The West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center, hosted at Indiana State University’s Scott College of Business, has received a $1 million federal grant to help small businesses.
The grant is from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Community Navigator Pilot Program.
The grant will support the creation of the Intentional Outreach Network to strengthen outreach services to underserved businesses in a seven-county service area to ensure that SBA resources are accessible to entrepreneurs.
It will allow for the hiring of business advisors and outreach representatives to support businesses impacted by COVID-19 and underserved areas including rural, LBGTQIA+, veteran, and Black-owned businesses. It will also enable West Central Indiana SBDC and its partners to bring additional current COVID-19 and basic business resources to these businesses.
“We saw with the pandemic that there were business owners who did not know about the programs and funding available to them,” said Courtney Richey-Chipol, West Central SBDC program director. “Funding from this grant will allow us to increase our capacity to hire additional people to reach out and provide assistance to businesses in underserved markets. We are grateful to the SBA for this grant because this will help ensure that all businesses have access to resources available to them.”
ION includes five key agencies: WestCentral2025, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, Pride Center of Terre Haute, Wabash Valley Base Community Council, and Launch Terre Haute, Inc.
“As we continue to focus our efforts on placing equity at the heart of SBA programs, we are proud that our partners at The West Central Indiana SBDC have been named a Community Navigator Hub,” said Stacey Poynter, SBA acting Great Lakes regional administrator and Indiana district director. “We look forward to a bright future as they grow and develop relationships with spoke organizations, and ION evolves to provide education and training, resources and a voice to the small businesses of tomorrow.”
The SBA community navigator pilot program is an American Rescue Plan initiative designed to reduce barriers and provide access to vital resources for small businesses across the nation.