Albany Center for Economic Success



In early 2010, the nonprofit Albany Center for Economic Success (ACES) was reorganized as a subsidiary of the Community Loan Fund with the support of the Charitable Venture Foundation and guidance from the New York Council of Nonprofits (f/k/a the Council of Community Services). This reorganization has enabled both ACES and the Community Loan Fund to better meet the growing needs of micro and social entrepreneurs in the Capital Region, streamline operations and reduce overhead costs.

The technical assistance programs of the two organizations have been consolidated, with the Community Loan Fund now managing the small business programs as well as the small business incubator and community development facility located at 255 Orange Street, in Albany’s Sheridan Hollow neighborhood.

Community Realty, a social purpose real estate brokerage, is helping to manage the facility. ACES’ mission remains unchanged: to promote successful ownership of sustainable businesses among people of color, women and low-income individuals by providing technical assistance and incubator services. See Who We Are for a listing of the ACES Board of Directors.

Winner Declared in Local 2016 InnovateHer Business Challenge
Tidy Tots Diapers chosen to represent the Capital Region in the National SBA Challenge

ACES is pleased to announce that Sandra Beck, Owner of Tidy Tots Diapers, LLC is the Capital Region winner of the 2016 InnovateHer:  Innovating for Women Business Challenge.  This SBA competition is designed to discover products and services that impact and empower the lives of women and families.

“ACES is honored to be the Capital Region host of the SBA’s InnovateHER contest and to showcase some of the local businesses that are having a positive impact on women and their families,” said Linda MacFarlane, Executive Director.  “All three of our semifinalists are already providing value in the Capital Region.  In addition to meeting the SBA’s InnovateHER Criteria most closely, our finalist, Tidy Tots, has a national presence and could have a major influence on the diaper industry.”

Tidy Tots Diapers’ key product is a patented, hassle-free cloth diapering system that includes covers, Hemp blend No Fold Diapers, Boosters and flushable cornstarch liners called Flushies. Tidy Tots Diapers’ unique snap design allows the diaper to be resized to fit babies and toddlers of all sizes while remaining ick free, rash free and leak free.

Ms. Beck was selected by a panel of judges comprised of small business experts, including:  Hon. Dorcey Applyrs, Albany Common Council Member, Ward 1; Dr. Robin Berenson, Associate Dean of Business at Excelsior College; Prof. Paul Miesing, Founding Director of Center for Advancement and Understanding of Social Enterprises (CAUSE) at the School of Business at the University at Albany; Janet Tanguay, Entrepreneurship Manager for the Capital Region Chamber; and Linda MacFarlane, Executive Director of the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region.

Hon. Dorcey Applyrs stated “Sandra Beck is a model entrepreneur for emerging innovators.  Her passion, business acumen, wit and energy will serve Tidy Tots well as this business continues to grow.  Sandra’s innovative idea has transformed a quality product that is environmentally friendly and addresses the needs of mothers everywhere.”

“I never thought I would be chosen as the winner.  I am excited about doing more for the environment, babies and families,” said Sandra Beck. Sandra will advance to the semi-final round of the challenge and today her name will be submitted to the SBA.  Ten finalists from local competitions throughout the U.S. will be chosen by the SBA. Each finalist will then be offered the opportunity to participate in the InnovateHER Final Challenge to be held on March 17, 2016 in the Washington, D.C. metro area where they will make a live marketing pitch to a panel of expert judges selected from the private sector. The panel of judges will select the three finalists whose pitches, in their sole judgment, best satisfy the Challenge criteria and present the greatest potential for success and rank them in descending order.

Cash prizes totaling $70,000 provided by Microsoft, will be awarded to the three highest-rated contestants in the final round of the Challenge in the following amounts: 1st Place – $40,000; 2nd Place – $20,000 and 3rd Place – $10,000.

Robyn Scotland, Eco Baby Daycare, LLC and Kimberly Deso, Inspiritus, LLC were semi-finalists in the ACES InnovateHER challenge. Eco Baby Daycare, LLC, provides holistic childcare services in an environment that is eco-friendly and focused on the “whole” child.  Currently, Eco Baby Daycare, LLC is the only non-home based holistic certified daycare provider in the Capital Region.  Kimberly Deso, Owner of Inspiritus, LLC shared her business goal of providing innovate therapy techniques and counseling to individuals who are experiencing difficult challenges in life.