While the SBA was able to distribute PPP loans soon after the CARES Act passed in March 2020, those were handled by delegated bankers, and the venue grants program is a “different animal,” SBA regional communications director Andrea Roebker told Billboard in March 2021, noting that this is the first time the department has created a grant process focused on for-profit entities.
According to the SBA, 17,356 applications were received in the first 24 hours of the portal’s reopening. Of the more than 17,000 applications, 9,472 had been started and 7,884 had been submitted as of Tuesday. A representative for the SBA has assured Billboard that “SVOG application review began immediately.”
“It’s been a long time coming for all of us in the live entertainment business, especially for us independents — many of whom have been financially gasping for air, said Wayne Forte, National Independent Talent Organization executive board member and Entourage Talent owner, in a statement. “We at NITO have been waiting patiently, with the knowledge that the SBA has been under an inordinate amount of pressure from all sides and that there were some intrinsic programming flaws. We feel that the extra time taken to rectify those issues made for a much smoother and efficient application experience. Now our hope is that it will be rewarding to us as well.”