For businesses that rely heavily on events such as a theater, museum, or other live venue operator, this is an opportunity to apply for grants to help offset some of the economic hardship they have endured over the past year.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) set April 8 for when it will begin accepting applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. The SVOG was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan act. The program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues and will be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.

The SBA will host a free national informational webinar to highlight the application process for potential eligible entities from 2:30 to 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 30. The SBA also recommended that potential SCOG applicants register at SAM.gov for the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM). Applicants must have a SAM registration to receive an SCOG. The SBA recommended in late January that potential applicants obtain a Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number, which is required to register in the SAM system.

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.

Entities eligible to apply for an SCOG include:

  • Live venue operators or promoters;
  • theatrical producers;
  • live performing arts organization operators;
  • museum operators;
  • motion picture theater operators;
  • and talent representatives.

Other requirements are that the business must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020. Also, if a  venue or promoter received a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020, they will have the SVOG reduced by the PPP loan amount.

Grant amounts will be determined based on the following criteria:

  • For an eligible entity in operation on January 1, 2019, grants will be for an amount equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue OR $10 million, whichever is less;
  • For an eligible entity that began operation after January 1, 2019, grants will be for the average monthly gross earned revenue for each full month the business was in operation during 2019 multiplied by six OR $10 million, whichever is less.

The SBA is building the grant program and expects to open applications in early April. Grants will first be awarded to those hit hardest by economic loss. The SBA issued a proposed schedule to list out which applicants will be prioritized in the first and second periods. The SBA website has a full breakdown of the proposed plan as well as frequently asked questions.