On Monday, April 26, 2021, after a month of false starts, the Small Business Administration opened the application portal for Shuttered Venue Operators Grants.
To find a local assistance office, visit https://www.sba.gov/local-assistance/find
The Small Business Administration recently presented an information session on the SVO Grant. You can watch it below:
The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020. The program includes $15 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO Grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.
Updated April 23, 2021
Updated May 13, 2021
Who can apply
Eligible entities include:
- Live venue operators or promoters
- Theatrical producers
- Live performing arts organization operators
- Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
- Motion picture theater operators
- Talent representatives, and
- Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements
Other requirements of note:
- Must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020
- Venue or promoter must not have received a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020
Should I apply for a PPP loan or SVO grant?
If you believe your organization has a good chance at qualifying for an SVO grant, then you should not apply for a PPP second or first draw after 12/27/20. Various SBA district directors have been notified that the SBA national office will be imminently posting to their website an important clarification that SVO Grant applicants will be disqualified if they apply for a PPP forgivable loan.
Detailed information on eligibility requirements coming soon.
Amount of SVO Grant
Grant amount will be either:
- For an eligible entity in operation on January 1, 2019, grants will be for an amount equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue OR $10 million, whichever is less.
- For an eligible entity that began operation after January 1, 2019, grants will be for the average monthly gross revenue for each full month you were in operation during 2019 multiplied by six (6) OR $10 million, whichever is less.
How to apply
SBA is in the process of setting up the grant program and is not yet accepting applications. Those who have suffered the greatest economic loss will be the first applications processed under the following schedule:
1st 14 days of grant awards
Entities that suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Next 14 days of grant awards
Entities that suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning 28 days after First & Second Priority Awards are made
Entities that suffered a 25% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Available after First & Second Priority
Recipients of First and Second Priority round who suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter (as of 04-01-21 or later)
The SBA is not yet accepting applications for SVO Grants, but you can get a head start on the process by completing the following steps now!
- If you or your organization does not already have a Dunn and Bradstreet DUNS Number, get one.
- Use your DUNS number to register in the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM). You can’t simply use a Taxpayer or Employer ID Number to apply for an SVO grant. (Note: It could take up to two weeks to finalize a SAM registration.)
- Gather documents that demonstrate your number of employees and monthly revenues so you can calculate the average number of qualifying employees you had over the prior 12 months.
- Determine your gross earned revenue losses. It looks like SBA is going to use the Gross Earned Revenue definition to determine Priority Eligibility, but it’s not confirmed yet.
- Determine the extent of gross earned revenue loss you experienced between 2019 and 2020 on a quarterly basis.
- Make PDFs of additional information such as floor plans, contract copies and other evidence that will be needed to apply for an SVO grant.
- Sign up for a regional mailing list and webinar in your area and develop a direct relationship.
- Ask the SBA specific questions about SVO eligibility by e-mailing [email protected].
Allowable use of funds
Funds may be used for specific expenses, which include:
- Payroll costs
- Rent payments
- Utility payments
- Scheduled mortgage payments (not including prepayment of principal)
- Scheduled debt payments (not including prepayment of principal) on any indebtedness incurred in the ordinary course of business prior to 02-15-20)
- Worker protection expenditures
- Payments to independent contractors (not to exceed $100K in annual compensation per contractor)
- Other ordinary and necessary business expenses, including maintenance costs
- Administrative costs (incl. fees and licensing)
- State and local taxes and fees
- Operating leases in effect as of 02-15-20
- Insurance payments
- Advertising, production transportation, and capital expenditures related to producing a theatrical or live performing arts production. (May not be primary use of funds.)
Grantees may not use award funds to:
- Buy real estate
- Make payments on loans originated after 02-15-20
- Make investments or loans
- Make contributions or other payments to, or on behalf of, political parties, political committees, or candidates for election
- Any other use prohibited by the Administrator
Grantee Record keeping
Grantees will be required to maintain documentation demonstrating their compliance with the eligibility and other requirements of the SVO Grant program. They must retain employment records for four years following their receipt of a grant and retain all other records for three years.
Application and additional guidelines will be posted when available.
For more information
For additional information, email [email protected]. All emails regarding SVO Grants will be sent using an official government email address ending in @sba.gov.
Banner photo courtesy of The Loft Cinema, Tucson.