iVermont Governor Phil Scott announced Monday that the state will receive more than $55 million to help entrepreneurs and startup companies.

Joan Goldstein, the Vermont Department of Economic Commissioner, said the $57.9 million means Vermont doesn’t “have to appropriate it from our general fund budget.”

The money is coming from the American Rescue Plan under the State Small Business Credit Initiative Program (SSBCI).

Startups will have access to low interest loans and early-stage venture capital, said David Bradbury, president of the nonprofit Vermont Center of Emerging Technologies.

“It would be the largest venture fund that we’ve ever seen for early stage companies,” he said. “This is really critical right now because of market conditions. It couldn’t come at a better, more welcome time for our state.”

Rural pre-seed companies and high growth tech startups are some Vermont startups expected to see funding.

“Already Vermont lags behind the three big states that get the most money which is New York, Massachusetts and California,” Goldstein says. “And so this is an opportunity for small states to get funding to their small innovative companies.”

In a statement, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy said there’s “a desperate need for venture capital in Vermont to give small businesses and entrepreneurs the opportunity to be able to start and grow a business in our great state.

“Rural states, like Vermont, lack professionally invested early-stage equity and near equity investors to prepare and launch new companies and research commercialization. These SSBCI funds will give Vermont the tools necessary to support business development and emerging companies statewide that currently lack access venture capital and critical lending programs.”

Vermont is just one of just 9 states that have had its SSBCI program approved. Other states that received funding include Connecticut, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. No details on eligibility requirements and application materials have been released as of Monday.

The U.S Treasury has approved more than $1.5 billion dollars through the program. According to the department, 2021 saw the largest number of startups – 5.4 million new businesses.

The department said small businesses with less than 50 workers created 1.9 million jobs within the first three quarters of 2021 – the highest annual rate of small business job creation ever.