Live & Touring

SBA to (finally) open $16.3B SVOG #SaveOurStages grant portal this Saturday

The SBA portal opened 16 days ago to process $16.3 billion in desperately needed Shuttered Venue Operating Grants which crashed before taking a single application is scheduled to reopen on Saturday.

Late Thursday evening the SBA tweeted:

The SVOG grants are aimed at “operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theatres, as well as live venue promoters, theatrical producers and talent representatives” to apply for grants after being shut down over a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Outrage over Saturday launch

While the SBA was likely trying to get the portal re-opened as soon as possible, many potential applicants expressed outrage over the weekend launch.

Many pointed out the insensitivity of opening the portal on a weekend when open venues need to focus on running their struggling business and closed ones would have to make employees work on the weekend. Others were upset that the SBA, which promised to finally provide “updated documents and guidance” on Friday, had given them so little time to react to any changes.

SBA unprepared to handle SVOG warned Office Of Inspector General

Even before the portal opened, US government watchdog the Office Of Inspector General issued a statement critical of the SBA’s planning and questioning the agency’s current ability to handle the massive grant program.

“OIG believes that SBA does not have the staff necessary to provide effective oversight over the SVOG program,” the report said. “At this time, SBA has not formalized a plan for staffing this office relative to the volume of applications expected. The agency has also not defined the organizational structure for administering the program.”

MORE: SBA shuts SVOG portal before taking a single application, Inspector General warns more problems ahead

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