Big projects grab the headlines, but small businesses have also had a major impact on Ky’s economic dynamics
Kentucky’s economy set a record pace in 2021, including all-time highs in job creation and new private sector investment.
Large-scale projects have been central to this success, including the $5.8 billion investment by Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation to establish an electric vehicle battery park in Hardin County that will create 5,000 jobs and GE Appliances’ commitment to add more than 1,000 jobs with $450 million in new investments by the end of 2023.
However, small business growth has also been an economic driver over the past year, as highlighted by programs such as the Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit (KSBTC).
“In Kentucky, we understand the important role small businesses play in our continued success,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said. “That’s why we’re committed to making sure they have all the resources they need to build a strong foundation and take their business to the next level. The economic momentum we are seeing in the Commonwealth right now is unlike anything in our history, and Kentucky businesses of all sizes will play a vital role in continuing that growth in 2022 and beyond.
Over the past decade, KSBTC has helped many Kentucky businesses 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 assistance.
Last year alone, KSBTC encouraged 107 Kentucky businesses, helping them create 339 new jobs with $3.64 million in reinvestment.
Last year, Kentucky’s average incentive hourly wage for all new siting or expansion projects statewide was $24 before benefits, representing a 9.4% increase over the previous year and the second highest score in the last seven years. For companies supported by KSBTC, this figure was even higher. Jobs created in 2021 with the help of KSBTC included an average hourly wage of $25.89, not including benefits.
KSBTC encourages businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees who hire and maintain at least one new job and purchase at least $5,000 of qualifying equipment or technology. Tax credits for eligible claimants can range from $3,500 to $25,000 per year.
BlueFrame Technology, based in Lexington, is one company that has taken full advantage of what KSBTC has to offer. In 2021, the company was approved under the KSBTC program three times, contributing seven new jobs and nearly $27,000 in new investments.
“BlueFrame has really appreciated the benefits offered by the KSBTC program,” said Brad Farley, COO of BlueFrame. “We have used the program several times; it was quite simple to claim. More than its ease of use, it’s a big affirmation for our growing business.
The company provides software and live streaming services primarily to high schools and universities. BlueFrame’s services make it easy for schools to produce high-quality productions, syndicate their content to white-label apps and custom digital networks, and monetize their streams to address declining ticket revenue .
“It’s easy to imagine how quickly our business is growing when so many live events are still limited and families still rightfully have concerns about public gatherings,” Farley added. “KSBTC gives us even more confidence that we can affordably grow our team to meet growing demand by removing the equipment we need to support that growth. It was great.
Farley suggested that more Kentucky businesses — and the communities in which they reside — could benefit from the support offered by the KSBTC program.
“I would recommend any business in Kentucky to pursue their options. When your state supports the market economy and empowers businesses to make the best decisions for themselves, 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.