The U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal on April 24, 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.
“We recognize the urgency and need to get this program up and running,” said Barb Carson, deputy associate administrator of SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. “With venue operators in danger of closing, every day that passes by is a day that these businesses cannot afford. We remain dedicated to delivering emergency aid as quickly as possible and will begin reviewing the applications on Saturday as they are submitted.”
While working with vendors to fix technology issues that occurred with the April 8 initial opening, the SBA identified and resolved other concerns and enhanced the applicant experience with the portal. The following updates have been made:
• Clarifying and making program documentation more user-friendly;
Improving application portal security mechanisms;
• Adding an industry-standard waiting room technology to address the high interest in the program and provide an orderly application process for fair and smooth performance; and
• Updating application features, including: a new revenue chart, the ability to upload multiple attachments, and an improved application flow to match the eligible entity types and their respective required documentation.
SBA’s collaboration with several live venue, cultural and related industry organizations has been vital to the agency’s understanding of the user experience for potential SVOG applicants, and the SBA will continue to partner with them through the application and grant awarding processes.
For more information and to view applicant resources, visit www.sba.gov/svogrant.
For Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal technical assistance such as a password reset, browser suggestions, or how to use the multi-factor authentication with an app and the QR code, applicants can call 1-800-659-2955 or, for the deaf and hard-of-hearing 1-800-877-8339 and follow the prompts to SVOG assistance. The call center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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 mid-May, 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.
SBA’s resource partners, including SCORE business 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.
In preparation for the application portal reopening, the SBA recommends eligible applicants take the following actions:
• Register on the portal in advance. Applicants will need a smartphone and a multi-factor authenticator app to register and apply;
• Review the SVOG Frequently Asked Questions and Applicant User Guide; and
• Prepare required documentation, per the Application Checklist.