FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 27, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted high-tech growth in the commonwealth as leaders at BeingAI Corporation, a cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) company, have announced they will locate the company’s new U.S. headquarters at the Western Kentucky University (WKU) Innovation Campus in Bowling Green, investing nearly $3 million and creating 28 high-wage Kentucky jobs over three phases in the next three years.
“The growth and momentum we are seeing throughout Kentucky’s technology sector is no accident,” said Gov. Beshear. “Creating an environment that allows for startups and tech companies to thrive is critical to the commonwealth’s long-term success. I want to thank company leadership, Western Kentucky University and the city of Bowling Green for working together to make this project a reality and welcome BeingAI to the commonwealth. I look forward to their future success.”
Company leaders will locate the new headquarters in a leased facility at the WKU Innovation Campus, establishing BeingAI’s first location in the United States. The project will create 28 quality jobs, consisting of a world-class team of creators, scientists and developers to bring together art, technology and pro-humanity principles to create artificially intelligent characters (called “AI beings”). The new headquarters will serve as the company’s center for creative development and immersive experiences, including 3D character design and development as well as foster learning- and wellness-focused content, services and experiences in collaboration with content creators, service providers and AR/VR/immersive experience designers.
“The next-generation digital experience will be centered around human-AI interaction, which requires sensibility and pragmatism in user experience design enabled by the latest A.I. and extended reality innovations,” said BeingAI CEO Jeanne Lim. “Bowling Green offers so much of what I need to bring these elements together. I’m looking forward to forging strategic, long-term partnerships there to grow our business across the U.S. and globally.”
Founded in 2020, BeingAI helps bridge disciplines in arts, psychology, artificial intelligence and interactive storytelling to bring to the world delightful AI-enabled characters that deliver real value to people. These AI beings have rich personalities, engaging conversations and deliver real-world solutions – to entertain, educate, comfort, inspire and collaborate. The company was one of five global AI startup finalists in last year’s SXSW Pitch competition, which is a featured showcase event highlighting some of the most innovative startup companies in the world.
The WKU Innovation Campus is an applied research and intellectual hub that spurs innovative collaboration, promotes problem-solving and nurtures talent to elevate the economy and region. Through real-world applications and entrepreneurial support, the Innovation Campus engages and connects researchers, students and start-ups with corporations, industry leaders and local businesses to tackle challenges and foster a talent-first strategy to meet the needs of the region’s growing industries.
Warren County Judge/Executive Doug Gorman expressed his excitement for BeingAI’s arrival: “We extend a warm welcome to BeingAI in our community. The decision to establish their U.S. headquarters at the WKU Innovation Campus showcases their confidence in our region’s potential to foster innovation and drive economic development.”
Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott emphasized the positive impact that the company’s presence will have on the local economy: “BeingAI’s decision to set up their U.S. headquarters here is a testament to Bowling Green’s favorable business environment and skilled workforce. We are thrilled to collaborate with BeingAI, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and the WKU Innovation Campus to create new job opportunities and propel economic growth.”
WKU president Timothy C. Caboni highlighted the company’s strategic fit with the Innovation Campus: “beingAI's choice to establish their U.S. headquarters at the WKU Innovation Campus is a testament to our commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration while creating meaningful corporate engagement. Our partnership with beingAI contributes to the role WKU plays in elevating south central Kentucky and serving as an engine of economic development for the region. This collaboration will provide our researchers, our students, our alumni and companies based in the region unmatched opportunities to engage with a cutting-edge AI company and contribute to groundbreaking advancements in the field.”
Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Ron Bunch expressed his enthusiasm for the company’s decision and the collaboration between the Chamber and the WKU Innovation Campus: “BeingAI’s selection of Bowling Green for its U.S. headquarters is a major triumph for Bowling Green and the entire region. We are proud to work alongside BeingAI in supporting their growth and innovation. This partnership will undoubtedly strengthen our position as a hub for the next wave of emerging technology and storytelling companies.”
BeingAI’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.
Last week, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration secured the largest General Fund budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund, as well as the most jobs filled in state history.
The General Fund budget surplus at the end of fiscal year 2023 was more than $1.55 billion. Nearly all of the $1.55 billion surplus will go into the commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the fund to a record balance of $3.7 billion – a 2,700% increase since Gov. Beshear took office in 2019.
Gov. Beshear also announced an increase of 6,400 jobs filled, bringing the commonwealth to 2,015,600 filled jobs in June. That is a record number of nearly 60,000 more jobs filled than before the pandemic.
This year, the Governor announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history. On May 18, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky set a new historic low unemployment rate of 3.7%, which is the lowest rate ever recorded in the commonwealth.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 870 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling approximately $26.8 billion in announced investments.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.
The Governor also secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth and announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK On celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. In April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
That position was strengthened even further in May 2023, when the Governor and leaders at Toyota announced a $591 million investment across multiple projects as the company’s largest manufacturing operation in Georgetown introduced its first battery electric vehicle. Growth within the EV sector continued into June as Gov. Beshear joined INFAC North America to break ground on the company’s $53 million investment to support EV-related production in Campbellsville.
Over a two-month period this year, Kentucky secured two credit rating increases from major agencies. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration obtained the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever upgrade from Fitch Ratings. On June 29, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth received its first-ever rating increase from S&P Global Ratings.
Site Selection magazine recently placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top-5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects. The publication also placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Gov. Beshear also announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $400,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of at least $550,000 and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 28 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $44.89 including benefits across those jobs.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, BeingAI can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
For more information on BeingAI, visit BeingAI.com.
A detailed community profile for Warren County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.