COVID-19 Update Letter: Manchester Small Business Recovery Loan Program & More

Manchester Small Business Recovery Loan Program & More

A note from GMC CEO & President, Michael Skelton

4/13/2020

Dear Chamber Members,

I hope you had a great holiday weekend and were able to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. “Social distancing” has altered our daily lives in so many ways, our weekends being chief among them. Given the “Groundhog Day” feel to workdays now for many of us, the weekends are an important opportunity to find new ways to engage and enjoy the outside world and connect with family and friends (virtually, of course). With two young children, my wife and I have embraced this mindset out of necessity and explored new local hiking trails, ramped up our neighborhood walks and outdoor activities, and have regular zoom or facetime calls with family and friends. It has been fun and encouraging to see so many others in our community doing the same.

There is a strong connection between embracing this new normal and navigating the significant challenges facing our businesses and organizations. With so many of the usual activities we use for energy unavailable to us (i.e. networking events, dining out, volunteer committees, going to the gym), replacing these experiences with something new is critical to ensuring we have the opportunity to unplug, recharge, and are ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead for our businesses, organizations, and community.

Before we get to this week’s updates, thank you all for the sacrifices you continue to make to collectively combat this virus. While the costs are great, these efforts are making a difference and will help us get to the “other side” of this crisis soon.
 
Manchester Small Business Recovery Loan Program
As part of our response to this crisis, the Chamber has been hard at work developing new resources to support the business community. Based on discussions with city leaders and on models of similar programs being established in other cities, the Chamber proposed the creation of a new small business recovery loan program in partnership with Mayor Craig last week. The Board of Mayor of Aldermen approved the initial funding request and we are now working with the Manchester Development Corporation on the process and guidelines to launch and administer the program.
 
Paycheck Protection Program and Federal Assistance Update
A little more than a week into the launch of the Paycheck Protection Program and participation from New Hampshire businesses has been very significant. The SBA reports that 4,400 loans totaling more than $1 billion were processed for NH businesses over the first week of the program. In conversations with Congressman Pappas and Senator Shaheen, both have shared their support for continuing to expand the program, improving its accessibility, and ensuring adequate funding exists to meet demand.

We continue to help members navigate this program and other federal assistance programs and encourage any business impacted by the ongoing situation to reach out and explore these support opportunities.

State CARES Act Funding
A provision of the federal CARES Act allocated $1.25 billion in funds to each state to use for relief efforts. Governor Sununu last week announced the formation of a new state agency to oversee the allocation and disbursement of these funds.

As part of our regular calls with BEA Commissioner Taylor Caswell and the Governor, Chamber leaders from across the state were told that a portion of these funds is being considered for new business support programs. Details and timing are still being determined. We will keep you posted on this effort and plan to advocate to our state officials that these programs be set  up quickly and in as easy-to-access platform as possible.

Community Conversations – Manchester Public Health Director Anna Thomas
Last week we launched our new webinar series “Community Conversations” with Congressman Chris Pappas. Community Conversations is a new, virtual series where we bring community leaders to you, at home, to chat candidly about issues facing our business community during the current state of the world. This week we are excited to welcome Manchester Public Health Director Anna Thomas as our guest. Please join us Friday at noon!

Member Services – How Can We Help?
A reminder to not hesitate to reach out if the Chamber team can assist you and your business. Our member relations team has made hundreds of outreach calls recently and been able to assist members by connecting them with resources and information, ways they can support fellow Chamber members, or updates and changes to their Chamber membership account. We know this environment is challenging for many of our members and our team is ready to work with you to ensure you can stay engaged and active with the Chamber. Please reach out and let us know how we can help!

Be well and stay healthy,

Mike

Mike Skelton, President & CEO, GMC