The U.S. Small Business Administration will officially open the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal tomorrow, April 8, 2021, for operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theatres, as well as live venue promoters, theatrical producers and talent representatives to apply for critical economic relief, as those eligible entities are some of the first that had to shutter their doors a year ago in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Concerts, plays, dance performances, movie premieres, museum exhibits – these are the lifeblood of culture and community, and often the anchor for travel, tourism and neighborhood food and retail stores. We know that for the stage and venue operators across the nation that help make this culture happen, the pandemic has been devastating. Too many have been forced to lower the final curtain on their businesses. Today, with more than $16.2 billion available through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants, help is here,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “The SBA is committed to moving as quickly as possible to deliver this vital funding effectively and equitably – ensuring relief goes to those venue operators whose revenues have been most impacted by the pandemic.”
The SVOG program was appropriated more than $16.2 billion for grants via the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. Of these funds, at least $2 billion is reserved for eligible SVOG applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue up to a maximum amount of $10 million for a single grant.
The SBA is accepting SVOG applications on a first-in, first-out basis and allocating applicants to respective priority periods as it receives applications. The first 14 days of SVOG awards, which are expected to begin in late April, will be dedicated to entities that suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss between April and December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second 14 days (days 15-28) will include entities that suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss between April and December 2020. Following those periods, SVOG awards will include entities that suffered a 25% or greater revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.
Prior to the opening tomorrow for SVOG applications, the SBA has hosted a national informational webinar (archived recording) to highlight the application process for potential eligible entities. The agency also provided recurrent program updates and information via frequently asked questions, additional video tutorials, an application checklist, and eligibility requirements through SBA’s dedicated SVOG website – www.sba.gov/svogrant – and targeted outreach to potential applicants.
As the SBA built the SVOG program from the ground up, it worked closely with its federal partners, including those dedicated to the affected industries such as the National Endowment for the Arts and Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Congressional authors in analyzing the legislation and Congress’ intent. The agency also consulted industry partners, such as the National Independent Venue Association, National Association of Theatre Owners, National Independent Talent Organization, Performing Arts Alliance, Broadway League, American Alliance of Museums and the Associations of Art Museum Directors, Children’s Museums, Science and Technology Centers, and Zoos & Aquariums. The SBA’s collaboration with these organizations has been vital to SBA’s understanding of and guidance for potential SVOG applicants and the agency looks forward to their continued partnership during the launch of the program.
In addition, SBA’s resource partners, including SCORE Mentors, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and Veterans Business Outreach Centers, are available to provide entities with individual guidance on their applications. Applicants can find a local resource partner via SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/local-assistance or via a zip code at www.sba.gov/localassistance. (Per federal grant program guidelines that the same and equal information needs to be provided to each applicant, SBA’s team members are limited on responses they can provide to individual, specific questions regarding SVOG eligibility, potential grant amount, or other detailed information.)