SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Small businesses in Illinois will soon get access to more loans thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act.

The federal government announced Wednesday it is giving seven states, including Illinois, an additional $6.3 billion of federal ARPA dollars to support businesses. The Illinois is getting $354.6 million in new funds for small businesses.

“This expanded program offering from the state through SSBCI will enable Illinois to support small businesses across the state, helping them attract more capital investment, expand or launch business operations and support the state’s transition to zero emissions.” Jacob Leibenluft, U.S. Treasury Chief Recovery Officer, said.

Illinois leaders are excited for the investment in its businesses.

“As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic and work to rebuild and grow our economy, the American Rescue Plan is making programs like the State Small Business Credit Initiative possible,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). “The SSBCI is a proven model to catalyze private investment and help support minority-led small businesses and small businesses in underserved communities that we know often face greater challenges in securing capital through traditional channels.”

The grants will fund three programs and one existing program for Illinois small businesses. These include:

  • the existing Advantage Illinois Loan Participation Program, which partners with local lending organization to gives low interest loans to businesses
  • the new Advantage Illinois Loan Guarantee Program to help by guaranteeing a percentage of the loan to business applicants who have past difficulty getting loans
  • the INVENT Venture Capital Program to invest in business in industries such as agriculture, ag tech, manufacturing, and more
  • Climate Bank Finance Loan Participation Program, for small businesses in clean energy

Officials from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity believe leveling the playing field is necessary for small businesses to thrive.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our Illinois economy, and we look forward to offering new programs that increase access to capital for Illinois entrepreneurs as they launch and grow their businesses,” DCEO Director Sylvia Garcia said. “With a focus on equity, these programs will help hundreds of Illinois businesses in communities across the state – especially those who have historically encountered barriers to accessing capital.”

Any interested business should apply to the state with this survey for updates on relevant SSBCI programs.