Albany Center for Economic Success

Join the Community Loan Fund and ACES, your Capital Region hosts, for the SBA’s . . .

Capital Region InnovateHER 2017: Innovating for Women Business Challenge

The InnovateHER Challenge is a national prize competition aimed at spotlighting products and services that impact and empower the lives of women and their families. The Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region and the Albany Center for Economic Success are hosting the SBA’s Capital Region InnovateHER 2017 Challenge.

Qualifying businesses must have a product or service that: impacts the lives of women and families; fills a need in the marketplace; and, has the potential for commercialization.

We have 12 qualified applicants who will now present their business ideas to a panel of judges on Wednesday, May 31st beginning at 2:00 pm at the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley. Our judges for the Capital Region InnovateHER 2017 Challenge are Cindy Applebaum, President/Publisher of the Albany Business Review; Angela Beddoe, Publisher/Editor of HERLIFE Magazine; Fran O’Rourke, Capital Region Market Leader of KeyBank, our Sponsor; and Michael Yevoli, Capital Region Director for Empire State Development. The business pitches will be from 2:00 – 5:00 pm in the auditorium, and will be followed by a reception and announcement of the winner from 5:00 – 6:30 pm. This event is free and open to the public.

For a complete description of the Challenge, please click SBA Challenge Rules.

From the 13th applicants, one business will be chosen to represent the Capital Region in the national semi-final round. From there, ten winners will be selected to advance to the finals, where they will be invited to make a live marketing pitch to a panel of expert judges. The InnovateHER Final Challenge will be held in September. Finalists will compete for one of three cash prizes totaling $70,000.

For more information about the SBA Innovate Challenge, please click here. For more information about the Capital Region Challenge, please contact Destiny Watkins at (518) 436-8586 x802 or email Destiny Watkins

Special thanks to KeyBank for its generous support.

Local InnovateHer Press Release 2016 finalist

Past winners of the SBA National InnovateHER Challenge



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.