The Community Economic Development Fund is a mission-driven, 501(c)(3), Connecticut economic development organization. We provide loans primarily in low-to-moderate income communities and predominantly to low-to-moderate business owners who are not able to obtain bank financing.

We focus on the 53 Targeted Investment Communities (TICs) and Public Investment Communities (PICs) as defined and revised from time-to-time by the CT Office of Policy and Management and CT DECD. In municipalities not recognized as a TIC or PIC, we lend to borrowers with household incomes below $96,300, as defined by HUD.

We lend in a variety of industries. For the sixth year in a row, CEDF is Connecticut’s leading SBA Microlender, offering term loans from a few thousand dollars up to $50,000. Through our other sources of loan capital, CEDF also provides term loans and lines of credit up to $250,000 and owner-occupied commercial mortgages up to $500,000.

We pride ourselves in providing disadvantaged loan prospects with 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.

Leadership Martial Arts practice

Rick Griffin, owner of Leadership Martial Arts, LLC, Southington, demonstrates proper technique to a young student. After providing financing to help him launch his business in 2015, in 2018 CEDF provided a term loan for leasehold improvements for relocating and doubling the size of his studio. Rick is looking forward to continuing to grow and is thankful for CEDF being with him every step of his entrepreneurial journey.

Jennifer East, owner of Classic Canine, LLC, in Niantic received term loans from CEDF to purchase the business and for working capital.

Chris Raimo, owner of Happy Cat Hotel Franchising, Inc., Windsor, with an unidentified customer. CEDF provided term loans for working capital, equipment and leasehold improvements. Chris and his team continue to prepare the infrastructure required to successfully expand his concept nationally through the franchising medium.

Business Advisory Services


CEDF Business Advisors serve our borrowers as coaches and relationship managers to help foster business growth and reduce risk of business closure. Regular contact with the Business Advisor is a condition of all CEDF borrowing.

Our Business Advisors are seasoned former small business owners who provide guidance on best practices in management, marketing, finance and operations; help investigate, diagnose or research business challenges and opportunities in order to identify paths to improved results; and coach on matters of leadership, accountability, action planning, idea generation, motivation, and management of the emotional components of business ownership.

Purchasing similar business coaching in the marketplace would come at significant cost. Beyond the value delivered to our clients, the business advisory program helps CEDF reduce risk by providing opportunities for early interception of issues that might escape the knowledge of a borrower with less business background.

Stephen Richmond with Business Advisor Jenn Avallone

Stephen Richmond, owner of Painting with a Twist located on Pratt Street in downtown Hartford, discusses operational concepts with his CEDF Business Advisor Jennifer Avallone. Stephen, his wife, his team and everyone involved with Painting with a Twist has continued to bring additional excitement to Pratt Street. And Stephen is just getting going.

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’ve begun planning for delivery of programming in alternative formats, such as webinar, teleconference and online courses.

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 late 2018 we launched WeTeachSuccess.org with five free courses teaching financial fundamentals to supplement the curriculum available through 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.