money ship ocean

The SBA has awarded more than $10 billion in economic relief through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program as of Sept. 24.

Through 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 percent loss when comparing 2021’s first-quarter revenues to the same in 2019 are eligible to receive a supplemental grant.

Applicants can choose to apply for any amount up to 50 percent 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.

Grants have been awarded 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, reopen and continue contributing to local economies, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said.

Since the inception of the program, more than 90 percent of grants have supported venues with less than 50 employees.

“America’s performing arts venues and related businesses have been among the hardest-hit during this pandemic,” Guzman said. “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.

“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,” she said.

Among the thousands of venues that received grants were community venues Off Broadway St. Louis and Mulcahy’s Pub and Concert Hall in Wantagh, N.Y., which shared how SBA’s support is helping their family businesses survive.

“When the pandemic hit, business stopped cold,” said Steve Pohlman, co-owner of Off Broadway St. Louis. “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, said, “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. 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 the SBA continues sending supplemental invitations to eligible SVOG awardees.

For additional information on economic relief programs, visit COVID-19 relief options.

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 sba.gov/local-assistance. For weekly SVOG funding data reports, visit sba.gov/svog