(CelebrityAccess) — The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will reopen the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal on Saturday.
In a statement issued Friday the SBA announced it had completed “rigorous testing” on the updated portal and plans to re-open it on April 24th at 12:30 p.m. EDT for operators of live venues and related businesses to apply for economic relief.
The portal, which was originally scheduled to begin accepting applications on April 8th, closed down again just hours after opening amid technical issues with users reporting being unable to upload supporting documents for their applications, and connection issues with the portal.
Last week, the SBA said it had resolved the reported problems but identified additional issues during its testing process and promised to have the portal opened by the end of this week.
According to the SBA, the following updates have been made to the application portal in response to user concerns:
- Documentation for using the portal has been clarified and made more user friendly.
- Security has been enhanced on the portal.
- “Waiting room” technology has been added to the platform to handle demand.
The SBA also said that new features have been added to the portal, including: a new revenue chart, the ability to upload multiple attachments, and an improved application flow to match the eligible entity types and their respective required documentation.
For the reopening, the SBA said they collaborated with several live venue, cultural and related industry organizations who provided input for refining the SVOG application portal’s user experience.
After the SBA announced a revised opening date for the portal, the National Independent Venue Association issued a statement on the news:
“Simply put, this is emergency relief that can’t come too soon,” said Audrey Fix Schaefer, NIVA board member and communications director. “Every single day that passes small businesses are receiving eviction notices, all the while $16 billion has been waiting for them. This is a lifeline for thousands of independent venues and promoters in big towns and in small communities across the nation. When you’ve had revenue losses of more than 90 percent and are in fear of going under, having the opportunity to apply for the grant is a relief, no matter what day of the week it is. We’re thankful our members won’t have to wait much longer.”