Community Economic Development Fund

Company: Community Economic Development Fund

Location: Meriden, CT (operating statewide)

Company/organization description

The Community Economic Development Fund is a mission-driven, 501(c)(3), Connecticut economic development organization. We provide loans to low-to-moderate income business owners, predominately in low-to-moderate income communities across Connecticut. We offer support with experienced and passionate Business Advisors who coach and mentor each borrower, and with a wide range of Business Education Center programming on management, marketing, accounting and many other topics.

How are you engaged/involved in supporting/advocating for the CT entrepreneur ecosystem?

CEDF’s creative and flexible lending products are accessible to startups and applicants from disadvantaged communities. We pride ourselves in providing all loan prospects an open-minded, big picture review of their applications unhindered by arbitrary cut-offs for credit score, time in operation or amount of collateral. Our goal is to help structure the most flexible, individualized funding for a small business. We lend in a variety of industries.

What improved in the CT entrepreneur ecosystem due to your involvement/advocacy in 2020?

Our Business Education Center informed business owners about applying for available federal and state programs. Our Business Advisors consulted with our clients on a day-by-day basis offering guidance and support to see if they needed loan payment deferrals, interest-only periods or new capital from our organization. And we fielded hundreds of phone calls, emails and texts, not only from our clients, but from other business owners across the state asking for advice, counsel and reassurance.

Nominator Justification

Although CEDF operates throughout CT, I wanted to give a special shout-out to Fred Welk who has been so generous with his advice and willingness to help students at WCSU. Even virtually during COVID. He encourages everyone to fully understand and appreciate the various funding options available for small businesses. Sign up for their educational offerings. President Jim Bzdyra, Director of Education and Communication Frederick Welk

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