By Monica Stabile

Legislation to provide financial incentives for first-time business owners was approved Wednesday by the Illinois Senate.

Dubbed the “Entrepreneur Learner’s Permit,” the pilot program hopes to boost small business growth by reimbursing some licensing and permit costs to first-time business owners.

Entrepreneurs who qualify for the program include new information services, biotechnology and green technology businesses. The program would prioritize female and minority business owners. It would run for two years, starting this July.

Democratic Sen. Linda Holmes of Aurora, the bill’s sponsor, said it’s important for the state lawmakers to encourage businesses to build operations in Illinois and to strengthen the state’s economy.

“There has been a lot of talk about making Illinois more business-friendly, but not enough action,” Holmes said in a statement.

The legislation passed the Senate 57-0 and is headed to the Illinois House.

 Contact Monica Stabile at intern@springfieldbusinessjournal.com.