SBA to open application cycle for Shuttered Venue Operators Grants today
The U.S. Small Business Administration will officially open the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application website at noon today for operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theaters, 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.
The agency has more than $16.2 billion in available aid for those businesses, said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas-Guzmán.
“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,” Casillas-Guzmán said.
“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,” she said.
The SVOG program has received funding to provide grants under the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. Of these funds, at least than $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 agency said.
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 of the SVOG application cycle, the SBA hosted a national informational webinar 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 its dedicated SVOG website and targeted outreach to potential applicants, it added.
The SBA worked 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, to design the program.
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,” the agency said in a statement.