Independent venues are entering one of the final phases of the drawn-out Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. The Small Business Administration – which has been tasked with carrying out the program – has announced that award notices for supplemental grants have begun to roll out.
Supplemental grants for the SVOG are additional funds for those who received an initial grant and continued to suffer losses due to the pandemic in 2021. Any entity (independent venue, promoter, talent agency, movie theater, zoo, etc.) could apply for the supplemental grant equal to 50% of their initial grant or less, not to exceed the $10 million limit.
As of today, the SBA has awarded over $10 billion of the more than $16 billion in economic relief set aside by Congress in December to nearly 12,000 applicants.
“America’s performing arts venues and related businesses have been among the hardest-hit during this pandemic,” SBA administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a release. “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.”
The supplemental award period remains open, and SBA continues sending supplemental invitations to eligible SVOG awardees. 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.
Supplemental grants will assist businesses with a 70% loss when comparing 2021’s first-quarter revenues to the same in 2019. The turnaround for the supplemental grants has been much swifter than the initial grants which took four months to open and another 30 days before funds began to hit bank accounts. The SBA received more than 17,500 applications since the program launched in late April with fewer than 1,000 submissions left to be decisioned.
“To run a venue of this size there is a tremendous amount of overhead,” said owners of New York’s Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall Tim and John Murray in a release. “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.”