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What You Need to Know About the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Program

What You Need to Know About the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Program
Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Updated September 22, 2021
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The Small Business Administration (SBA) has worked hard to help small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the resulting shutdowns. One such program is the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), a grant that was available to eligible live entertainment small businesses, nonprofits, and venues. To date, the program has awarded $9 billion in grants to more than 11,500 businesses.It has now closed, but a supplement may be available to eligible businesses. 

What is the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant?

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, or SVOG, included over $16 billion in grants available to venues that had to close because of the pandemic. It was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act. These businesses, many of whom have fewer than 10 employees, may not have qualified for earlier rounds of COVID-19 pandemic relief, so this grant helps fill a significant gap.

Who is Eligible?

To qualify for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, your business must be one of the following:
  • Live venue operator or promoter
  • Theatrical producer
  • Live performing arts organization operator
  • Museum operator
  • Motion picture theater operator
  • Talent representative
Also, entities of these types owned by state or local governments might have been eligible if the entity acts solely as this type of business and doesn’t engage in other types of activities.To have been eligible, your business must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020, and it must have defined performance and audience spaces.

How Much Could I Apply For?

There were two grant amounts available for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.If your business was in operation on January 1, 2019, you might have qualified for a grant equal to 45% of your 2019 gross earned revenue or $10 million, whichever is less.If your business started after that date, grants were available for the average monthly gross earned revenue for each full month of operation during 2019 multiplied by six, or for $10 million, whichever is less.

How Long Do I Have to Apply?

Applications drew to a close as of August 20, 2021.However, note that on August 27, the SBA announced that it would open applications for supplemental grants of up to 50% of the original award amount. There’s a cap of $10 million on initial and supplemental grants combined. 

What Can the SVOG Be Used For?

There are some specifics about what you can and can’t use the grant money from SVOG for. It can be used for payroll, rent, utilities, scheduled mortgage payments, and scheduled debt payments. It can also be used to purchase worker protection, pay for independent contractors (up to $100,000 per individual), and cover other ordinary business costs. For the complete list, visit the SBA’s page on the topic.You can’t use grant funds to purchase real estate, make investments or loans, or contribute to a political party.If you receive the grant, you will be required to document your expenses to prove you followed these guidelines.

Other SBA Loans and Grants

The SVOG is just one of three grants the Small Business Association has created to help small businesses out of this pandemic slump. 

Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) provides relief to businesses hit hard by the pandemic. The EIDL can also be a loan for other types of disasters like hurricanes and floods, but here we’ll just discuss the COVID-19 EIDL.The current EIDL program provides up to $500,000 to qualifying businesses. Applicants are also considered for the EIDL Targeted and Supplemental Targeted Advances, which are grants of up to a combined total of $15,000. These Advances do not have to be repaid.It’s possible to qualify for both an SVOG and an EIDL, though in the SVOG application, you will need to list any funds you’ve received through the EIDL Advance or Targeted Advance when asked about any federal financial assistance your business has received.

Paycheck Protection Program

The other SBA program designed to help alleviate financial strain during the coronavirus pandemic is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These loans were designed to help cover payroll expenses, as well as rent, mortgage interest, utilities, worker protection costs, and uninsured property damage caused by looting or vandalism during 2020.The PPP included two rounds of financing, and the second ended on May 31, 2021. There’s no word on whether future rounds will be available.Many who received Paycheck Program Protection funds may be eligible for loan forgiveness. Qualifications for loan forgiveness include:
  • Maintaining employee and compensation levels
  • Spending proceeds on eligible expenses
  • Spending 60% of proceeds on payroll costs
Instructions on applying for PPP loan forgiveness can be found on the SBA website.If you applied for a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, here are some things to know about the PPP.If you received a PPP loan before August 9, 2020, you were still eligible to apply for an SVOG, however, you cannot be eligible for a PPP loan after receiving an SVOG.If you received a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020, that amount of the PPP loan will be deducted from the SVOG amount you can receive.If part of your PPP loan was forgiven, this won’t affect the amount deducted from your SVOG. The full amount of your PPP loan will be deducted from your SVOG, regardless of whether any was forgiven or not.

The Takeaway

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant is just one effort by the Small Business Administration to keep our economy, particularly that of small businesses, afloat. If you qualify for this or the EIDL, getting these funds could be a great boost to your business.If a grant isn’t right for you, you can explore your small business loan options with Lantern’s network providers.
Photo credit: iStock/jganser
The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.SOLC0821

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get more than one SBA grant?
How much can you get in SBA grants?
Who is eligible for SBA grants?

About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. She enjoys writing about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.
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