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SBA Administrator Casillas Guzman Testifies To Congress On SVOG Program

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WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess) — SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman met with federal legislators on Wednesday providing updates about key COVID-19 relief programs including the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

During a hearing in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Guzman described the challenge as an “unprecedented crisis” and said her staff is working “around the clock” to deliver relief.

According to Guzman, as of May 24th, the SBA has received almost 13,000 applications for $11 billion in requested funds.

“We hope these funds will help our nation’s venues hold on until they can bring back the performances and experiences that are the lifeblood of our American culture,” the SBA Administrator told the subcommittee.

When that relief will arrive, however, remains unclear. As Variety reported, the Small Business Administration said they began sending funding approval notices to some applicants but have not actually started to disburse the $16 billion in funding set aside by legislators in December to help independent venue owners.

“As of today, the SBA has begun sending notices of awards to approved applicants of the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant program,” an SBA statement provided to Variety said. “We have hundreds of SBA staff working around the clock to continue processing, approving, and disbursing funds as quickly as possible to get our live entertainment venues back on track.”

A rep for National Independent Venue Assocation told Variety that they were unaware of any members who have received an award notice.

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