In 1994, then Connecticut Governor Lowell P. Weicker was the creator and inspiration behind the idea of forming a non-profit organization called The Community Economic Development Fund (CEDF). For more than 20 years we have served the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses primarily located in Connecticut's low-to-moderate income communities who are unable to obtain traditional financing. Governor Weicker's vision was to have a mission driven organization focused on providing financing and business advisory services (then called Technical Assistance) through creative, flexible and customer tailored loans and with expert, supportive and ongoing business advice. Through the years we have added various loan products, increased our loan sizes and launched and grew our Business Education Center.
The major goals of CEDF at the time of its formation are the same goals it has today: to strengthen Connecticut's neighborhoods by stabilizing and growing small businesses and creating and expanding jobs for local residents. We began with assistance from the state of Connecticut and six original bank investors. We have grown to 24 investors, dramatically increased our capital base and significantly improved our ability to service our customers. The number of customers we have helped over the years has grown from one, our initial borrower, MLK Business Forms based in New Haven, to nearly one thousand. Many of our valued customers have "graduated" from CEDF and are now being financed by a number of banks from around the state.
Today, CEDF serves entrepreneurs and small businesses located in all 169 cities and towns within Connecticut with special emphasis on businesses located in 17 Targeted Investment Communities (TICs) and 36 Public Investment Communities (PICs). We are proudly located in Meriden at 965 East Main Street in the center of the state with easy access to I-91, the Merritt Parkway and I-691. Please come and visit us.
We have helped hundreds of businesses which have created thousands of jobs since 1994 and we continue to help additional businesses each and every day.