The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Thursday announced that Arkansas has been approved for up to $81.6 million in funding for a program to help small businesses access capital.
The money is provided through the State Small Business Credit Initiative and will be distributed through seven state programs:
- A capital access program
- Two loan participation programs
- Two loan guarantee programs
- Two equity/venture capital programs
Arkansas allocated $15 million to a loan guarantee program and $7.5 million to a loan participation program that are each designed to reach underserved businesses.
The equity/venture capital programs, which were allocated a combined $46 million, will target investments of $1 million in Arkansas-based high-growth companies raising venture capital. They'll capitalize seed- and early-stage venture funds focused primarily on investing in Arkansas-based companies.
The money is a portion of $10 billion being provided to states, territories and tribal governments under the program to promote entrepreneurship, especially in traditionally underserved communities as they emerge from the pandemic. So far, more than $6.6 billion in funds has been approved.
The State Small Business Credit Initiative was founded in 2010. It was reauthorized and expanded with the passage of President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan.
More than 10.5 million Americans applied to start businesses in 2021 and 2022, the highest two-year count on record, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.