CEO Message

James S. Bzdyra receiving the award as the state’s top SBA MicroLender for the sixth consecutive year.

I’m pleased to report another year of accomplishments by the CEDF team in 2018.

With little pause from our quickening pace in the prior year, we built 25 new client relationships and wrote 65 loans to new and existing clients for approximately $2.6M. As an mission-driven nonprofit, we continue our dedication to building the economic health of Connecticut communities requiring the most assistance while serving low and moderate income small business owners across the entire state.

CEDF made significant improvements to the efficiency of its loan origination, underwriting and tracking processes by implementing well-respected financial industry software from Wolters Kluwer. The investment in both dollars and staff time for implementation is already repaying in faster completion of loan closings and easier management of prospect information.

CEDF further bolstered its Business Education Center (BEC) with the addition of a substantial number of recorded presentations to our website, giving busy entrepreneurs and small business owners on-demand access to our best seminars and teleconferences of the year. The additional listenership boosted our total BEC engagements to more than 2,800 in 2018. And in December we launched our own learning management system website at WeTeachSuccess.org, offering a five-part financial fundamentals course. It’s crucial information for new and aspiring small business owners and we’re pleased that we can now offer this material both free and on demand, in addition to our numerous live workshops and seminars.

CEDF continues to expand our reach to the small business community by establishing further collaborations with community partners such as SCORE, the CT Small Business Development Center, the Veteran’s Business Outreach Center and the state’s two Women’s Business Centers, all partners of the U.S. Small Business Administration. CEDF was honored by the SBA for the sixth consecutive year as the state’s leading Microlender.
As Connecticut ushers in a new gubernatorial administration, we welcome David Lehman, the incoming Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. We express our appreciation to departing department employees who have moved on to new challenges. We look forward to partnering with new staff to continue our progress in helping the state build economic vitality.

We further strengthened our staff with the addition of two financial industry veterans, Jay Babcock, Director of Workout and Asset Management and Tom Lenahan, our Chief Underwriter. But we bid farewell to our retiring part-time underwriter, Jim Geraghty, and to Karen Tessman, who served as Director of Lending since 2016.

Joining our Corporation Board were Bob Dellatorre of KeyBank and community representative Dawn Reshen-Doty.
Tragically, the CEDF family experienced the shock and deep sadness of the passing of our long-serving former president, Donna Wertenbach, and Foundation board member William Callion, Jr.

However, looking ahead to 2019, and with inspiration from these devoted and passionate leaders and mentors, we resolve to draw energy from following our mission to help entrepreneurs and small business owners succeed by providing the resources and knowledge necessary to elevate their results and improve their communities. Still, despite the advantages of falling unemployment and stronger national economic growth, challenges remain. Connecticut requires our continued diligent efforts to improve opportunity and outcomes for all of its citizens.
We are pleased to share this report and welcome your questions and comments.

James S. Bzdyra

2019 Goals and Strategies

Strategic Goals:

1. Increasing mission-focused small business lending by expanding available loan capital.
2. Assist our borrowers with responsive, expert technical support services.
3. Educate small business owners and aspirants on the essential knowledge for operating successful, sustainable enterprises.
4. Collaborate with clients and community organizations to advance niche projects supporting economic vitality.

Program Strategies:

Lending
1. Increase Lending Department output capacity.
2. Cultivate new investors and propose existing investors increase their stakes.
3. Continue to develop collaborative relationships and cross-referral systems to spread awareness of CEDF’s offerings available to low-to- moderate income and economically disadvantaged communities.

Business Advisory Services
1. Increase training to Business Advisors to improve their levels of exper- tise in marketing, management and finance.
2. Evaluate financial acumen of clients based on bookkeeping practices, utilization of professional accounting services and financial reports, and create improvement plans.
3. Help clients formalize business goals and Key Performance Indicators.
4. Reduce overall incidence of noncompliance with meetings or document submission.

Business Education
1. Improve quality, relevance and reach of Business Education Center programming.
2. Increase collaborations with partner organizations to leverage promotion and share instructor resources.

Community Development
1. Design a client-driven community development project award program.
2. Formalize a community development project application.