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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Indiana University Kelley School of Business is offering no-cost assistance to help small companies in Indiana hit hard by COVID-19.

The Kelley HOPE Digital Project is a partnership of IU with Indiana Small Business Development Centers and also will work with economic development centers, chambers of commerce and business hubs such as the Dimension Mill in Bloomington.

“COVID-19 is having a tremendous impact on the state’s economy,” said Bipin Prabhakar, chair of Information Systems Graduate Programs at the Kelley School and a Fettig/Whirlpool Fellow. “Particularly hard hit are small businesses that have traditionally operated in person, not online. For some, going online will be a lifeline to survive.”

The goal of the program is to help small businesses establish or increase their online presence and bolster their digital capabilities. IU said projects could include creating or modifying websites or digital storefronts, making it possible for staff or customers to work with the company remotely or improving their information security.

The program will also benefit many information systems students at IU who have had their summer internships canceled or shortened by including current students and recent graduates from undergraduate programs.

Kelley said 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.

The program will continue through the summer, and it is hoped that it will serve at least 100 companies.