ANDREW MOREAU: Grant applications opened this week for virus-infected entertainment venues

Entertainment venues that have closed or suffered financial losses due to the pandemic may start lining up to seek help from the federal government. Free money of up to $ 10 million per site is available.

The U.S. Small Business Administration opens the application process for businesses on Thursday to apply for financial support under the agency’s Shuttered Venues Operators Grants. Grants are available for venue operators or promoters, theater producers, live performing arts organizations, museums, cinemas, and talent representatives, among others.

Although the application portal opens on Thursday, interested sites must start the process immediately: several conditions must be met before an application can be submitted.

To be eligible, a business must have been in operation since February 29, 2020.

The program, which includes more than $ 16 billion in grants for closed sites, is part of the economic aid for small businesses that became law in December.

Sites are eligible for grants of up to $ 10 million and the federal government estimates that the average grant will be around $ 1 million.

Even entertainment companies that have received paycheck protection program loans are eligible for the grants – although the amount they are eligible for may be reduced by the PPP loan amount if the paycheck loan was received. after December 27. The PPP loan will have no effect on a grant if the loan was made before December 27.

The program has guidelines for the SBA to distribute the money to ensure that the smaller sites and those that have suffered the greatest losses under the pandemic receive priority treatment.

For example, SBA sets aside at least $ 2 billion for entities with fewer than 50 employees. And, in the first two weeks of the program, sites that experienced a loss of revenue of 90% or more from April to December 2020 will receive funding first.

Then participation continues based on the loss of income: those with 70% or more will be funded for the next 14 days. The pattern continues until sites with losses of 25% or more are funded.

The application process is significantly different from PPP loan submissions, where applications had to be submitted through financial institutions.

Sites must create an account and apply themselves. To get started, a business must register with the government rewards management system on sam.gov.

In addition, the organization must have a Dun & Bradstreet DUNS number, which is a unique identifier for a business. If your organization does not have one, a DUNS number can be set up at dnb.com or by calling 866-705-5711. The process takes about a week, but can take longer as interest in site grants picks up.

Once these basics are in place, sites can apply for grants.

An important note: you are the only one to apply for the grant. SBA officials warn that they cannot help or offer support in the application process.

PPP EXTENSION

It’s official: the Paycheck Protection Program will remain open for two more months. President Biden enacted the PPP extension last Tuesday.

This means that small businesses now have until May 31 to continue applying for the loans, which cover a wide range of expenses and losses that businesses have suffered in the face of covid-19. Everything from rent and utilities to the costs of protective equipment for employees is covered. Loans are fully forgivable.

The extension also gives the SBA, which administers the program, until the end of June to approve outstanding loans.

As of the end of March, nearly 32,000 P3 loans had been made to small businesses in Arkansas, reaching $ 1.2 billion. The SBA has approved 8.7 million loans worth $ 734 billion nationwide.

HELP WITH STRATEGIC PLANNING

Small businesses in Craighead, Crittenden and Mississippi counties can find help with strategic planning through the state’s Smart Growth Accelerator program.

The multi-week program begins Wednesday and is available to businesses that have been in operation for at least a year but not more than five years. Support is offered through the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center office at Arkansas State University.

Participation is free and sessions will be held online through Zoom. The program offers support and guidance to help small businesses complete and implement a strategic growth plan. Sessions include group meetings and individual counseling.

There are three sessions, one in spring, summer and fall. The information is available at asbtdc.org.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Registration is now open for the 2021 Arkansas Rural Development Conference, established by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to improve the quality of life in rural communities.

The event is scheduled for October 19-21 at the Red Wolf Convention Center in Jonesboro. Last year’s event was canceled due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Commerce Secretary Mike Preston said the conference provides an “opportunity to learn, network and share best practices as we work together to improve the economy across the state.”

Topics for the planned breakout sessions include: state broadband program, federal grant resources, cybersecurity, and information on resources available to minority and women-owned small businesses.

The information is available at arkansasedc.com.

SPONSORSHIP AG

Agriculture-related companies have the opportunity to promote their products and services at the upcoming Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for June 5-9 in Little Rock under the title: “Empowering the Global Future of Food, Fiber and Forestry”.

Six levels of sponsorship opportunities are available, starting at $ 100 for individuals and up to $ 20,000 for organizations who will obtain one-night title sponsorship, eight free tickets to attend all events, and recognition on the website.

Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward is president of the organization, which includes agricultural commissioners and secretaries from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virgin Islands, Virginia. and West Virginia.

The group promotes American agriculture through public policy and business initiatives and programs related to agriculture.

Ideas for columns or recommendations? Any thoughts or reflections to pursue? Contact me at [email protected] or at 501-378-3567.

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