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Knoxville businesses awarded millions in Shuttered Venue grants from SBA

By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA

Twenty-one businesses in Knoxville have received around $12.5 million in funding from the “Shuttered Venue Operators Grant” (SVOG) program, with seven of them receiving an additional $3.2 million in newly announced supplemental funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) program as the Delta Variant continues to cause problems in the industry.

An additional $10.9 million went to businesses in the greater Knoxville area, including Pigeon Forge, Townsend, and Tellico Plains. Great Choice Investments received a majority of that funding with a $10 million grant. Only three businesses in Tennessee received the full $10 million grant amount, the other two are in Memphis. Also, only one of the five businesses in the greater Knoxville area that received initial funding has received supplemental funding for an additional $21,000.

Overall, 299 businesses in Tennessee have received more than $280 million in initial funding from the “SVOG” program. Only 80 of those businesses have applied for supplemental funding so far, for more than $29 million. This data was pulled by the SBA on September 27. The most recent “SVOG” data can be found here.

“SVOG” was established in the “Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-profits, and Venues Act” and later amended in the “American Rescue Plan Act.” Eligible businesses were able to apply for grants for up to 45 percent of their gross-earned revenue. The maximum grant for businesses was $10 million. The program had $16 billion in funding for grants, with $2 billion of that earmarked for businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees.

According to a recent press release from the SBA, the federal agency had distributed $10 billion in grants to nearly 12,000 businesses across the country. More than 90 percent of the grants have supported venues with less than 50 employees, the release said. Read the full release here.

In June, teknovation.biz spoke with Michael Strickland, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of Bandit Lites, a Knoxville-based full-service design, management and producer of live events, theatrical productions, and live shows. Strickland became the voice of the theater and live event industry after writing an article in May 2020 on the pandemic. His efforts helped to push the relief program forward. Read more on Michael Strickland and his impact on “SVOG” here.

Although the SBA stopped taking applications for “SVOG” in August, the organization announced that supplemental awards are now available. Eligible businesses must have received an initial grant and can “illustrate a 70 percent loss when comparing 2021’s first-quarter revenues to the same in 2019,” the release said. Applicants can choose any amount up to 50 percent of their original grant. The initial award and supplement cannot exceed $10 million.

Some major cities are also supplementing SVOG funding with additional grants. According to a newsletter from Axios Nashville, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County distributed $626,000 of funds from the CARES Act to local venues. Thirteen venues received funds, with The Listening Room received the largest grant for $100,000. “Only independent venues not owned or operated by national companies were eligible for grants to help pay their expenses,” the Axios newsletter said. These grants were on top of any federal funding venues may have applied for via the SVOG program.

Below is a list of greater Knoxville businesses that received funding from the “SVOG” program, based on the information from SBA:

  • Attack Monkey Productions: Located in Knoxville, received $28,053.79 in initial funding and $18, 626.90 in supplemental funding
  • Big Ears Festival: Located in Knoxville, received $551,699.45 in initial funding and $275,849.73 in supplemental funding
  • Bijou Theatre Center: Located in Knoxville, received $1,083,197.83 in initial funding
  • Central Cinema LLC: Located in Knoxville, received $105,667.20 in initial funding
  • CKN Theatres, LLC: Located in Knoxville, received $1,107,582.65 in initial funding
  • Classic Productions for Students: Located in Knoxville, received $286,518.94 in initial funding and $155,828.22 in supplemental funding
  • Don’t Panic, LLC: Located in Knoxville, received $237,518.37 in initial funding and $135,805.19 in supplemental funding
  • Encompass Arts, LLC: Located in Knoxville, received $43,168.95 in initial funding
  • Flying Anvil Theatre: Located in Knoxville, received $53,917.88 in initial funding
  • Great Choice Investments, LLC: Located in Pigeon Forge, received $10 million in initial funding
  • Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center: Located in Townsend, received $183,524.73 in initial funding
  • Guido Films, LLC: Located in Knoxville, received $1,103,377.78 in initial funding
  • Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation: Located in Knoxville, received $3,771,872.11 in initial funding and $1,951,967.06 in supplemental funding
  • Houla Entertainment, LLC: Located in Knoxville, received $22,689.93 in initial funding
  • Knoxville Children’s Theatre Inc.: Located in Knoxville, received $78,697.15 in initial funding
  • Knoxville Opera Company: Located in Knoxville, received $168,884.34 in initial funding and $114,718.17 in supplemental funding
  • Lonestar Development Company: Located in Knoxville, received $331,261 in initial funding
  • Main Event Theater Inc.: Located in Pigeon Forge, received $71,415 in initial funding
  • Mill & Mine Music LLC: Located in Knoxville, received $1,058,710.09 in initial funding and $589,350.05 in supplemental funding
  • One Horse Town Entertainment, Inc.: Located in Knoxville, received $1,096,623.67 in initial funding
  • Paul Belcher Concerts: Located in Tellico Plains, received $62,721 in initial funding and $21,360.82 in supplemental funding
  • Phoenix Main Gate, LLC: Located in Knoxville, received $1,054,216.19 in initial funding
  • Pigeon Forge Cinemas LLC: Located in Pigeon Forge, received $582,970.13 in initial funding
  • Pilot Light, Inc.: Located in Knoxville, received $42,650 in initial funding
  • Regina Greene: Located in Knoxville, received $17,155.18 in initial funding
  • Tennessee Riverboat Company Inc.: Located in Knoxville, received $255,153.50 in initial funding

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