Hear from Loan Recipients
Watch the videos below to hear from Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund loan recipients about why they applied and how the loan has benefitted their organization.
STAMFORD Family YMCA
STAMFORD YMCA CEO SHAWN PATCH AND BOARD TREASURER PETER WEILAND SHARE EXPERIENCE WITH CONNECTICUT’S SMALL BUSINESS BOOST FUND
Founded in 1861, Stamford Family YMCA is one of the oldest YMCAs in the country and provides a variety of services to the surrounding community. Stamford YMCA offers a pool, weight room and gym facilities, “but all of that is really meant to help provide afterschool care and summer camp for kids in Stamford who otherwise wouldn’t have any place to go,” explains board treasurer Peter Weiland.
“As a true inner-city YMCA, we don’t turn anybody away due to the inability to pay,” says CEO Shawn Patch. “We knew that families out there are hurting just like everybody else, and they’re working two to three jobs, and so they really need the afterschool care.”
Patch says the nonprofit’s membership rates were at an all-time high in March 2020. But the pandemic disrupted everything. “People stopped going to the gym, people stopped going to the pool, and those activities help provide the funding that we need to give the afterschool care and day camp for kids,” Weiland explains.
When Stamford YMCA’s leadership heard about the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund, they thought it sounded too good to be true. But they applied and received a flexible, low-interest loan while other funding sources were taking longer than expected. “We were able to get the application process moving very, very quickly, and it really made a difference for us,” Weiland says.
The CT Boost Fund’s quick application process and fund disbursement allowed Stamford YMCA to keep the lights on and avoid a disruption in standard operations and payroll. Patch explains, “With that money, we were able to continue to give scholarships to these kids, so they weren’t going home alone. We are really appreciative of that.”
The Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund is designed to support businesses and nonprofits like Stamford YMCA. The CT Boost Fund offers flexible, low-interest loans with a fixed rate of 4.5% to businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 100 employees and an annual revenue of less than $8 million. Qualified business owners are matched with a community lender, who provides support and assistance throughout the application process.
Vincencia “Vee” Adusei, Founder and President of VASE Management, shares experience with Connecticut’s Small Business Boost Fund
Vincencia “Vee” Adusei is the founder and President of VASE Management, a construction management and real estate development company based in New Haven, CT. Born and raised in Ghana, Adusei comes from a family of construction entrepreneurs who contributed significant commercial construction projects to some of Ghana’s largest cities. Adusei loves that VASE Management’s construction and real estate work helps them “become a part of the community.”
VASE Management was born when Adusei began taking on consulting projects toward the end of her college career. Under Adusei’s leadership, it became a multimillion-dollar company over the next eight years. Adusei remains the only female, minority, and section 3 business construction manager in Connecticut.
During the pandemic, Adusei saw that rising material costs and gas prices “essentially increased the cost of everything” within her industry. Adusei knew VASE Management had to adapt so that the company had enough working capital to competitively bid on more significant projects. That was when Adusei came across the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund.
The Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund offers flexible, low-interest loans with a fixed rate of 4.5% to businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 100 employees and an annual revenue of less than $8 million. “You can’t beat that anywhere else in today’s market,” Adusei explains.
After submitting the online pre-application, Adusei quickly connected with a lender who walked her through applying for and securing a loan. A month after the application began, the funding landed in VASE Management’s bank account. Adusei shared that the application process was painless, and “having this working capital has been tremendous” in allowing VASE Management to bid on and immediately secure several larger projects. “Our competitiveness level has probably increased about another 40%,” Adusei says.
The Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund is designed to support business owners like Adusei. Qualified business owners are matched with a community lender, who provides support and assistance throughout the application process. Adusei’s advice: Take advantage of this program if you’re a small business looking to grow.
Lil’ Sunshine Home Daycare
Kamara Moodie, Lil' Sunshine Home Daycare
Kamara Moodie is owner of Lil’ Sunshine Home Daycare in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a 24-hour child care facility that has been in operation for 16 years. It offers before- and after-school care and provides meals and educational services for up to 9 children at a time. Kamara is the primary child care provider at the facility, but she does have a long-time substitute and a staff of floaters that can fill in for her.
When Kamara first heard about the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund, it was right as the program was being launched. And when she eventually took on a loan through the fund, it was the first time she had gone through the process.
Before she took on a loan, Kamara had received business support services that have helped her navigate the challenges of running a small business. Her advisors with the Connecticut Small Business Development Center made sure she was loan-ready before applying for the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund, streamlining the process and making sure she had her financial documents in order.
Once ready to apply, Kamara worked with Pursuit, one of the community lenders supporting the program, to secure her loan. “It was smooth sailing,” Kamara says of the loan application process. “The entire staff was great.”
With the money she has received through the fund, Kamara plans to expand her business to a second location. Kamara says she would recommend the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund to other small businesses that are looking to expand their reach.
“I’d tell people this is definitely a solid program,” she says. “The interest rate is low and it’s fixed. There’s no collateral. I don’t think there’s anything better than that. I could definitely see where people could benefit and grow from this.”
Point Transportation & Logistics
Chaquanzha Stephenson, Point Transportation & Logistics
Chaquanzha’s story illustrates just how important a flexible, low-interest loan can be to a small business in need.
In 2021, Chaquanzha left a career in HR and launched Point Transportation and Logistics out of Milford, operating a single flatbed vehicle that hauled lumber, heavy machinery, steel, bricks — “things that make the world go round,” as Chaquanzha explains it.
After a successful first year, she decided to scale the company and add a second commercial vehicle to her fleet. Unfortunately, the truck was a lemon: It cost over $30,000 in out-of-pocket repairs, and it meant that she wasn’t bringing in the revenue that she had projected.
It was around that time that Chaquanzha applied for her first business loan, which got her capital quickly but came with a high interest rate and a lien on her company.
“I needed the loan because we were in a crisis,” she says, “and I didn’t realize how much interest was on it.”
That’s when Chaquanzha turned to the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund. Following the application process, she was paired with a community lender and business advisor through the Fund. They worked with her to create financial projections and organize her documents so she could finally take on the right loan to get Point back up and running.
Now she’s looking ahead to the future with plans to increase her workforce and broaden her reach, and she hopes her business can generate some generational wealth that she can eventually pass down.
“The Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund was truly a blessing. It turned this negative situation into something great,” Chaquanzha says. “I can’t stress enough how grateful I am, just being able to sleep at night. Without it, I wouldn’t have a business right now. They were able to put the pieces back together and give me hope.”
YJ Cleaning & Maintenance
Willie Jones, YJ Cleaning & Maintenance
Willie Jones started YJ Cleaning & Maintenance in 2016 and has been providing janitorial work, construction clean-up and other services in and around the Hartford area. At one point, he was up to 18 staff members.
When the pandemic hit, Willie’s company was more in demand than ever, especially when he added COVID decontamination to his list of services. But he also needed a larger staff to meet that demand, which required more capital and resources.
“The more opportunities that come up, the more people you need. We fell behind a bit, and I don’t want to miss good opportunities because there’s still a lot of work out here,” he explains. “Business is great, but we’re still trying to catch up from three years ago.”
Willie was connected to the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund through the nonprofit Minority Construction Council, and he opted to receive free financial support services through the Fund. His advisors helped get his financial documents in order before applying for the loan, and they have also gotten him leads on new projects, provided clerical services and assisted with OSHA and other relevant trainings and certifications.
Since receiving the loan, YJ Cleaning & Maintenance has been able to maintain payroll, expand its scope and purchase cargo vans that can more comfortably transport a growing staff to areas beyond the company’s original reach.
“The loan was a lifesaver,” Willie says. “I think the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund could help a business take their next step because some of the banks don’t give you a chance. We’re out here, we can grow with the right capital and guidance, and we can hire more people from the community.”
Ready to Apply?
Complete the 13 questions in the pre-application to find out if you are eligible for a loan. Eligible applicants will be connected with a community lender.