Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program Now Accepting Applications

April 28, 2021

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently opened its application portal for the $16.25 billion Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program.

The SBA stated it has completed rigorous testing on the portal, which shut down due to technical issues hours after it opened on April 8. The SBA said last week that its vendors had fixed the root cause of the initial problems but that more in-depth risk analysis and stress tests identified other issues. The agency promised to reopen the portal by the end of the week of April 18 after its technology team and vendors addressed and mitigated issues found in the testing process. Venue operators are reporting they are able to successfully submit applications after the portal’s reopening.

The SBA also recently released a 57-page SVOG user guide and an updated and reorganized FAQs. Included in the updated FAQs is a sample statement applicants can use for their Certification of Need, as well as clarification that the SBA will look to the entity’s calendar year 2019 earned revenues as the basis for determining the award amount.

The SVOG program was created when the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act was signed into law in late December. The Economic Aid Act appropriated $15 billion to the program.

The American Rescue Plan Act appropriated an additional $1.25 billion to the SVOG, with at least $2 billion reserved for eligible applicants with no more than 50 employees. The American Rescue Plan Act also amended the SVOG program so entities that apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan after Dec. 27, 2020, can also apply for an SVOG, with the entity’s SVOG to be reduced by the PPP loan amount.

Entities eligible to apply for an SVOG include operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theaters, as well as live venue promoters, theatrical producers, and talent representatives.