Small businesses contribute to Kentucky’s unprecedented economic momentum

By the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development

Kentucky’s economy set a record pace in 2021, including all-time highs in job creation and private-sector new investment.

Large-scale projects have been at the center of that success, including Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation’s $5.8 billion investment to establish an electric vehicle battery park in Hardin County that will create 5,000 jobs and GE Appliances’ commitment to add over 1,000 jobs with $450 million in new investments by the end of 2023.

Small-business growth, however, also has been an economic driver over the past year, as highlighted by programs like the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit (KSBTC).

“In Kentucky, we understand the important role small businesses have in our continued success,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. “That’s why we are committed to ensuring they have all the resources they need to establish a solid foundation and take their companies to that next level. The economic momentum we are currently seeing in the commonwealth is unlike anything in our history, and Kentucky businesses of every size will play a vital role in furthering that growth in 2022 and beyond.”

Over the past decade, KSBTC has helped numerous Kentucky companies take the next step in their growth plans. Since 2011, the program has helped businesses in 74 Kentucky counties create more than 3,300 jobs with nearly $34 million in support.

Last year alone, KSBTC incentivized 107 Kentucky companies, helping them create 339 new jobs with $3.64 million in reinvestment.

Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for all new-location or expansion projects statewide last year was $24 before benefits, which represents a 9.4% increase over the previous year and the second highest mark of the past seven years. For KSBTC-supported companies, that figure was even higher. Jobs created in 2021 with assistance from KSBTC included an average hourly wage of $25.89, not including employee benefits.

KSBTC incentivizes companies with 50 or fewer full-time employees that hire and sustain at least one new job and purchase at least $5,000 in qualifying equipment or technology. Tax credits for qualifying applicants can range from $3,500 to $25,000 annually.

Lexington-based BlueFrame Technology is one company that has taken full advantage of what KSBTC has to offer. In 2021, the company was approved through the KSBTC program on three occasions, contributing to seven new jobs and nearly $27,000 in new investments.

“BlueFrame has truly appreciated the benefits afforded by the KSBTC program,” said Brad Farley, director of operations at BlueFrame. “We’ve used the program a variety of times; it has been pretty simple to claim. More than its ease of use, it’s been a great affirmation for our growing company.”

The company provides live streaming software and services, primarily to high schools and universities. BlueFrame’s services allow schools to easily produce high-quality productions, syndicate their content on white-labeled apps and custom digital networks, and monetize their streams to support declining gate ticket revenues.

“It’s easy to imagine how quickly our business is growing when so many live events are still restricted and families still rightfully have concerns about public gatherings,” Farley added. “KSBTC gives us even more assurance that we can affordably grow our team to meet the increasing demand by writing off the equipment we need to support that growth. It has been great.”

Farley suggested more Kentucky companies – and the communities in which they reside – could benefit from the support the KSBTC program offers.

“I would recommend any Kentucky company pursue their options. When your state supports free market economics and empowers companies to make the best decisions for themselves, the employees, and therefore communities, benefit. We are grateful for programs like KSBTC.”

To apply for incentives through KSBTC, or to learn more about the program, visit ced.ky.gov/entrepreneurship/KSBTC.

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