COLUMBIA — A Senate committee has advanced a bill designed to encourage millionaires to invest in South Carolina’s fledgling small businesses.

The measure sent unanimously to the Senate floor today would allow “angel investors” to claim up to 35 percent of their investment as a credit on state income taxes. The statewide total is capped at $5 million annually.

Supporters say the bill encourages the wealthy to invest in businesses that are too risky for banks and venture capital firms but could become job creation factories with some needed startup cash.

Nearly two dozen states already give such tax credits, including Georgia and North Carolina.

“Angel investors” are defined by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission as investors worth at least $1 million. The House approved the bill last year.