Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

  • February 23, 2021

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UPDATE: OFFERING FREE WEBINAR:  Maine Small Business Administration - Exploring Economic Aid 

March 4, 2021 at 1 p.m. EST

Please join the Maine Arts Commission as Diane Sturgeon from the Maine District Office of the SBA discusses the Economic Aid Act and potential funding sources from the Small Business Administration including PPP first and second round loans, Shuttered Venue Operator Grants, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and SBA Debt Relief as well as the Agency’s regular programs and services.


Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO)Grant

SBA has still not opened up the new SVO grants portal. As you know by now, demand is very high for this program with only $15 billion available. Here are some things you can do to get ready to apply as soon as possible, regardless of which Priority Category that you may fit into:

  1. If you or your organization does not already have a Dunn and Bradstreet DUNS Number, get one.
  2. Use your DUNS number to register in the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM). You can’t simply use a Taxpayer or Employer ID Number to apply for an SVO grant. (Note: It could take up to two weeks to finalize a SAM registration.)
  3. Gather documents that demonstrate your number of employees and monthly revenues so you can calculate the average number of qualifying employees you had over the prior 12 months. 
  4. Determine your gross earned revenue losses. It looks like SBA is going to use the Gross Earned Revenue definition to determine Priority Eligibility, but it’s not confirmed yet.
  5. Determine the extent of gross earned revenue loss you experienced between 2019 and 2020 on a quarterly basis. 
  6. Make PDFs of additional information such as floor plans, contract copies and other evidence that will be needed to apply for an SVO grant. 
  7. Sign up for a regional mailing list and webinar in your area and develop a direct relationship.
  8. Ask the SBA specific questions about SVO eligibility by e-mailing
Emergency assistance for venues affected by the pandemic.
The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program was established and signed into law on December 27, 2020. The program includes $15 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO 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.

Who can apply for an SVO?

  • Live venue operators or promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
  • Motion picture theater operators
  • Talent representatives, and
  • Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements

How To Apply

SBA is in the process of setting up the grant program and is not yet accepting applications. Those who have suffered the greatest economic loss will be the first applications processed under the following schedule:

Note: On January 20, 2021, SBA updated the proposed plan for issuing Shuttered Venue Operators Grants during the first and second priority periods. To clarify, priority awardees will not need to satisfy the small employer set-aside. During the first 59 days of opening the SVO Grants, SBA will reserve no less than $2 billion of program funding for grants to entities that have no more than 50 employees.

First Priority- Entities that suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020.
Second Priority- Entities that suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020.
Third Priority- Entities that suffered a 25% or greater revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.

Allowable use of funds

Funds may be used for specific expenses, which include:

  • Payroll costs
  • Rent payments
  • Utility payments
  • Scheduled mortgage payments (not including prepayment of principal)
  • Scheduled debt payments (not including prepayment of principal) on any indebtedness incurred in the ordinary course of business prior to 02-15-20)
  • Worker protection expenditures
  • Payments to independent contractors (not to exceed $100K in annual compensation per contractor)
  • Other ordinary and necessary business expenses, including maintenance costs
  • Administrative costs (incl. fees and licensing)
  • State and local taxes and fees
  • Operating leases in effect as of 02-15-20
  • Insurance payments
  • Advertising, production transportation, and capital expenditures related to producing a theatrical or live performing arts production. (May not be primary use of funds.)

A Comparison Guide to Coronavirus Relief Options

Supporting local partners and other resources 

Maine SBA – Click the “Get Email Updates” button to receive the most up-to-date information about SBA’s small business resources. 

Maine SBDC – Business advisors located throughout the state provide free, confidential advice. You can request advising on the website. 

SCORE – A free, volunteer-led service, SCORE has both general business mentors and subject area experts at chapters around the state. 

Maine Resource Compass – A running list of COVID-19 resources for Maine businesses, including grants, loans, and other informational resources (powered by StartupSpace). 

CEI Maine – Request a business advisor through their website. 

CEI Women’s Business Center – Access events and programs specific to women business owners. 

U.S. SBA Contact Information: 

Phone: 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) 


Email: (for Shuttered Venue Operators Grant-specific questions) 



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Ryan Leighton

193 State Street
SHS 25
Augusta  ME  04333