WEDCO to Partner in Launch of Community Navigator Pilot Program to Support Increased Access to Resources for Granite State Small Businesses
$2.5 million Grant Awarded to the Community Development Finance Authority by U.S. Small Business Administration
Wolfeboro, NH –Wentworth Economic Development Corporation, Inc. (WEDCO) is pleased to be a partner with the Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) in the launch of the Community Navigator Pilot Program in New Hampshire. The program is designed to reduce barriers to accessing critical resources for small businesses, specifically for underserved businesses and communities, and is funded by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to CDFA.
New Hampshire’s Community Navigator Pilot Program will focus on addressing the barriers for businesses owned by women, socially and economically disadvantaged, and underserved entrepreneurs, with a particular focus on microenterprises, cooperatives, and early-stage business development. The program design builds on years of WEDCO’s support to businesses by providing loans, business advising services, grants, etc.
To learn more and sign-up for program-related news and updates, visit www.nhcommunitynavigator.org.
“Its wonderful news. We look forward to working with Belknap EDC to implement this program over the next two years,” noted Denise Roy-Palmer, WEDCO Executive Director.
“The Community Navigator Pilot Program provides New Hampshire a significant opportunity to better support underserved people and communities by strengthening capacity and coordination within our community economic development ecosystem,” stated Katherine Easterly Martey, Executive Director of New Hampshire’s Community Development Finance Authority. “This initiative builds on years of dedicated work by small business technical assistance providers throughout the state and will have an intentional focus on reducing barriers to accessing resources. We look forward to working
with the U.S. Small Business Administration and our many New Hampshire colleagues to deploy Community Navigator Pilot Program funds to support entrepreneurs across the Granite State.”
CDFA will invest in partner organizations around the state, including WEDCO to advance small business development and expand wealth-building pathways in New Hampshire. Additional key community-based partners include:
- Belknap Economic Development Council;
- Coos Economic Development Corporation;
- Grafton Regional Development Corporation;
- Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship;
- New Hampshire Small Business Development Center;
- Regional Economic Development Center of Southern New Hampshire;
- River Valley Community College Upper Valley Entrepreneurship Center
“The financial fallout from the pandemic decimated New Hampshire’s small business community, with those in rural and underserved areas particularly hard hit. Empowering local entrepreneurs must be a top priority as we turn the page on this crisis, and that’s precisely what the Community Navigator Pilot Program does,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m so pleased that New Hampshire’s Community Development Finance Authority has been selected to receive $2.5 million to continue its important work on the frontlines delivering aid to struggling businesses. I’m committed to securing the resources our
business community needs to drive our economic recovery across the Granite State.”
New Hampshire’s grant award was applauded by New Hampshire’s federal delegation. A full press release on the importance of these federal resources and comments from the delegation can be found here. “New Hampshire small businesses are the backbone and jobs engine of our economy, representing 99% of businesses and employing half of our private workforce,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “This $2.5M grant will expand access to support for our small business owners across the state — a win for everyone.”
WEDCO is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) regional economic development corporation serving New Hampshire towns of southern Carroll and northern Strafford counties and whose mission is to promote and support to businesses and the creation of employment opportunities by providing development assistance and financing. For more information on resources available to New Hampshire small businesses and microenterprises through WEDCO visit www.wedco-nh.org or call 603-569-4216.
About the Community Development Finance Authority
The Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) is a statewide nonprofit public authority focused on maximizing the value and impact of community development, economic development and clean energy initiatives throughout New Hampshire. The organization leverages a variety of financial and technical resources, including the competitive deployment of grant, loan and equity programs. Those resources include New Hampshire state tax credits, federal Community Development Block Grant resources and the CDFA Clean Energy Fund. For more information about CDFA and its programs visit www.nhcdfa.org or call 603-226-2170.