SBA Distributes $300M in Small Venue Operators Grants
Federal grants to help theaters, music venues, and museums hurt by the pandemic are slowly rolling out, the U.S. Small Business Administration reports.
As of June 14, a little more than $300 million in funds have been distributed from the $16.2 billion available in the Small Venue Operators Grant, the SBA said.
The SBA awarded 411 grants totaling $304.2 million for an average of $740,000 per venue.
In Connecticut, 10 grants were awarded as of June 14 totaling $2.43 million for an average of $243,000 per venue.
Of 14,214 applications received, 4,982 are currently in review, the SBA said.
The agency acknowledged it has more work to do.
“The SBA is committed to moving as quickly as possible to deliver this vital funding effectively and equitably—ensuring relief goes to those venue operators whose revenues have been most impacted by the pandemic, ” agency administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a recent statement.
The program’s slow rollout has frustrated some venue operators—and it’s had problems, including the website crashing as the application portal was set to go live in April and other technical issues.
Eligibility requirement controls put in place to prevent fraud also contributed to the slowdown, Guzman told a House committee hearing in late May.
Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million.
The program set aside $2 billion for eligible applicants with up to 50 full-time employees.
Of the $304.2 million distributed so far, $182.5 million has gone to small businesses with 50 or fewer workers, the agency said.
The bulk of the grants—301—have gone to businesses with 10 or fewer employees, 89 have gone to companies with 11 to 50 workers, nine to companies with 51 to 100 employees, and 12 to venues with 101 to 500 employees.
No venue that employs more than 500 people has received a grant, the SBA said.
The SBA launched the program in late March as part of the American Rescue Plan.
Here is a breakdown of the 411 grants awarded thus far:
- 198 to live venue operators or promoters
- 83 to motion picture theaters operators
- 61 to live performing arts organization operators
- 47 to talent representatives
- 16 to theatrical producers
- 6 to museum operators
Venues in California have received the most grants with 62, followed by Florida at 19, Texas at 15, Illinois 14, and New York 11.
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