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SBA program has delivered over $10B in economic relief to 12,000 venues, including Nickel City Opera & Buffalo Iron Works


Thu, Sep 30th 2021 10:45 am

Administrator announces new Shuttered Venue Operators Grant milestone: supplemental awards begin

U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman on Wednesday announced the SBA began supplemental award notifications to eligible applicants this week, through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. Thus far, the SBA has awarded over $10 billion in economic relief 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. Since the inception of the SVOG program, more than 90% of the grants have supported venues with less than 50 employees – or the smallest of small businesses.

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

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

Among the thousands of venues that received grants were community venues Buffalo Iron Works and Nickel City Opera, which shared how SBA’s support is helping their businesses survive.

Josh Holtzman, owner of Buffalo Iron Works, said, “When the pandemic hit, business stopped cold. We didn't have a live show for over a year and, for most of that time, we were completely closed. We first started working with the SBA through the Paycheck Protection Program. The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, however, was crucial to our reopening. We would not have survived without the SBA’s assistance.”

Nickel City Opera Executive Director Eileen Breen said, "After a devastating shutdown of all art forms, the SBA's SVOG was a lifeline to all creators and arts administrators. The roll out of the program, the application process and follow-up was an amazing feat in these unprecedented times. As many of us had no other means of survival, the SVOG was our glimmer of hope to allow us to continue to create and produce. It showed the arts community the administration understands the vital importance of theater, live music and the visual arts to our lives and communities; and even as we continue to battle with the pandemic, we have the arts to get us through our days, due largely to the support of the SBA and the SVOG. If I may speak for many of us, we are forever grateful.”

The supplemental award period remains open, and SBA continues sending supplemental invitations to eligible SVOG awardees. Applicants can choose to apply for any amount up to 50% 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.

SVOG is one of the many programs the SBA has administered during the pandemic and contributed to more than $1 trillion in relief for America’s communities.

For additional information on SBA’s economic relief programs, visit COVID-19 relief options. Further, 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 http://www.sba.gov/local-assistance. For weekly SVOG funding data reports, visit www.sba.gov/svog.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant background

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. Of these funds, at least $2 billion is reserved for eligible SVOG applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue up to a maximum amount of $10 million for a single grant.

To learn more, visit www.sba.gov

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