SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Millions of federal dollars are coming to Illinois to support small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The State has approved $354 million, under the Small Business Credit Initiative, which uses funding secured through the American Rescue Plan.

The credit initiative is designed to increase capital for small businesses and promote entrepreneurship and is specifically focused on underserved communities.

The funding will support four programs, including a new loan guarantee program and a climate-focused loan participation program.

“It reflects what many states are doing: coordinating a portfolio of programs that reach the smallest of the smallest businesses but also enable equity investment and high growth potential businesses that can create jobs,” said program director Jeff Stout.

Last year, Americans applied to start more than 5 million new businesses, 20% more than any other year.