eBizITPA's 300th IT Implementation Grant Awarded

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The Center for eBusiness and Advanced IT (eBizITPA) reached a major benchmark in February by awarding its 300th IT implementation grant to The Hite Company in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Commonly known as the IT Kickstart program, eBizITPA's competitive reimbursement grant program is designed to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to implement information technology projects that will increase productivity and efficiency.

The Center for eBusiness and Advanced IT (eBizITPA) reached a major benchmark in February by awarding its 300th IT implementation grant to The Hite Company in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

The Hite Company is a family-owned distributor of electrical apparatus, equipment, electronics, data communication and automation products and industrial, commercial and residential lighting. The $5,000 grant will assist the company in making major upgrades to its current Web site in order to increase visibility and streamline company processes.

"Our web site has been in need of a major upgrade. With eBizITPA's assistance, we are finally able to tackle this project and when completed, our web site will be fully integrated into our business," said Katie Brouse, Marketing Director for The Hite Company. "We expect many of our processes at The Hite Company to become more efficient because of this project."

Commonly known as the IT Kickstart program, eBizITPA's competitive reimbursement grant program is designed to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to implement information technology projects that will increase productivity and efficiency. Projects ranged from designing and upgrading web sites to building major business-to-business and business-to-consumer applications. Businesses participating in the IT Kickstart program have varied from manufacturers and service providers to retail stores and non-profits. Businesses are chosen to receive a grant on the basis of their ability to identify significant benefits to be achieved through the project.

The IT Kickstart program began in 2004 and by the end of 2007, companies who were awarded grants had reported over $31,000,000 in increased sales, $718,000 in recovered revenue and $684,000 in increased profit due to these IT investment projects. Overall, the IT Kickstart has a leveraged new investment of over $8,000,000 by Pennsylvania businesses, and has produced a nearly 900% return on the grants.

"At a time when the economy is slowing capital investment in IT infrastructure this is the kind of investment many businesses need to be making to ensure long term stability," said Susan Breon, President of eBizITPA. "We strive to make these implementations a little easier by providing the grant incentive."

In addition to funding, eBizITPA also developed a Business Technology Service Locator which allows companies to easily search for Pennsylvania IT providers that can best meet their needs. The Locator raises the visibility of IT providers and encourages relationship building among companies and IT providers, particularly in the more rural counties of Pennsylvania.

"Seventy-five percent of Pennsylvania companies are small businesses and many do not have the resources to have full-time IT personnel on staff. Since IT is a multi-faceted field, our Business Technology Locator makes it easy for small companies to search for the right kind of IT service provider depending on their needs," said Breon.

Interested Pennsylvania companies can visit http://www.ebizitpa.org for more information on the IT Kickstart program or to access the Business Technology Service Locator.

The Center for eBusiness and Advanced Information Technology (eBizITPA), headquartered in Erie, Pa., is a statewide Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority Initiative, designed to help Pennsylvania enterprises understand and use information technology and e-business tools.

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Brad Moore
eBizITPA
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