SBA’s $16.2B Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program now accepting applications

Operators of live venues in New Jersey — everything from performing arts organizations to museums and movie theatres, live venue promoters, theatrical producers and more — could begin applying for more than $16 billion in grants Thursday.

The U.S. Small Business Administration opened its Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal in an effort to provide critical economic relief to many entities that were some of the first to shutter their doors a year ago in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have remained closed since.

Those hardest hit will be first in line, SBA officials said.

The SBA said it is accepting SVOG applications on a first-in, first-out basis, but it is allocating applicants to respective priority periods as it receives applications:

  • The first 14 days of SVOG awards, which are expected to begin in late April, 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.

The SBA has released a number of tools to help in the process:

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said the organization is committed to distributing grant money as soon as possible.

“We know that, for the stage and venue operators across the nation that help make this culture happen, the pandemic has been devastating,” she said. “Too many have been forced to lower the final curtain on their businesses. Today, with more than $16.2 billion available through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants, help is here.

“The SBA is committed to moving as quickly as possible to deliver this vital funding effectively and equitably — ensuring relief goes to those venue operators whose revenues have been most impacted by the pandemic.”

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.