The U.S. Small Business Administration has created a program that will award businesses in desperate economic need money to help recover from distress inflicted on them due to the pandemic.
U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced the SBA began supplemental award notifications to eligible applicants this week, through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program. Thus far, the SBA has awarded over $10 billion in economic relief to nearly 12,000 venues, providing a critical lifeline for theaters, live venues, and other entertainment and cultural hubs as they recover from the pandemic, re-open and continue contributing to local economies. Since the inception of the SVOG program, more than 90% of the grants have supported venues with less than 50 employees – or the smallest of small businesses – a key priority of Administrator Guzman.
Per the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-profits and Venues Act, and the American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Joe Biden, those who received an initial grant and illustrate a 70% loss when comparing 2021’s first-quarter revenues to the same in 2019 are eligible to receive a supplemental grant. This applies across the country, no matter if you own, or plan to start, an LLC or a sole proprietorship. Once your small business is up, the same regulations and rules apply for the grants.
“America’s performing arts venues and related businesses have been among the hardest-hit during this pandemic. Our SBA team has helped approximately 12,000 of these treasured community institutions secure a combined $10 billion to weather this crisis and build back better,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said. “The majority of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants have gone to businesses with 50 employees or less – which means we’re reaching our smallest businesses, who suffered disproportionate impacts from the pandemic and were often left out of early rounds of relief. My vision for the SBA is that we make all of America’s small businesses, including the smallest venues and entertainment businesses, feel like the giants they are in our economy, and our SVOG program is a great example of how we’re doing just that.”
Among the thousands of venues that received grants were community venues Off Broadway St. Louis and Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall in Wantagh, New York, which shared how SBA’s support is helping their family businesses survive.
Steve Pohlman, co-owner of Off Broadway St. Louis said, “When the pandemic hit, business stopped cold. We didn’t have a real show for 16 months, and for most of that time, we were completely closed. We first started working with the SBA through the Paycheck Protection Program. We were about to run out of funds again when the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program was launched. We would not have survived without the SBA’s assistance.”
Tim Murray and his father, John, owners of Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall added, “To run a venue of this size there is a tremendous amount of overhead. Without the SVOG, we would not know where we would be today – the debt might have been too large to get out from. Various stakeholders, from Senate Majority Leader Schumer to advocacy organizations, were crucial to getting this funding appropriated for shuttered venues; and the SBA processed and funded applications to keep our hard-hit businesses alive during the COVID pandemic. Without everyone’s joint efforts – and that of thousands of venues across the country – many of us would no longer be in business.”
The supplemental award period remains open, and SBA continues sending supplemental invitations to eligible SVOG awardees. Applicants can choose to apply for any amount up to 50% of their original SVOG amount, with a $10 million cap of the initial and supplemental awards combined, according to the law. The supplemental awards also allow SVOG recipients to extend the time to use their grant funds for expenses accrued through June 30, 2022 and lengthen their budget period to 18 months from the initial grant’s award date. SVOG is one of the many programs the SBA has administered during the pandemic and contributed to more than $1 trillion in relief for America’s communities.
For additional information on SBA’s Economic Relief programs, visit COVID-19 relief options. Further, the 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 a zip code search at http://www.sba.gov/local-assistance. For weekly SVOG funding data reports, visit www.sba.gov/svog.