with new digital capabilities.
In addition, the school says it will provide paid internships for students working on the project. Each project will be undertaken by IU students under the guidance of faculty members or alumni, and each project is expected to be completed within two weeks.
“COVID-19 is having a tremendous impact on the state’s economy,” said Bipin Prabhakar, chair of information systems graduate programs at IU’s Kelley School of Business. “Particularly hard hit are small businesses that have traditionally operated in person, not online. For some, going online will be a lifeline to survive.”
Kelley is partnering with Indiana small business development centers as well as economic development centers, chambers of commerce, and business hubs to support the effort.
“Businesses may not have the time, knowledge or resources to implement an online model quickly. Even after stay-at-home orders have been lifted, many consumers will still prefer to go online. We want to help these companies by offering a no-cost service to alleviate the operational barriers created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alan Dennis, the Kelley School John T. Chambers chair of internet systems.
The school says projects could include creating or modifying websites or digital storefronts, creating remote solutions or improving information security. Kelley says all work will be done virtually.
The school says all Indiana businesses are welcome to apply for assistance. The project initially will be rolled out through Indiana Small Business Development Centers based at IU South Bend and at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, before being expanded to all 10 Small Business Development Centers around the state.
Kelley says the program will continue through the summer, and it hopes to serve a minimum of 100 companies.