MANHATTAN, KS (March 27, 2020) - The Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce has issued a formal request of the Manhattan City Commission to create a loan fund for local small businesses impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic.The program would be established for an immediate need (defined as less than 14 days) that is determined to be a detriment to the long-term sustainability of the business. The goal would be to review and fund any approved applications in less than two business days. The Chamber would also provide technical assistance to the applicant in identifying funding opportunities to secure a longer-term solution to the current situation.According to Jason Smith, president and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber, the program would not be a replacement for local, state or federal financial assistance, but rather a bridge for an emergency a company may be facing."We know this is an unusual request," Smith said in a letter to commissioners. "However, we cannot think of a time where so many businesses are being disrupted for an issue they had no hand in creating. The most vulnerable are our independent, Manhattan-based businesses. These are the entrepreneurs and small business owners that help create our community identity and culture. We must do anything we can to help them survive this crisis."The request is for $500,000 from the city’s economic development fund. All Manhattan businesses would be eligible to apply if they meet the criteria. A business would be eligible for up to $5,000 or $10,000-$20,000 for certain circumstances in a 0% interest loan to be paid back over three years with a four-month deferral period.The Chamber would repay the city as the funds are paid back. "The Chamber leadership believes this a great use of community economic development funds," said Chamber Chair Larie Schoap. "We know there are businesses in need. While a number of programs are available to assist, we just want to make sure no one slips through the cracks. Our locally-owned small business community is very important to our future and we need to help however we can."Information and the application process will be available pending approval from the Manhattan City Commission atwww.manhattan.org beginning Wednesday, April 1, at 8 a.m.