The Small Business Administration began sending notices of awards Wednesday to approved applicants for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program.
Funds have not yet been distributed, but are expected to go out shortly after confirmation of the award by the applicants. The news comes after weeks of delays and technical issues within the application process, as theater owners and producers, as well as independent venues apply for grants of up to $10 million.
The agency will first give out awards to those entities that have a revenue loss of at least 90%. After 14 days, the agency expects to move to those entities who have lose 70% of more of their revenue — a category that is expected to encompass many Broadway productions due to the insurance proceeds received during the pandemic.
As of Wednesday, the SBA had received more than 13,000 applications to the program for a total funding ask of about $11 billion. The SBA was given more than $16 billion to fund the program, meaning it will have enough funding to meet applicant needs.
“We have hundreds of SBA staff working around the clock to continue processing, approving, and disbursing funds as quickly as possible to get our live entertainment venues back on track,” a spokesperson for SBA said Wednesday.
Small Business Administrator Isabel Guzman was questioned by the committees within the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate Wednesday on the agency’s handling of its COVID-19 programs. Guzman said the program had been delayed due to technical issues, as well as complexity of applications, which include numerous eligibility requirements and differ based on the type of entity.
The process has been slow, Guzman said, as the agency is conducting an applicant-by-applicant review and was recently delayed by issues accessing tax information. However, she expected the agency to move smoothly from Priority 1 grants into the Priority 2 category.
“We continue to work through those issues, but don’t anticipate any specific issues,” Guzman said during the Senate hearing.