Bethlehem Startups Receive $600,000 in KIZ Tax Credits

By Colin McEvoy on February 1, 2021

Ten startup companies from the city of Bethlehem were awarded a total of just over $600,000 in Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) tax credits, the fourth highest total in the history of the program.

Five of the ten companies received just over $93,000 each, including the grow light manufacturer Soltech Solutions, HVAC software tools developer Rocket Cloud, healthcare technology innovation company NextShift, the provider of marine data collection software, Harbor Light Software, and the software development and consulting firm Optamo.

All the awarded companies are located within the Southside Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone, an area within the city that allows qualified startup companies to qualify for multiple financial and advisory support benefits.

“Investment in startups often requires diligence and patience,” said Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez. “The awarding of these tax credits demonstrate the growth of our young companies and provides them with additional capital to reinvest back into their business.”

Since 2004, the Southside Bethlehem KIZ has seen over $9 million in investments made to over 100 companies and has helped to foster innovation and create entrepreneurial opportunities by aligning the combined resources of educational institutions, governmental agencies, and the private sector.

“The KIZ tax credit program will significantly contribute to the growth and transformation of these promising companies,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “Across the state, this support will help these young companies flourish, consequently bringing new jobs and increased opportunities to their respective regions.”

The Bethlehem companies that will be receiving the $601,684 in KIZ tax credits include:

  • Harbor Light Software ($93,504)
  • Optamo ($93,504)
  • NextShift ($93,504)
  • Rocket Cloud ($93,504)
  • Soltech Solutions ($93,504)
  • Prospect Gen AI ($47,598)
  • Bonn Place Brewing ($37,401)
  • MindMe ($36,533)
  • Almas Foods International ($9,251)
  • GrainBound ($3,381)

Bonn Place Brewing owner Sam Masotto said in the past, the company has utilized KIZ tax credits to develop some major motion in its packaging department. He hopes to use these new funds to build upon that program, while also developing a new delivery service that is both expeditious and safe.”

“Being able to get more beer into more hands, and create more of a reach will help us stay employed and manufacturing,” Masotto said. “After all, if not for the direct to consumer service of our manufactured product, we wouldn’t have the Bonn Place that we have today.”

NextShift Health has also previously received KIZ tax credit funds, according to CEO Rob Tedesco, who said they have been very helpful in accommodating the growth of the company.

“The KIZ tax credits have allowed NextShift to expand by increasing resources and prototyping new innovative solutions,” he said. “This time, we will use some of the funds to evolve our latest platform offering called CTS which helps Community Action Centers allocate funds and other resources to those who are in need.”

Financial resources provided by the KIZ provides include technology transfer grants up to $25,000 per project, student internship grants of up to $3,750 per intern, and KIZ tax credits up to $100,000 annually, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED).

Eligible companies are for-profit business entities that are located within the Southside Bethlehem KIZ, have been in operation for less than 8 years, operate within one of the KIZ targeted industry clusters, and are developing innovative technologies.

For more information about the Southside Bethlehem KIZ, please visit its website or contact Asher Schiavone, the city’s Economic Development Coordinator, via email or at 610-865-4347.

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