The $16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, which was part of the Consolidated
Appropriations Act, 2021, signed into law Dec. 27, 2020.
The SVOG was further amended by the American Rescue Plan Act and currently offers grants equal to 45% of an eligible venue’s gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award set at $10 million. Eligible applicants with up to 50 full-time employees can draw
from a reserve pot of $2 billion.
- The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOGs) program, established as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 to provide economic relief to shuttered live venues, was scheduled to begin accepting grant applications on April 8, 2021.
- The program will distribute more than $16 billion in grants of up to $10 million equal to 45% of an eligible venue’s gross earned revenue.
- Eligible applicants with up to 50 employees can draw from a special $2 billion reserve fund.
- Applications will be sorted into three priority periods for venues that suffered COVID-related economic loss ranging from 25% to 90% or greater.
- Grants are expected to be disbursed beginning before the end of April 2021.
- Grant funds may be used for specific listed expenses only.
Eligibility for an SVOG
To be considered for an SVOG begins with the type of venue you represent. The Economic Aid Act specifies the entity must be one of the following:
- Live venue operator or promoter
- Theatrical producer
- Live performing arts organization operator
- Museum operator
- Motion picture theatre operator
- Talent representative
- Any subsidiary of an eligible entity that also meets eligibility requirements
- Any of the above operated by a state or local government solely as a venue
February 29, 2020
To be eligible for an SVOG, your venue must have been in operation as of this date.
Even if your venue would be otherwise eligible, it would not be considered for a grant if any of the following apply:
- It does not have a place of business located in the United States, does not operate primarily within the U.S., and does not make a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials, or labor.
- It was not in operation as of Feb. 29, 2020.
- It is a publicly traded corporation or is majority-owned and controlled by a publicly traded corporation.
- It presents live performances or sells products or services of a prurient sexual nature.
- More than 10% of its 2019 gross revenue came from the federal government (not counting disaster assistance)
- It owns or operates venues, theaters, museums, or talent agencies in more than one country; owns or operates venues, theatres, museums, or talent agencies in more than ten states; AND it had more than 500 employees as of Feb. 29, 2020.
- Five other firms with which it is affiliated have already received SVOG awards.
- It is a museum, and other museums with which it is affiliated have already received $10 million in SVOG funding.
Due to technical difficulties, SBA has temporarily suspended the SVOG application portal, which was scheduled to open April 8, 2021. SBA says it will share advance notice of the time and date before the reopening so all applicants can be prepared. You may continue to register for a new account.
Preparing to Apply
To avoid delays and an incomplete application, make sure you gather all necessary documents, register for a DUNS number, and register in the System for Award Management (SAM.gov). Instructions can be found in the SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Applicant User Guide.
Go to the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Application portal and register. Follow the onscreen prompts to register, enter your email address (which cannot be changed), and create a password as part of the registration process.
Once you are registered you will be directed to the Main Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Page. From there it’s a matter of following instructions and prompts. You can preview the entire application process on the online Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Applicant User Guide before you begin.
You must determine your gross revenue loss between 2019 and 2020 to see if you qualify for one of the priority periods discussed below. Other required information—including floor plans, contract copies, and additional documentation—is listed in the SVOG Preliminary Application Checklist.
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application requires multi-factor authentication. You will need to download and install the Google Authenticator App on your Smartphone.
Submitting Your Application
At the end of each major section, you have the option to click “next” to go to the next section, to click “previous” to return to the beginning of the section you just completed, click “cancel” to erase and reset the section you just completed, or click “Save for later” to save everything and return to the home screen.
At the very end, you have the option to “submit” your application. Once you do that, you will begin to receive notices by email regarding status and changes.
You will need documentation that demonstrates your number of employees and monthly revenues. You will use this to calculate the average number of qualifying employees you had over the previous 12 months.
Priority Periods for Grant Awards
The SVOG program, which was scheduled to begin accepting applications on April 8, 2021, has established priority periods for the disbursement of grant awards, based on the percent of economic loss suffered by the entity. Those priority periods are listed in the table below.
Meanwhile, the SBA is accepting applications on a first-in, first-out basis within your respective priority period. Award disbursement is expected to begin in late April 2021, with the first 14 days 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 and if funds remain available, recipients of first, second, and third-round awards that suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter, may apply for a supplemental grant.
If funds become unavailable, SBA intends to distribute zero dollar ‘placeholder’ supplemental awards which could be redeemed within 6 months should Congress appropriate additional funds.
|1||First||Entities that suffered a
90% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
|15||Second||Entities that suffered a
70% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
|29||Third||Entities that suffered a
25% or greater earned revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.
|Supplemental||After all Priority Periods have passed, recipients of first, second, and third priority round awards who suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter (as of April 1, 2021, or later).|
Source: Small Business Administration
Priority awardees do not need to satisfy the small employer set-aside rule (no more than 50 employees). Awardees who do will receive funds first from the $2 billion set aside.
How SVOG Funds May Be Used
SVOG funds may only be used for the specific purposes listed below. Grantees are required to maintain documentation demonstrating that they have complied with these uses. Further, as a grantee, you must retain employment records for four years following receipt of funds and you must retain all other records for three years.
- Mortgage payments (not including prepayment of principal)
- Debt payments (not including prepayment of principal on any indebtedness incurred in the ordinary course of business prior to February 15, 2020)
- Worker protection expenses
- Payments to independent contractors ($100,000 or less per contractor per year)
- Other ordinary and necessary business expenses, including maintenance
- Administrative costs (including fees and licensing)
- State and local taxes and fees
- Operating leases in effect as of February 15, 2020
- Insurance payments
- Advertising, production transportation, and capital expenditures related to producing a theatrical or live performing arts production. (This may not be the primary use of funds.)
How SVOG Funds May Not Be Used
If you are a grantee, you may not use SVOG funds for any of the following, including any other use prohibited by the SBA.
- Purchase of real estate
- Payments on loans originated after February 15, 2020
- Investments or loans
- Contributions or other payments to—or on behalf of—political parties, political committees, or candidates for election
- Any other use prohibited by the Administrator