SBA’s SVOG Program Experiences “Technical Difficulties”

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels,

As we reported in a previously published article, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) allocated billions of funds to multiple programs designed to assist small business owners. One such program was the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, which received $1.25 billion under the ARP. 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) began taking applications for the SVOG program last Thursday, April 8, 2021. However, users immediately reported problems with the website shortly after the link went live, citing difficulties such as being unable to upload required documents for applications. Hours later, the website temporarily shut down, posting a message saying that the portal was experiencing “technical difficulties.” Although the SBA did not provide a date as to when the website would become functional again, its message stated that it would “share advance notice” of when it would, and that in the meantime, “applicants may continue to register for a new account.”  

Eligible applicants for SVOG grants are those that meet certain requirements, such as being “fully operational” as of February 29, 2020. Another general requirement is a 25% minimum loss in gross earned revenue between corresponding quarters in 2019 and 2020. Eligible entities listed by the SBA are: 

  • live venue operators or promoters; 
  • theatrical producers; 
  • live performing arts organization operators; 
  • museum operators, zoos, and aquariums meeting specific criteria; 
  • motion picture theater operators; 
  • talent representatives; and 
  • entities owned by another eligible entity. 

According to the SBA, the amount of the grant will be either: 

  • for an entity in business as of January 1, 2019, the lesser of $10 million or 45% of the entity’s 2019 gross earned revenue; or 
  • for an entity that began operating after January 1, 2019, $10 million or the average monthly gross earned revenue for each full month in operation during 2019, multiplied by six. 

Businesses that receive SVOG grants must use the funds for specific expenses, such as payroll, worker protection costs, state and local taxes and fees, rent, utilities, mortgage payments, and scheduled debt payments. Funds may not be used to: 

  • purchase real estate;  
  • make payments on loans that originated after February 15, 2020; 
  • make new investments or new loans; or 
  • make contributions to, or on behalf of, political parties, political committees, or election candidates. 

As of this morning, the SVOG application portal is still suspended. Until the website becomes functional again, applicants should review the requirements to receive a SVOG grant, including the Preliminary Application Checklist. According to the SBA, priority will be given to applicants “who have suffered the greatest economic loss.” 

Related Articles: 

Amended COVID Relief Bill Passed by Senate 

COVID Relief Bill Provides Increased Subsidies Under the ACA 

President Biden signs $1.9T American Rescue Plan 

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