April 26, 2021

SBA offers targeted advances to small businesses and tries again on shuttered venue program

The Small Business Administration debuted a new program to help small businesses weather the COVID-19…

The Small Business Administration debuted a new program to help small businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic and prepared to retry a launch of its Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program.

The SBA opened a new round of Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance, known as “Supplemental Targeted Advances,” on Thursday to provide $5 billion in extra help to a million small businesses and nonprofits that have been the most severely affected by the economic impact of the pandemic. The Supplemental Targeted Advance program is a new SBA relief program that offers an extra $5,000 that doesn’t need to be repaid by hard-hit businesses. It was included as part of the American Rescue Plan Act that President Biden signed into law last month.

The program represents the latest form of help that the SBA is giving to small businesses, but it’s unlikely to be available as widely as the more popular Paycheck Protection Program that many accounting firms have been helping their small business clients apply for.

Closed stores on Grant Avenue in San Francisco

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

“Many of our nation’s small businesses are still struggling to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ve found that the smallest businesses — the majority of which are minority-owned — are hurting the most,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman in a statement Friday. “The SBA’s Supplemental Targeted Advance program aims to reach those businesses with 10 employees or less who need our help today.”

The program provides a supplemental payment of $5,000 that does not have to be repaid by small businesses, according to the SBA. Even if a business has previously received the original EIDL Advance in the full amount of $10,000, it can be eligible for the Supplemental Targeted Advance if it meets the eligibility criteria. The combined amount of the Supplemental Targeted Advance ($5,000) with any previously received EIDL Advance or Targeted EIDL Advance ($10,000) can’t exceed $15,000.

Starting April 22, the SBA modified the Targeted EIDL Advance application process to determine if businesses also qualify for the additional $5,000 Supplemental Targeted Advance. The SBA said it would contact eligible business entities to apply, and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. To be able to qualify for the Supplemental Targeted Advance, an eligible business entity has to be in a low-income community, have suffered greater than 50 percent economic loss, and have 10 or fewer employees.

For more information, visit SBA.gov/eidl.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grants

The SBA also plans to try again on its Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program by reopening the application portal on Monday, April 26, at 12:00 p.m. EDT after technical difficulties quickly stopped it from processing applications on its original opening day, which was supposed to be April 8 (see story). The program is meant to help music, performance, art and cultural spaces like theaters and museums whose operations have been hurt since the start of the pandemic last year.

On Friday afternoon, the SBA initially said the portal would reopen on Saturday, but later that night pushed back the date until Monday “in response to stakeholder feedback.”

“We recognize the urgency and need to get this program up and running,” said Barb Carson, deputy associate administrator of SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance, in a statement. “With venue operators in danger of closing, every day that passes by is a day that these businesses cannot afford.”

The SBA has been working with vendors to fix the technical glitches that happened on the original opening day, and it said that it has identified and resolved other concerns and improved the applicant experience with the portal. The agency has been working on improving the program documentation to make it more user-friendly; improved the security on the application portal security; added waiting room technology to provide an orderly application process; and updated some features, including a new revenue chart, the ability to upload multiple attachments, and the ability to match eligible entity types with their required documentation.

The SBA recommends that eligible applicants take the following actions: