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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 GuilloryUpdated May 8, 2023
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
May 4, 2023 Update: The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program is no longer accepting new applications. In addition, the COVID-19 EIDL program is not accepting new applications, increasing requests, or reconsidering applications. As of January 1, 2022, SBA stopped accepting applications for new COVID-19 EIDL loans or advances. As of May 6, 2022, SBA was no longer processing COVID-19 EIDL loan increase requests or requests for reconsideration of previously declined loan applications.
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. SVOG is no longer accepting new applications. The SVOG portal remains open to all active applicants and awardees.

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.Recommended: Understanding Different Types of Small Business Loans

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. Recommended: SBA Loans: How Do They Work?

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. Recommended: What to Do if You can’t Pay Back Your Covid-Related Loan

The Takeaway

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant was just one effort by the Small Business Administration to keep our economy, particularly that of small businesses, afloat. You can also explore your small business loan options with Lantern’s network of providers.

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?
Photo credit: iStock/jganser

About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Su Guillory is a freelance business writer and expat coach. She’s written several business books and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and SoFi. She writes about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards.
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