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Five Things to Know About the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG)
Five Things to Know About the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG)
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that it will be opening the portal and accepting applications for this program starting on Thursday, April 8th.

For operators of entertainment related businesses this is welcome news.  However, in order to ensure a smooth process, applicants have to be prepared to provide a considerable amount of documentation.  Fortunately, the SBA will be conducting a national webinar from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm on the 30th of March.  The SBA is also soliciting questions from attendees in advance of this training session.  If an potential applicant has a specific question, they are to submit it to SVOGrant@sba.gov by noon on Monday March 29th.

Two items that must be completed prior to submitting an application for this grant is getting a DUNS number from Dunn and Bradstreet and registering your business in the System for Awards Management (SAM).  The SAM registration may take up to two weeks to fully complete, so it is imperative that thise be completed as soon as possible.  While both the DUNS Number and SAM registration are offered at no-cost by the government, there are companies that will heavily market their fee-based assistance services so, Caveat Emptor!

There have been some structural changes made concerning an applicant’s eligibility to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as well as the SVOG program.  Originally, venue operators were given an either/or option, they could apply for the PPP forgivable loan or they could apply for the SVOG.  Now, venue operators can apply for both programs.  There are two caveats the must be understood.  The first is that if an operator applies for and is awarded funds from both programs, the amount of the SVOG funding will be reduced by the amount of funding received from the PPP loan.  The second is that if an SVOG applicant receives funding from this program, he or she will be ineligible to participate in the PPP program after they receive the SVO Grant.

There are a variety of tools and resources available to help potential SVOG applicants prepare.  Included in these tools are a Preliminary Application Checklist which details all the Background Documents, Financial Documents and Standard Forms that all applicants are required to submit.  Additionally there is specific guidance for information that must be provided by Live Venue Operators or Promoters, Theatrical Producers or Live performing Arts Organization Operators; Motion Picture Theater Operators; Museums and, finally, Talent Representatives.  The SBA also lists qualification requirements for both all applicants and also those specific entities mentioned above.  The portal to access this information is:  Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (sba.gov)

Finally the SBA has local partners ready to answer questions or provide assistance as needed.  The Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads, local SCORE Chapters and the Women’s Business Center stand ready to assist.

While the SVO Grant application process seems daunting, with proper preparation and assistance, the process will be much smoother.

Jim Carroll
Executive Director, SBDC Hampton Roads
Jim Carroll is Vice President, Small Business for the Hampton Roads Chamber and Executive Director of the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads, Inc.
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