Small businesses having trouble finding the personal protective equipment that they need to get back up and running can start getting help from the state Wednesday. Indiana Small Business PPE Marketplace is officially launching, according to Indiana Economic Development Corporation Chief of Staff Luke Bosso.
“The marketplace, which is initially free of charge, will consist of bundles of PPE, based on the size of your business,” Bosso explained during state officials’ COVID-19 briefing Tuesday. “These bundles include masks, face shields, one-gallon bottles and two-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer. At this time, only the bundles will be available on the marketplace.”
To qualify, a business or nonprofit organization must be registered to do business in Indiana, employ fewer than 150 people, be required to use PPE to comply with safety requirements, and fall into the categories of restaurants, retail sales, personal services, or offices. But Bosso noted that supplies are limited, and businesses should only use the marketplace if they can’t find PPE somewhere else.
“I would encourage restaurants and I would encourage like industries to work together to go secure PPE,” he said. “Trying to find 10 masks right now is going to be more difficult than it would be to try to find 10,000. So talk to your neighbor businesses, talk to your neighbor restaurants and work together, and that will make the supply chain much easier to go out to get, especially, masks right now.”
Governor Eric Holcomb added that making PPE could turn out to be a big opportunity for Indiana businesses. “One of our long-term goals is as we create a supply chain based here in Indiana, Indiana-made products, that can support our businesses but also around the world, this is going to be a source of enormous pride for us, as we build up here and on-shore products back to the State of Indiana,” Holcomb said. “Huge opportunity for us.”
The governor said he’s encouraged by Hoosier companies who’ve already switched their operations to make personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants.