Over the weekend, the Small Business Administration got one step closer to launching the much-anticipated $28.6 billion grant program for hard-hit food service businesses.
The agency overseeing the program, dubbed the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, released new details and application requirements on Saturday. Over the next two weeks, the SBA says it will establish a seven-day pilot period for the RRF application portal and conduct outreach and training ahead of the application launch, which is still unknown. Pilot participants will be randomly selected from existing PPP borrowers in priority groups for the RRF; they’ll not receive funds until the application portal is open to the public, Inc. reports.
It’s not clear if this added bit of testing will help resolve any of the technical issues that confronted the $16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators Program, a similar grant offering, which the SBA temporarily halted on its first day in operation. The SBA did not immediately respond to a request for more information regarding the pilot.
Sean Kennedy, the National Restaurant Association’s executive vice president for public affairs, is firmly in the excited camp—and confident that the glitches that affected the SVOG program will not hit the RRF. “SBA knows they have to get this right, and they are putting out every resource available to them.”
The RRF, which is open to food service businesses including bars, restaurants, and caterers with up to 20 locations, will be run on the same system that the SBA uses for the Paycheck Protection Program. Read the full story.