SBA to process most aid applications for shuttered venues by early July

Washington, D.C.: Anthem music venue pleads with the Small Business Administration for aid for shuttered independent venues.


Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) stated Wednesday that the Small Business Administration will process most of the aid requests from its Shutter Venue Operators Grant program by early summer.

According to the SBA there have been more than 14,000 applications from small businesses across the nation for the grants.

“I was encouraged by Administrator’s constructive discussion today.” [Isabel]Guzman has assured SVOG that she is fully focused on the matter, that the agency will work with applicants who have made minor technical errors, and that the SBA will process most applications by early June,” Hagerty said in a news release.

Hagerty said, “The actions and promises I heard today from the Administrator will hopefully provide struggling venues throughout Tennessee with more certainty about the funding needed to save them operations.”

CNBC did not receive a response from the SBA regarding when the applications would be processed.

The $16 billion fund from the SBA was established to support the industry until it can resume in-person entertainment. Based on their gross revenues from 2019, music clubs, theaters and promoters can apply for grants up to $10 million. The program was included in the December 2nd Covid relief package.

The program’s application portal was snarled by technical glitches. It was launched on April 8 and closed down after a few hours. After a commotion over the delay, it reopened several weeks later. Businesses rushed to submit their applications again in an effort to get a grant.

Thousands of businesses still await their applications. SBA reported Monday that 1,445 grants were awarded for $833.4 Million. In its weekly report, the agency stated that 7,118 applications remain in submission and 5,853 are under review. The grants total $11.6 billion. 

The North Park Theatre in Buffalo (New York) was one of those businesses who waited long for its application to be processed.

The venue — a local landmark — was waiting on a grant worth more than $200,000 when CNBC’s reporting on the SVOG program was published earlier this week. On Tuesday, the theater was notified that its application had been approved.

“This is the kind of place you want to see a movie — you’re going to forget about the outside world and escape for a few hours,” said Ray Barker, the theater’s program director. Since 1990, he has been a concession worker at North Park.