The Start-Up Business is Strong in Northern Kentucky

Northern Kentucky welcomes newcomers and new ideas with open arms, thanks to a robust entrepreneurial community that can connect your small or start-up business with mentors, partners, resources, and potential funders.

We help make the connection to a variety of incentives and programs that support entrepreneurs and small business owners. You’ll find several listed below, but first, take a look at this quick three-minute video (right) to hear from your peers about their experience as a Northern Kentucky start-up business.

Kentucky Innovation Hubs & Blue North

The Kentucky Innovation Hub @ Northern Kentucky, Blue North, works collaboratively with accelerators, cities and universities that provide assistance to fast-growth high-tech companies.

Representing Kentucky’s approach to building vibrant, regional innovation hubs across the state and growing the economy, KY Innovation partners with Blue North in Northern Kentucky as the first stop for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

Blue North provides business support for creators and builders in NKY, producing scalable impact by serving entrepreneurs and the region through the following initiatives:

  • Providing direct startup support services
  • Creating an Industry Advisory Board to expand Blue North’s access to large and mid-size corporates
  • Offering expanded startup resources via the Startup Support Fellowship Fund
  • Improving inclusivity and access to programming and events through the use of innovative, digital tools
  • Increasing connections with investor and capital networks
  • Facilitating access to other state start up business programs and resources

Additionally, Blue North identified four sectors that it will focus on to leverage Northern Kentucky’s unique strengths and assets:

  • Health innovation (cancer diagnostics, screening and treatment innovations)
  • Supply chain
  • eCommerce
  • Local growth (food, beverage, distilled spirits, and creative services)

Programs & Resources to Grow or Start Up Business in NKY

Coordinated by Blue North, entrepreneurs and companies can access several state programs listed below.

Kentucky Enterprise Fund

The Kentucky Enterprise Fund provides seed-stage capital to Kentucky-based companies that are commercializing a technology-based product or process. The funds exist to stimulate private investment in Kentucky-based technology companies with high growth potential. The Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC) administers the funds.

Small Business Loan Program

The Small Business Loan Program is designed to help small businesses acquire funding needed to grow or start up a business. A small business must be engaged in manufacturing, agribusiness, or service and technology. Loan funds may be used to acquire land and buildings, purchase and install equipment, or for working capital. The minimum loan amount is $15,000, and the maximum is $100,000. The approved company must create one new full-time job within one year of the loan closing. KEDFA can fund up to 100 percent of the project costs and the loan can be used in conjunction with other lenders. The term of the loan can range from 3-10 years.

Angel Investment Tax Credit

The Kentucky Angel Investment Tax Credit offers tax credits of up to 50 percent of an investment in Kentucky small businesses. Before investment, both the investor and small business must submit applications for certification. Each investment must be certified in advance as well. Refer to the Kentucky Angel Investment Tax Credit Fact Sheet for program details and qualifying criteria.

Tax Credits

The Kentucky Small Business Tax Credit (KSBTC) program is designed to encourage small business growth and job creation by providing a nonrefundable tax credit to eligible businesses hiring one or more eligible individuals and investing at least $5,000 in qualifying equipment or technology. With certain exceptions, most for-profit businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees are considered eligible for this program. The KSBTC program is limited to allocating a total of $3 million in credits as tax incentives per state fiscal year.

Credit Initiatives for a Small or Start Up Business

The Kentucky Small Business Credit Initiative (KSBCI) is designed to generate jobs and increase the availability of credit by reducing the risks participating lenders assume when making loans to grow or start up a business. Using three distinct credit enhancement programs, KSBCI will help lenders finance creditworthy small businesses that would typically fall just outside of their normal lending guidelines.

Guaranteed Loans and Other Financial Assistance

The U.S. Small Business Administration (US SBA) is a Federal agency that provides a number of guaranteed loans and other financial assistance programs to small businesses.

Check out our Incentives page and/or visit www.bluenorthky.com for more information.