- Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program will stop accepting new applications on Aug. 20
- Supplemental grants of up to 50 percent of a recipient’s award will be available to businesses that have received an initial award
- The program has so far awarded $8.4 billion to 10,826 recipients
Summary by Dirk Langeveld
The U.S. Small Business Administration is planning to stop taking new applications for its Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program next week and begin offering supplemental grants to current recipients.
The SBA announced Wednesday that it will take applications until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday, Aug. 20. It will then open the program to supplemental grants of up to 50 percent of a recipient’s original award, with the total amount of initial and supplemental funding not to exceed $10 million. Details on the supplemental awards will be announced at a later date.
The SBA says it will also accept, via invitation, applications requesting that the agency reconsider the amount of funding awarded or appealing a decision to decline an award.
SVOG was established under the Economic Aid Act to provide grants to arts and cultural organizations that suffered severe and prolonged revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the legislation and supplemental appropriations in the American Rescue Plan, it was funded with $16.2 billion.
The program is open to a wide range of entities, including live venue operators or performers, performing arts organizations, movie theaters, museums, talent representatives, and theatrical producers. Applicants can receive grants equal to 45 percent of their gross earned revenue, up to $10 million.
In announcing the upcoming change to the program, the SBA highlighted The Palace in Stamford. Michael Moran, CEO and president of the theater, described SVOG as a “lifeline” allowing the business to return to its full staffing and programming. He said the impact of the pandemic was worse than anticipated, as the initial expectation was that the theater would only be closed for three or four weeks.
“As the pandemic continued to worsen, so did our fears of never reopening. The Palace closed for 15 months, with expenses continuing to accumulate against bleak revenue prospects,” said Moran. “The SVOG grant through the SBA saved us and can be credited with not only our recovery but that of Stamford’s entire theater district.”
Demand on the SVOG program has so far stayed within the allocated funding. According to the SBA’s latest report, the program had received 15,872 applications requesting $12.3 billion as of Aug. 9. The SBA has made a decision on 98 percent of the applications, declining funding for 3,264 requests and approving $8.4 billion for 10,826 recipients. About two-thirds of these businesses have fewer than 10 employees, and the average grant size is $779,000.
SVOG has primarily benefited live venue operators and promoters, who account for 3,867 awards. Another 2,908 grants have gone to live performing arts organizations, with 1,403 approved for movie theaters.
In Connecticut, 138 businesses have received $102.2 million through the program.
The SVOG portal is accessible here. Applicants with questions about the program can contact the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at 1-800-659-2955 or, for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, at 1-800-877-8339.