Illinois plans to invest $220m in 15 to 20 venture capital funds to support businesses in the state, following a re-approval of the initiative in 2011.

The US state of Illinois is set to restart its venture capital investments, according to state treasurer Michael Frerichs, Crain’s Chicago Business has reported.

The state will invest more than $220m from its treasury, backing local venture capital funds rather than conducting direct investments.

The initiative was first approved by the legislature in 2002 and enabled 1% of the state’s funds to be used as venture capital, at the time resulting in investments totalling $65m. The plan was re-approved in 2011 but no investments were made due to budget concerns.

Frerichs expects the $220m to be invested across 15 to 20 funds with no more than 15% of the total going to any one fund.

Frerichs said: “People ask how can you afford to make these investments at a time like this? I ask, how can you afford not to make these investments?”