New York Business Development funds unique ideas with support from Praxis

Community development investing |

Loans, advice and more empower small businesses in New York

New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) provides loans to small businesses in the state of New York who might not otherwise be able to get financing. NYBDC is dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs, particularly women and minority individuals, with the resources they need to start and maintain successful businesses. By supporting these small enterprises, NYBDC is helping create jobs and economic development across the state.

Since NYBDC was founded, it has provided financial assistance to hundreds of small businesses in the state, many of which could not have obtained support from more traditional lenders. NYBDC has eight offices in New York to allow every aspiring entrepreneur access to its services.

Lucky’s real tomatoes lucks out with a loan from NYBDC
Lucky’s Real Tomatoes is a Brooklyn-based company that grows and sells fresh tomatoes to restaurants and retailers throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Run by “Lucky” Lee and her brother, Alan Marcelli, the family business was thriving until the company’s warehouse was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, and they lost everything. 


Lucky's Tomatoes

"We had to throw out everything and start new," Lee said. Because many of the tomatoes were grown in warmer climates and shipped in, the company was able to continue their distribution, but they still desperately needed capital in order to repair the warehouse and return operations to normal.

New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) was impressed with the company’s long and successful history, as well as their ability to continue distributing in the midst of a crisis. They provided Lucky’s with a $25,000 loan to aid in their recovery efforts.

Since then, Lucky’s Real Tomatoes has come back in full force. The year after Sandy, business improved by 15%, and not a single worker was laid off. To this day, Lucky’s remains a provider for some of the most prestigious restaurants in New York City and beyond.

"When something like Sandy happens, you're reeling," she said. "It wasn't just that NYBDC came through with the money. We felt like we had an amazing partner through all of this."

Exotic Pets throughout New York get the specialized care they need
Dr. Laura Wade always loved animals, but her favorites were more unusual than most. While other kids wanted puppies or kittens, Laura found herself much more drawn to gerbils and ferrets, and later in her life, birds. When she went to vet school, she decided that she wanted to provide treatment specifically for these less-popular pets that many vets were uncomfortable treating. 

Dr. Laura Wade

Dr. Laura Wade

When it came time to open up her own practice, though, Laura found herself overwhelmed with both finding the capital to build the facility and navigating the complex legalities of the process. She wanted to build the practice on the same three acres of land that her home was on, which put her in a confusing gray area between paying a residential or commercial mortgage.

New York Business Development Corporation helped Laura understand the situation and use the equity from her property as part of the equity for the business, which was declared a 504 project. Then, they provided Laura with a loan of $156,000 with which she could begin to build the facility and start her practice.

Today, her practice is thriving. It is the only veterinarian office in Western New York that exclusively cares for exotic pets, and they have been highly in demand. Thanks to NYBDC, not only has Laura been able to live her childhood dream, but thousands of pets have also received quality medical care that they would not have received elsewhere.

The Praxis commitment
Praxis Mutual Funds® supports organizations such as NYBDC through investments in Calvert Impact Capital, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1% of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments.

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Author Kristin Troyer

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Foreside Financial Services, LLC and the Praxis Mutual Funds are not affiliated with Calvert Impact Capital.

No Praxis Mutual Funds hold positions within any of the companies mentioned in this piece as of Sept. 30, 2020. However, all Praxis Mutual Funds invest in community development investing through Calvert Impact Capital, which provides development financing to companies mentioned in this article and others.

Fund holdings are subject to change. To obtain holdings as of the most previous quarter, visit