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Small biz program to tackle lack of Web savvy

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More than half of Indiana’s small businesses don’t have websites, a consortium of tech firms and industry groups estimates.

To address the gap, Fight for Small will launch Tuesday evening. The program organized by the consortium will teach indiana small business owners how to wield social networks, customer review websites and the rest of the Internet to their advantage.

“Many just kind of have their head in the mud and hope [the Internet] doesn’t get in the way of their day-to-day stuff,” said Jayson Manship, so-called “lead nerd” at web developer inSourceCode, which is spearheading the program. Doing so means they miss out on the power of Web marketing.

The company has partnered with business groups Verge, TechPoint and the Indiana Small Business Development Center, among others, on the effort.

Fight for Small will occasionally host town hall-style meetings with experts, who will field questions business owners have about technology.

More frequently, tech experts will tour the state to lead classroom workshops with 10 or so business owners. Instructors will go over specific topics, such as how to effectively use Facebook and how to address negative customer reviews on sites such as Yelp.com, Manship said.

The program kicks off with a launch event at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Madison Avenue Athletic Club, 306 Prospect St., south of downtown. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

The event will include a town-hall session with representatives from inSourceCode, the ISBDC, video marketing firm 12 Stars Media, Yelp and Angie’s List.

More than 200 people have signed up for the event so, with room for about 200 more, Manship said.

Tickets cost $5 for business owners or $10 for the general public. But the ISBDC, Verge, TechPoint and the Indy Chamber all have access codes that give free tickets, Manship said.

To register, go to this Eventbrite page, click “Enter promotional code” (below ticket information) and type in “ISBDC,” “Verge,” “TechPoint” or “chamber.”

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