Albany, NY- The Community Loan Fund is proud to announce that we are launching a first of its kind “Financial Wellness Program” aimed to assist low-income entrepreneurs as they seek financial options for their start-up businesses. The program will consist of up to six (6) months of intensive credit counseling to clients at low cost and provide additional financial education courses to assist entrepreneurs with addressing credit and budgeting issues. Funding for this new initiative is provided by Empire State Development (ESD) as part of their CDFI Access to Financial Services program.

This program specifically aims to assist entrepreneurs currently in business or looking to start their business within the next year. To qualify for the program, participants must have a written business plan dated within the last year for new start-up businesses or one dated within the last three years for active businesses. Once registered, participants will attend a series of workshops hosted by local experts in their field regarding topics such as personal budgets, debt repayment options, and financial education. In addition to this, qualifying participants will receive three (3) complimentary hours of QuickBooks training. All classes will be held via remote means to encourage participation in our outlying counties.

“The Community Loan Fund remains committed to leveling the playing field when it comes to starting your own business.” said Linda MacFarlane, Executive Director of the Community Loan Fund.

“Our staff is repeatedly told by prospective borrowers or training clients that their dreams of owning their own business and building generational wealth for their families is not possible due to past credit issues or previous budgeting errors. Our new Financial Wellness Program will combat this issue head-on and continue to break down decade old barriers for low-income entrepreneurs.”

Destiny Watkins, Director of Training & Technical Assistance for the Loan Fund said:

“Over the past few years and predominately since the pandemic, we have seen more clients come to us with questions about maintaining finances for their business or simply being unsure about how to start if they have previous financial troubles. We are very grateful to our partners and sponsors of the program for allowing the Community Loan Fund to tackle this issue.”

One of the many subject matter experts for this program, Wealth Phenom Founder and Owner Nishaea Richardson said:

“Having a healthy relationship with money translates to having a healthy overall well-being! Whether it is emotionally, physically, spiritually or mentally, our finances play a major role in our lives. Entrepreneurs who have control over their finances are setting themselves up for long-term success in business and in life. I am confident this course will allow them to do so.”

Any interested participants are asked to email Destiny Watkins at to set up a consultation.