MERIDEN — Hugo Aceves has been working with concrete for over 30 years.

He left his household farm in San Juanito Escobedo in Mexico and moved to Wallingford in 1992, ultimately beginning his personal enterprise — Solo Concrete LLC — in 2011, situated at 210 Elm St. in Meriden.

Working with concrete is a troublesome job, Aceves stated, however a well-paid one. A cement flooring dries in two hours in 90 diploma warmth, which suggests a restricted, anxious time to work, particularly on scorching days. 

“If I make a mistake or one thing goes fallacious, a peak or a measure or one thing, it prices me some huge cash as a result of you’ll be able to’t do something as soon as cement hardens,” he stated in his native Spanish.

Aceves got here to the USA when he was 16. After dropping out of highschool, he began working as an apprentice at a concrete firm. He ultimately turned a laborer, crew chief and foreman, he stated.

Whereas attempting to develop his enterprise, Aceves was denied a mortgage to safe a location. Nevertheless, an acquaintance related him to the Group Financial Growth Fund, which is a Meriden-based Group Growth Monetary Establishment, which helped him safe an owner-occupied industrial mortgage in early 2020.

Like Aceves, many small enterprise homeowners in low-income areas have hassle securing loans from conventional monetary establishments, usually turning to establishments like CEDF for help and help. 

“I believe most banks would like to assist numerous companies, particularly Latino, Latina and Hispanic companies, however their palms are tied to a sure diploma by getting the compliance or regulation,” defined CEDF President and CEO Jim Bzdyra. 

Nationwide, there are over 1,000 licensed CDFIs. Like banks, CDFIs are private-sector suppliers of monetary providers. Nevertheless, not like banks, their important mission is neighborhood growth, and these establishments can apply for restricted federal funds allotted by means of a aggressive course of.

Latinos and CEDF

In 2021, a federal fund awarded CEDF with over  $1 million, principally for a speedy response program after the COVID-19 pandemic. The establishment, primarily based out of Meriden, works with Meriden enterprise homeowners and invests in companies statewide in over 53 focused funding communities. 

Despite the fact that ethnicity isn’t a facet of figuring out whether or not a neighborhood is economically deprived, Bzydra defined a lot of his Latino shoppers dwell in these communities. 

For individuals who don’t dwell in these communities, Bzydra stated the fund helped debtors who met an annual household revenue ceiling of $112,000 or much less. 

Based mostly on revenue alone, most Latinos within the state could be eligible as they have an inclination to earn under the revenue threshold. Accorging to estimates from Knowledge USA – which is an internet software created by MIT and Deloitte to make public information extra accessible – since 2013 the common family revenue in Connecticut is $63,000. Yearly, Hispanic households earned about $48,000, whereas white households earned about $79,000 in Connecticut. 

Lending and schooling providers

Richard Vidal, director of lending at CEDF, stated small companies stabilize and strengthen their native neighborhoods and usually tend to rent native residents and keep in Connecticut.

Vidal is bilingual and has Peruvian heritage. He defined that many Latinos are comfy talking English, however tough authorized and monetary language is perhaps obstacles for small enterprise homeowners. Consequently, he stated the fund offers bilingual help providers for Spanish-speaking shoppers and may also join their shoppers with advisory and schooling providers, even when they don’t get a mortgage.

“My expertise right here working with the Latino neighborhood, [is] simply getting them to know that whether or not we do a mortgage or not, our function is to get you to a greater place,” Vidal stated.

Because the son of a Latino enterprise proprietor, Vidal defined that many Latinos don’t wish to tackle debt. Nevertheless, he defined that some money owed are strategic to assist the enterprise develop. 

“Educating the Hispanic neighborhood on how one can borrow correctly, how one can handle their funds, could be very time consuming and it requires a degree of communication that you need to set up from the start,” he stated.

Mentoring corporations

Bzydra added that the corporate connects debtors with an advisor that follows up with the proprietor all through the lifetime of the mortgage, and in some instances, even after the mortgage is paid again. CEDF can join enterprise homeowners with different professionals like accountants, attorneys, payroll corporations and insurance coverage brokers.

“In lots of instances, we are going to spend three, six, 9 months for the primary time a mortgage applicant approaches us, working with them, teaching them, mentoring them,” he stated

Meriden Financial Growth Director Joseph F. Feest referred to as the fund “excellent.”

“They assist individuals,” he stated. “It is good that we now have them, as a result of they’re on the town and folks can head there in particular person and see what they’re signing.”

After beginning his firm, Aceves remembers he struggled with delayed funds from clients and never realizing how he was going to make payroll. Regardless of the challenges, he nonetheless likes working with concrete.

“I by no means cease studying and I like issues made out of concrete. If it weren’t for concrete, we wouldn’t have the comforts we now have immediately in world infrastructure,” he stated. 

Aceves related with the fund in 2019 and was accredited in early 2020. He stated CEDF helped him safe an owner-occupied industrial mortgage to retailer the equipment from the concrete enterprise.

“They helped me quite a bit to get the credit score and get forward,” he stated. “For authorized issues, there’s nothing like having issues defined to you in Spanish.”

Aceves stated he was capable of put down $60,000 to safe a $232,000 mortgage with an rate of interest of about 8.2% which ends up in a month-to-month cost of $2,032. Regardless of considerations a few latest hike in Meriden property taxes raised to $19,000 from $6,000, Aceves stated securing the mortgage was helpful to his enterprise.

“I’ve sufficient house for much less cash,” he stated. “The funds I’m making are for me; I’m not giving freely my lease.”

CEDF is situated at 965 E Principal St, Meriden. For extra info, go to or name (203) 235-2333., Twitter: @lguzm_n 

Latino Communities Reporter Lau Guzmán is a corps member with Report for America, a nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms. Help RFA reporters on the Document-Journal by means of a donation at, To study extra about RFA, go to


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