Funding program for entrepreneurs of color expands statewide

By News

The Community-Driven Economic Empowerment (C-DEE) Accelerator for entrepreneurs has gone statewide. The program provides capacity-building funding for entrepreneurs of color in N.H. to help their businesses become financially resilient and self-sufficient.

The Community-Driven Economic Empowerment (C-DEE) Accelerator for entrepreneurs has gone statewide.

The Accelerator provides capacity-building funding for New Hampshire entrepreneurs of color to help their businesses become financially resilient and self-sufficient. It is a partnership between the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, the Manchester chapter of the NAACP, and the Business Alliance for People of Color.

Any entrepreneur of color with a company registered and in good standing with the State of New Hampshire may apply for up to $5,000. The funding can be used for computer hardware and software, and for professional services including legal consultation, bookkeeping, and marketing, including website design.

The application deadline is April 18.

All applicants will be offered free business coaching or consulting with the Center for Women & Enterprise and the N.H. Small Business Development Center.


Liliana Alvarado, owner and founder of UPHEALING, an interior design firm for healthcare environments.

The Accelerator was launched as a pilot last spring limited to businesses in Greater Manchester. A total of $52,586 was awarded to 20 businesses, including a restaurant, grocery store, journalist, bookkeeper, photographer, retail shop, mental health therapist, and dance studio.

According to the Pew Research Center, 14% of the United States population identified as Black in 2021 but owned only 3% of all businesses. Also, most Black-owned firms tended to be smaller than the average; two-thirds had fewer than 10 employees.

Two reasons for the disparity are that many of those businesses find it difficult to get growth funding from traditional sources and to connect with professional resources.

“The Accelerator pilot showed us that the capacity-building funding helped the businesses succeed. Equally important was that the business owners empowered through the Accelerator contribute to a collective story which highlights that a community’s true strength lies in the prosperity and well-being of its members,” said Latonya Wallace, the Community Loan Fund’s Director of Community Relations and C-DEE program manager.

“Community-driven efforts like C-DEE serve as the heartbeat of positive change and I look forward to the C-DEE Accelerator 2.0 bringing these efforts statewide,” she said.

Entrepreneurs of color statewide are encouraged to apply. Click here for full details and an application link. Business owners who would like to learn more about the program can also email

The C-DEE Accelerator partners will host a Community Gathering April 13 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Community Loan Fund, 7 Wall St., Concord, N.H. Entrepreneurs of color are invited to network, tell their stories, learn about the Accelerator partners, and strengthen their community. Preregistration is required.

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