Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Program: What Businesses Need to Know

Business Management
Rea Regan July 8, 2021 5 min read
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Program: What Businesses Need to Know

Quick Guide

    Over $16 million in grants for venue operators has been developed under the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act – and amended by the American Rescure Plant Act – known as the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. The SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will distribute the grants.

    According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), “Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.” 

    The grants are available to those who lost revenue by not being able to hold live events as a direct result of the pandemic.

    Who is Eligible to Apply for the SVOG Program?

    • Live venue operators or promoters
    • Theatrical producers
    • Live performing arts organization operators
    • Museum operators
    • Motion picture theatre operators or owners
    • Talent representatives (per the Economic Aid Act) 
    • Traveling tent shows, including circuses and festivals

    If any of the above are owned by state or local governments (like a museum), then they are eligible to apply if it acts only as a venue operator, museum, etc. and does not engage in any other activities.

    Additional requirements for eligibility: 

    1. The busines has been in operation as of February 29, 2020
    2. Any venue or promoter who received a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020, will see their SVOG grant reduced by the PPP loan amount.

    Who is Not Eligible for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant?

    Based on the SBA under its frequently asked questions, below is a rough bulleted summary of cases when someone is deemed ineligible. 

    • The business is not in the United States or does not operate primarily within the United States
    • The business was not in operation as of February 29, 2020
    • The business is a publicly traded corporation
    • The business is a majority owned or controlled by a publicly traded corporation
    • The business has live shows of a sexual nature 
    • During 2019, more than 10% of its gross revenue was a direct result of the federal government, this doesn’t include disaster assistance  
    • The business owns or operates venues, theatres, museums or talent agencies in multiple countries 
      • Or in over 10 states 
      • Or had more than 500 employees as of February 29, 2020
    • It is a museum and other museums with which it is affiliated have already received $10 million in SVOG funding

    For the full list, visit the SBA site.

    How is a SVOG Grant Determined? 

    There are two instances according to the SBA to determine how an SVOG Grant is applied.

    One, an eligible entity that has been in operation on January 1, 2019, means that SVOG grants are set for an amount equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue OR $10 million, whichever is less.

    Two, an eligible entity that has been in operation after January 1, 2019 means that grants are set for the average monthly gross earned revenue for each full month that was in operation during 2019 multiplied by six OR $10 million, whichever is less.

    What is the Amount of the SVOG?

    An initial SVOG grant can be awarded to eligible parties in an amount equal to the lesser of $10 million. 
    Additionally, for any eligible parties, if they were in operation as of January 1, 2019 then “45% of the gross earned revenue of the eligible person or entity during 2019, less the amount of any Paycheck Protection Program loan received in 2021, or for an Eligible Person or Entity that began operations after January 1, 2019, six times the average monthly gross earned revenue for each full month during which the eligible person or entity was in operation during 2019, less the amount of any Paycheck Protection Program loan received in 2021,” explains Legal News.

    How Can the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant be Used?

    • Payroll 
    • Rental and utility payments
    • Scheduled mortgage payments, that don’t include prepayment of principal
    • Scheduled debt payments
    • Worker protection expenditures
    • Payments to independent contractors , but doesn’t exceed $100,000 in annual compensation 
    • Other business expenses, such as maintenance costs
    • Administrative costs, such as fees and licensing
    • State and local taxes and fees
    • Operating leases as of February 15, 2020
    • Insurance payments
    • Advertising, production transportation, and capital expenditures related to production of a theatrical or live performing arts production

    SVOG funds can’t be used to buy real estate, to make loan payments that started after February 15, 2020, to make investments, to make loans, for contributions to political parties, or pay for anything else that is prohibited by the SBA.

    How to Apply for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

    Before applying, it’s key that you go through the Preliminary Application Checklist so you know if you’re eligible to apply.

    The following should be followed as you apply for the SVOG: 

    1. If you don’t already have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, then you must first apply for a DUNS number as it’s required for you to be able to register in the System for Award Management (SAM), www.SAM.gov.
    2. Compile all necessary documents to show how many employees you have and what your monthly revenue is over the previous year.
    3. Compile all necessary documents necessary to know the “gross revenue loss” that your business suffered between 2019 and 2020 so that you know if you qualify for one of the priority periods.
    4. Compile all necessary documents to learn your “gross earned revenue loss” that your business experienced between 2019 and 2020 to know if you qualify for the non-priority period.
    5. Regularly vist www.sba.gov/svogrant so that you can stay up to date on the SVOG program.
    6. Review the SBA Form 3515, SVOG Application, and begin to complete it.
    7. Review the Preliminary Application Checklist and compile all documents that must be submitted.

    Remember that businesses who were severely impacted with the greatest economic loss are the the first applications that will be processed.

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