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

Illinois has been approved for $354 million dollars under the State Small Business Credit Initiative. The funding was secured through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The credit initiative is designed to increase capital for small businesses and promote entrepreneurship, especially in underserved communities.

In Illinois, 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 locally,” said Jeff Stout, program director for State Small Business Credit Initiative.

Last year, Americans applied to start more than five million new businesses, 20 percent more than any other year on record.