Featured Community Development Projects
Food Business Accelerator
CEDF helped fund the direct programmatic costs of the 2020 Food Business Accelerator, 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 rising 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.
City of Meriden Downtown Beautification Program
The Community Economic Development Foundation has partnered with the City of Meriden, the local YMCA and the Meriden Downtown Neighborhood Association to implement a downtown beautification program along West Main and Colony Streets.
The project includes-- Murals to be created on buildings facing the new city park and train station. Trash receptacles and planters adopted by business owners to be placed in front of their business. The city will have an improved appearance with cleaner city streets. Flowers are a great addition to any downtown community. Who doesn't feel good when they see beautiful flowers? The planters outside the businesses will add a welcome appeal to anyone visiting the downtown area. CEDF is very pleased to be a part of the Meriden downtown beautification program.
Commercially Licensed Cooperative Kitchen (CLiCK), Willimantic
CEDF worked with community volunteers to establish a shared-use kitchen which enables small food producers to start and grow their business.
CLiCK (Commercially Licensed Cooperative Kitchen) provides food producers access to a fully equipped, commercially licensed kitchen, without an initial outlay of thousands of dollars in start-up costs. Businesses – including area farmers, bakers, and specialty food manufacturers – rent time in the kitchen to produce and label their products for market. CLiCK also offers two-day ServSafe certification training classes in both English and Spanish at a local soup kitchen. Upon completing the class, individuals are certified as “Qualified Food Operators.”
CEDF assisted CLiCK throughout the planning process and fundraising for the capital expenditures of the kitchen. This effort included grant seeking and counsel during construction of building improvements. We continue to support this much needed business by providing ongoing monthly business advisory services
Storefront Window Design Project, East Hartford
CEDF worked with the East Hartford Economic Development Committee to support aesthetic improvements on Main Street.
Three Main Street businesses – a bakery, a hardware store, and a liquor store – worked with a designer to redo their storefront windows. A former art teacher prepared and set up designs. Serving as a business’ first impression, storefront windows are a great element to use to grab people’s attention. This project emphasized the utilization of affordable materials so that other business owners could see the positive results and join in the effort to make improvements to their stores.