The U.S. is undoubtedly considered the land of opportunity. Small businesses have been the backbone of the United States economy for well over a hundred years. Most businesses that are started begin with someone’s ambition and passion, which then quickly turns into a fully-fledged small business.

Kentucky is clearly no stranger to small businesses, as a matter of fact, Kentucky’s number of small businesses is pretty high, especially when you compare this number to the state’s population size.

The Bluegrass State is a big contributor to the United States’ huge economy. Over the last few years, Kentucky’s support for small businesses has been evident in the pro-business approach taken by the state’s government. Through various programs, it supports thousands of businesses and enables them to thrive in Kentucky and beyond.

Number of Small Businesses in Kentucky

So, how many small businesses are there in Kentucky? There are 355,998 small businesses in Kentucky, according to the latest figures (2020) from the SBA.

It is not just people living in the state that are starting small businesses in Kentucky; the state is also attractive to foreigners investing and starting businesses. There were 11,238 immigrant entrepreneurs in Kentucky in 2018 that accounted for 6% of all self-employed Kentucky residents.

The following bar graph shows the number of small businesses in Kentucky in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

How many small businesses are there in Kentucky

Of the 355,998 small businesses in Kentucky in 2020, there is a wide array of different enterprises from small, one-person sole proprietorships or LLCs to much larger businesses with a hundred or more employees. If you want to join the 355,000+ small businesses in Kentucky, it is relatively easy to register a business in Kentucky.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the number of small businesses in Kentucky by looking at the top industries, business owners, employees, and more!

Small Businesses Statistics in Kentucky for 2020

  • Small businesses equate to over 99.3% of all businesses in Kentucky.
  • There are 712,477 small business employees in Kentucky, which is 43.8% of the states’ employees.
  • In 2019, Small Businesses in Kentucky added 23,339 new jobs.
  • Small businesses employing 20 to 99 employees created the most job gains.
  • There are 21,137 self-employed minorities in Kentucky demonstrating the diverse nature of the state.
  • International trade is important to a sector of businesses, and there are 3,736 small business exporters in Kentucky.
  • There are more construction firms that are small businesses in Kentucky than any other type – 46,246.
  • Retail trade firms make up the 2nd largest number of small businesses in Kentucky – 37,861.

Top 5 small business industries in Kentucky

How Many Small Businesses in Kentucky?

Over 355,000+ is an impressive number of small businesses to be registered in any one state! Compared to the rest of the U.S., the total number of small businesses in Kentucky is 1.12% of all U.S. businesses. There are 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S.

The number of small businesses in Kentucky has been growing over the past several years. In 2017 there were 344,108 small businesses, which increased to 347,159 in 2018, representing a 0.88% increase. In 2019 there were 351,260 small businesses in Kentucky, 4,101 more than the state had in 2018, representing a 1.18% increase.

From 2019 to 2020, the number of Kentucky small businesses rose again, to 355,998, which is evidence as to why Kentucky’s economic strength has been building exponentially over the past several years.

Kentucky has plenty to offer employers, employees, companies, and entrepreneurs, which is why there are more and more people flocking to the state each year, due to its ever-growing and impressive business environment and economic strength, which provides many opportunities for small business owners.

With access to some large consumer markets, a respectful “go local” approach to community-driven businesses, a plethora of helpful small business resources readily available for everybody, a strong labor market, an awesome education system, and extremely low business taxes, it is no wonder why so many small business owners choose Kentucky.

If you would like to download the full 2020 Small Business Profile report on Kentucky from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, the Profile can be downloaded here.