One Man’s Ambition

When Daniel Gehrken started GreaseCycle in 2009, it was just an oil and grease collection business. In 2013, Gehrken used a $180,000 loan from our Natural Capital Investment Fund to expand operations by purchasing equipment and constructing a 1,750 square foot, full-service grease trap waste processing facility. The new facility recycles grease trap waste into marketable brown grease, as well as refining used cooking oil collected from restaurants into a higher value product. GreaseCycle has also increased its staff to six full-time employees—with health benefits and paid time off—and three part-time employees.

Why This Project Matters

We believe that small businesses like GreaseCycle breed innovation and are vital to the communities they serve. But new entrepreneurs can encounter difficulty when working with traditional lending institutions unwilling to take risks. Our Natural Capital Investment Fund helps grow emerging natural resource-based businesses in economically distressed rural communities until they can access traditional sources of financing.

About NCIF’s Financial Services:

Investments are structured in a variety of ways, based on transaction and borrower need, with loan amounts up to $500,000. We specialize in:

  • Capital that leverages traditional debt from banks and other collateral-based lenders.
  • Loans for growing companies in economically distressed communities, especially promising ventures led by socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs.
  • Working capital to grow sales through increased inventory, marketing campaigns, or broker contracts.
  • Financing for fixed assets, such as technology, equipment and real estate.