Understanding that the hospitality industry in Kansas would be among the first to experience the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Laura Kelly established the Hospitality Industry Relief Emergency (HIRE) Fund with funding carved out of a line item in the Department of Commerce’s budget normally reserved as a deal-closing fund to bring new businesses to the state of Kansas.
The Department of Commerce partnered with NetWork Kansas, a nonprofit with a system of small business loan underwriters across 64 Kansas counties, to shape and administer the fund.
Governor Kelly and Secretary of Commerce David Toland announced the creation of the HIRE Fund at a media event on the morning of Friday, March 20. By the time the press conference had finished, nearly 100 applications had already been submitted online; by the end of the day, 860 applications had been received. As of 5:00 p.m. on March 24, nearly 1,500 applications have been received.
“The hospitality industry in Kansas was one of the first to be hit financially by the COVID-19 crisis,” Governor Kelly said. “Department of Commerce Secretary David Toland and the teams at Commerce and NetWork Kansas moved swiftly to stand up the HIRE Fund program and process applications in a short period to help us quickly get these critical dollars into the hands of hospitality businesses across the state.”
344 Kansas hospitality businesses were selected to receive 0% interest loans up to $20,000. Unfortunately, the need for funds exceeded the amount of dollars available to give; but the application for HIRE Fund loans is still open. The information received will be used to help build the case for additional funding for the Kansas hospitality industry.
Submitted by the Kansas Department of Commerce / State of Kansas.
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