NCIF funds and assists eco-friendly businesses that create good employment in Central Appalachian and Southeastern low-wealth communities. Since 2001, NCIF has successfully put to work over $3.4 M of subordinated debt and equity in 36 sustainable businesses, creating or retaining over 245 jobs, and leveraging $18 M from traditional lenders and investors. Industries targeted include heritage and eco-tourism, value-added and sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, sustainable forest products, and recycling and natural medicines.
NCIF provides loans, subordinated debt, and equity investments to start-up and expansion-stage natural resource-based businesses. NCIF also supports projects that promote sustainable development and have a positive impact on human health and the natural environment.
- Loan and Investment Program - Subordinated debt and equity ($5,000 to $250,000) for high-potential, emerging businesses in NCIF's sectors. NCIF targets enterprises unable to obtain sufficient conventional financing that have the potential to diversify rural economies and create or retain living wage jobs. With its "patient" capital, the Fund helps traditional lenders reduce their risk while incentivizing companies to meet specific environmental goals. Portfolio companies must meet all existing local, state and federal environmental regulatory requirements and adopt industry-specific best management practices.
- Targeted Technical Assistance - NCIF
provides intensive assistance to businesses in two areas:
- NCIF's deep sector expertise helps businesses tailor their operations, products and services, and infrastructure to reach markets profitably
- NCIF helps businesses get their financial house in order to support their growth. Such technical assistance helps leverage additional bank financing for start-up and expanding businesses and is central to NCIF's mission of providing gap financing to rural entrepreneurs.
NCIF's target client is a start-up or expansion-stage business in rural, low wealth communities in North Carolina, northeast Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia that promotes sustainable development through its products or services and cannot obtain capital through traditional sources. Targeted sectors include: value-added, natural and organic food products, natural medicines, non-traditional and sustainable agriculture; sustainable forestry, forest products and green building; heritage and recreation-based tourism; renewable energy, recycling, and energy efficiency. By supporting the growth of environmentally-friendly businesses, NCIF seeks to generate quality employment for rural and urban families through the sustainable use of natural resources.
NCIF pursues triple bottom-line (social, environmental and economic) objectives. It focuses on wealth creation through building entrepreneurial capacity in target communities. As a result, 70% of NCIF's portfolio represents young companies (less than 5 yrs old) that require significant, ongoing help to grow sales and operate sustainably. As of 6/30/09, NCIF has invested or committed over $3.4 Mil in debt and equity investments to 36 companies and leveraged over $18.2 Mil in additional financing. These investments have created or retained over 245 jobs; with the addition of 50 to 75 more positions forecast over the next 2 to 3 years.
When the out-of-state owners of the Richwood sawmill decided to sell off their holdings in Central Appalachia as part of a corporate restructuring program, they could not find a buyer and simply shut down the mill. Bill and Sharon Glasscock had been working at that mill for over 10 years.
Working with the Small Business Development Center and the local bank, they were able to raise sufficient capital to purchase the mill. But in order to close the deal, they needed to find a source of working capital for day-to-day operations of their new business.
NCIF provided a solution to the Glasscock’s financial predicament. NCIF provided $50,000 in subordinated debt for permanent working capital, thus allowing them to purchase logs and cover miscellaneous start-up costs.
Laurel Creek Hardwoods purchases a large quantity of logs from local, well-managed forestlands. In addition, the reopening of the mill saved 23 jobs and since then has generated more employment opportunities. Full Story