Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU receives $1 million federal grant to help small businesses

November 22, 2021

The West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC), hosted at Indiana State University's Scott College of Business, has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration's Community Navigator Pilot Program.

The grant will support the creation of the Intentional Outreach Network (ION) to strengthen outreach services to underserved businesses in a seven-county service area in order 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 Program Director Courtney Richey-Chipol. "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 SBA Acting Great Lakes Regional Administrator and Indiana District Director Stacey Poynter. "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."