Manny Delgado, of Rick’s Tree Service, LLC , which obtained a commercial mortgage from CEDF for his property to house its equipment and workshops. Together with his father, Santos, the Delgados provide residential and commercial tree service, primarily in Central Connecticut.




Hugo Aceves owner of Solo Concrete, LLC, obtained a commercial mortgage from CEDF on a mixed-use, light industrial property for vehicle and equipment storage. Solo Concrete LLC is a sub-contractor that specializes in flat slab concrete construction.



Aubrey Schmalle, OTR/L, is a pediatric occupational therapist in Stamford and founder of Sensational Achievements. As a specialist in sensory and learning deficits, Aubrey’s usual business model involved operating a clinic for direct treatment and consultative evaluations of children. When the COVID-19 crisis brought business to a halt, Aubrey organized a series of free webinars with other practitioners in her field to guide parents who now faced home-schooling their special needs children.




Brian Kleinman (center), owner/operator of Riverside Reptiles education center was ready for his grand opening when COVID-19 demanded changes. With schools closed, Director of Education Teralyn LaChance (left) realized the learning didn’t have to stop. The traveling programs went online and continue to be the highlight of birthday parties, and classroom activities with the assistance of Lead Keeper Gina Sciartilli-Jorud.




Lisa Lord, owner of Twist Yarn Shoppe in East Lyme found her access to retail customers cut off by COVID-19 but continues to serve those anxious for knitting lessons online.


Business Advisory Services


CEDF Business Advisor Steven Adamo, (left), consults with Duane Beale, manager of Sorrento Fine Woodwork, via Zoom during the COVID-19 crisis when in-person client visits were suspended. Duane models the face shields that his retooled shop produced while the company’s cabinet business was experiencing reduced orders.

Business Education

The CEDF Business Education Center offers learning in a variety of formats. As our clients have shown a preference for formats that don’t require time away from their businesses, we expanded our offerings to include frequent webinars, online courses, video tutorials and replays of programming.

Traditional Formats

Our workshops offer in-depth, hands-on training, primarily in financial-related subjects taught by experts. Focused seminars combine useful content with peer interaction and networking opportunities. Workshops and seminars are offered at the CEDF offices in Meriden and periodically across the state.

Online Courses

In 2019 we added four hours of QuickBooks videos to WeTeachSuccess.org, our online learning site featuring five free courses teaching financial fundamentals. It all supplements our partnership with Santa Clara University's My Own Business Institute.

Monthly Podcast

Our Small Business As Usual podcast series provides a convenient way to stay informed and inspired. It treats issues impacting small business operations usually in the words of CEDF clients. Our website also features replays of seminars and other podcasts in which CEDF clients were participants.

Instruction by Email

Our Chalkboard instructional email newsletter provides reflections on current issues in management, marketing and finance from the perspective of staff members' own experiences or observations on articles in the business press.

CEDF strongly believes in the concept of community-driven economic development through community-owned projects. We work with low-to-moderate income communities on projects that support business growth and job creation in Connecticut by providing assistance to cities/towns, community residents, merchant groups, and others who have a vision for ways their community may support the economic environment. We offer assistance in project-related expenses because community development grants help the local business environments grow.

In 2019, CEDF helped fund the direct programmatic costs of the 2020 Food Business Accelerator in New Haven, a partnership between Collab and CitySeed. Nine ventures were selected for the cohort from 100 entrepreneurs submitting 60 applications. The goals of the Food Business Accelerator are:
• Remove barriers to food entrepreneurship across Connecticut through training, network building, and access to resources;
• Create economic opportunities;
• Increase leadership by people of color and immigrant food entrepreneurs;
• Strengthen the local food system by linking food entrepreneurs and farmers;
• Promote the cultural heritage and stories of entrepreneurs.

Collab is a project fiscally sponsored by the Economic Development Corporation of New Haven. CitySeed Inc. is a 501(c)(3) public charity.



Nine ventures were selected for the cohort from 100 entrepreneurs submitting 60 applications.