The Small Business Administration (SBA) presented a webinar on Tuesday, March 30, outlining key eligibility and application requirements for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) program, which is set to open for applications on Thursday, April 8, 2021. A recording will soon be available. In the meantime, here are some highlights:
- Prepare to apply as soon as possible – all may apply on the first day of the program. Once the portal opens, applicants can submit an application at any time, regardless whether an organization is within one of the two priority periods. Within priority periods, SBA will process applications in the order received.
- An applicant user guide and a new update to the Frequently Asked Questions will be posted soon, likely before the beginning of next week. The new FAQ will incorporate content addressed in Tuesday’s webinar. Check this page for the latest FAQ and check back frequently for updates.
- Register for SAM.gov as soon as possible. The SBA is working with federal partners to address delays in the SAM registration process. In the meantime, all applicants that have not yet done so should initiate the required SAM.gov registration.
- Sign up for SBA updates to be notified of new guidance and to receive a notification when the SBA portal has opened for applications.
- Check out the draft application Form 3515, but keep in mind that changes may be made. The webinar references the application form that will be in use for the application portal. While it is advisable to review this draft form, please keep in mind that adjustments will likely be made before the portal opens.
- A proposed budget will be required in the application process. The draft application form includes a sample budget template, and the SBA is likely to modify this template before finalizing it. The proposed grant amount will be automatically calculated by the SBA, and applicants can reduce their grant amount within their proposed budget. Applicants will be required to report on expenditures based on their proposed budgets, and it is essential to retain records of expenses.
- Certificates of need may be simple. SBA has specified that required statement of need may be simple, and offers the following example:
Due to the uncertainty of current economic conditions, the SVOG is necessary to support the ongoing operations of the (name of organization). (Name of organization) opened its doors on (date of opening operations). It is currently shuttered but intends to reopen on (date of potential reopening).
- The required collective bargaining certification will be made when an approved applicant signs its grant agreement. The legislation that created the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants program included a requirement that grantees agree that the recipient "will not abrogate existing collective bargaining agreements" and "will remain neutral in any union organizing effort."
- Identify your local SBA resource partners now and seek their assistance with questions about the application process. Find local SBA resource partners at www.sba.gov/localassistance.
- While the SBA requires submitting a 2019 tax return with an application, and a 2020 return once it is filed, the SBA indicated during its webinar that nonprofit organizations with fiscal years that are not in alignment with these calendar years may submit 2018 and 2019 returns. The receipt of filed tax returns will also be connected to grant disbursements. Stay tuned for direct clarification from the SBA on these points in their upcoming new guidance.
Please remember that the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants web page hosted by the SBA will be your definitive source of guidance as further revisions to the application process are made in the remaining days before the application portal opens. TCG will continue to also keep you informed of further updates!