A pair of grants offered by the U.S. Small Business Association could help area struggling public venues, restaurants, and bars, but officials say time is of the essence.
The S.B.A.’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant becomes available again tomorrow, Saturday, April 24th. The grant program includes $16 billion in economic aid to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
Kristin Jamison, President of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation says the online portal’s long-awaited reopening means owners of certain public venues who have struggled to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic could see help from the grants, but they need to act now.
“You want to get your application in immediately because they are not sure how long the funds will be available. We saw that with the Payroll Protection Program as well. There was a sense of urgency there. So that’s great for folks that qualify. I will say it’s a pretty narrow description of who can apply for that grant.”
Eligible venues that qualify for the grant include live venue operators and promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts space operators, and museum and movie theater operators and owners.
Jamison says the other grant portal set to open soon will provide economic assistance to food and drink establishments hit hard by the pandemic.
“The SBA is also getting ready to open the Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant program, and that will really help a broader group of folks within our community.
So if you’re a restaurant, a bar, food truck, caterer- basically an entity that derives at least 33% of its revenue from food and drink, then you can apply for this grant.
I’ve looked at that application and it’s fairly easy. But again, time is of the essence in getting that uploaded to the portal when they open it.”
Jamison says the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant is set to open sometime in April, however, no date has been announced as of yet by the SBA. She says funds will be limited so business owners should start preparing to apply now.
“They are pretty clear that they know they won’t have enough money for all of these types of businesses that might apply. So I think really, having your ducks in a row, going to the SBA website, looking at the sample application, and having it ready to go so that the moment that portal is open, you have all of your documents ready and you can apply.”
To apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant or the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant go to SBA.gov and type in the search area which grant you want more information on.
In the page for each grant is information including when and how to apply and any forms or documents that may be required.