Posted: Friday, October 22, 2021
The University of Evansville, with the support of Fifth Third Bank, is launching the Jacobsville Advantage, a collaborative effort that assists small businesses in the community with the resources necessary for growth. The overall project was created by Embrace Marketing, a marketing and communications agency managed by UE students. Members of the team hope the innovative program will strengthen Jacobsville businesses and bring strategic growth to the area.
For some time, Fifth Third has been partnering with UE and the Small Business Development Corporation to find innovative solutions and initiatives for the Jacobsville community, in which approximately 460 businesses are located. After conducting research to identify the best ways to support small businesses in the community, Embrace found that marketing assistance was a significant need. Because small businesses often do not have the funds to strategically market their goods or services, they may struggle to be profitable. With a grant from Fifth Third to launch their efforts, Embrace will work one-on-one with business owners to create marketing campaigns and increase brand awareness and reach.
“Fifth Third is dedicated to continuing in our shared vision of creating a Tri-State region where small businesses can truly thrive with exceptional community partners like the University of Evansville and their Center for Innovation & Change,” said Neely Pierce, city president of Fifth Third Bank. “That’s why we have been a proud supporter of this meaningful work and will continue in our philanthropy and resource sharing as the next phase of this program sparks growth and change in the Jacobsville business district.”
Any business owner in the Jacobsville community can receive these services at a very low cost, thanks to the grant from Fifth Third. A stairstep approach will set the initial 5 hours at $10 per hour, with increasing rates up to $50 after 35 hours of service. To learn more or schedule an appointment with the team, businesses can apply on the Jacobsville Advantage website.
“Our team is very excited to bring this project to the Jacobsville area and create real change that will support these business owners and their families,” said Brock Wandel, a UE junior and account executive for Embrace. “While we may not be able to help every single business, we’re confident that those who reach out to us will be impacted for the better.”
Embrace was founded in 2018 by UE alumnus Joe Ellsworth as well as the University’s Center for Innovation & Change. This unique program, now guided by alums Keith Leonhardt and Emily Schuster, is entirely student-run and provides experiential, hands-on learning for students. Clients of Embrace receive affordable marketing and communication services, including graphic design, rebranding, advertising, and consulting.
The Jacobsville Advantage is one of several improvements UE has brought to the community. ChangeLabs, or semester-long courses that seek to create positive change, helped implement Bike Share for the city. Three UE students created the CommuniTree at Mickey’s Kingdom, a solar-powered structure that provides wi-fi and charging ports for mobile devices. The University also obtained $90,000 in solar panels for the Carver Community Organization. Additionally, UE teamed up with Glenwood Leadership Academy to launch the mad hot ballroom program to enhance art education and performance opportunities.