📌 April 10 SVOG Portal Updates 5:30pm PST: On Thursday April 8, shortly after opening the SVOG portal, it was discovered that there were major website issues, including the inability to upload required documents. The SBA promptly shut down the applications and has since issued an email saying they're working on the website issues and will announce a new reopening date as soon as the issues are fixed. No SVOG applications have been accepted yet.
It’s been a difficult year for many small businesses, but live event venues have been hit especially hard. With many regions around the U.S. still in shelter-in-place, events like concerts are impossible. To help live events operators survive until it’s safe to gather in groups again, Congress created a grant program called the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVO) at the end of 2020 in the stimulus bill. The SVO will be distributed through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SVO grant is now open for applications on its online portal. Here’s what you need to know about the SVO grant, including eligibility, how to apply and spending requirements.
What is the SVO Grant?
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVO), is a special grant program created for theaters, concert venues, museums and other venue operators who have been impacted by shelter-in-place protocols. Because these organizations have special challenges during social distancing periods due to the challenges of running live events safely, the SVO grants were created to meet their needs at the end of 2020. In total, the program includes $15 billion in grants.
Who is eligible?
The SVO program is designed primarily for organizations that run spaces or events where people gather in large groups, and are impacted by shelter in place. That includes:
-Live event venues and promoters (like concert venues)
-Movie theater operators
-Live performing arts events operators (like playhouses or dance companies)
-Some museums, zoos and aquariums
To be eligible for the SVO, your organization must have been in operation at the end of February 2020.
How much can you get?
If you’re eligible for the SVO program, you can receive 45% of your 2019 revenue or up to $10 million (whichever is lower). The SVO funds are distributed as grants, not loans, so they don’t need to be repaid. There are some requirements for how you use the money, but beyond those, the grants are yours in full.
The SVO funds will be distributed in stages, with smaller companies (with fewer than 50 employees), prioritized first.
What can you use it for?
The SVO grants can be used for a wide range of business operation needs, including payroll and expenses. The allowable expenses for the SVO are more flexible than the Paycheck Protection Program, which has strict spending requirements. Here are the expenses the SBA allows you to use your SVO grant for:
-Payroll (wages, payroll taxes, benefits, and other costs associated with having employees)
-Payments to independent contractors
-Administrative fees, like licensing fees
-Worker protection expenses, like setting up plastic shields or buying PPE for employees
Are Applications Open for Everyone?
Although applications are now open for the SVO, not every eligible business will be able to apply now. The SBA plans on opening the applications in stages, beginning with organizations with 50 employees or less than suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss in 2020 and broadening from there over several months. You can see all the prioritization tiers here, and register for an account on the application portal here. We will keep you updated as applications progress.
Can the SVO be combined with the PPP?
Originally, the SBA's policy was that business owners could only qualify for one program or the other. However, this week the policy was updated: business owners can receive both programs, but their PPP loan amount will be deducted from their SVO grant. The PPP will be open through at least the end of March, if not into the summer (plans are underway in Congress to extend the application deadline), and most lenders can process applications within a few days. If you need funds for your business urgently, you can apply for a PPP now and then also apply for the SVO.
If you decide to apply for the PPP as well as the SVO, applications are now open through our partner lenders, Funding Circle and Bluevine. You can also keep up with the latest news on the SVO, PPP and other U.S. funding programs with the Skip App (free on the App Store or Google Play).
If you still need more funding, you can get access to our full grants and loans database of dozens of funding opportunities with Skip Plus.