Roots in Appalachia and Environmental Stewardship

Natural Capital Investment Fund is a small business loan fund that supports entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and  businesses in underserved communities in central Appalachia and the Southeast. By providing flexible capital and advisory services to small businesses, agricultural enterprises and community organizations, we catalyze environmentally and socially responsible business development and wealth creation in rural, minority and low-wealth communities.

Throughout our region, unemployment and underemployment—and the poverty and social ills that result—remain a fact of life for many, as traditional industries—coal, timber, textiles, furniture and tobacco—have declined or moved off shore. We focus on locally owned triple-bottom-line (TBL) small to mid sized businesses because they employ and build wealth for entrepreneurs and their families, are committed to their community, and operate in concert with the environment. 
  

History

NCIF was founded in 2000 by The Conservation Fund, in partnership with the West Virginia Small Business Development Center and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The goal was to address the lack of access to capital for small businesses and farms that sought to grow while being responsible stewards of natural resources. 

In 2001, NCIF was certified by the U.S. Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a mission to create employment in underserved communities by supporting borrowers unable to meet the credit standards of traditional financial institutions becaue of perceived credit risk. NCIF served 38 West Virginia counties until 2004, when we became the first statewide small business lender. 
  
In 2007, we expanded our services to North Carolina and Virginia with support from the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. Over the past decade, we have expanded our lending and technical assistance services to a nine state region  spanning central Appalachia and the Southeast.

We are structured as a nonprofit business loan fund and remain a leading TBL practitioner among CDFIs. 

Attention history majors!  For a year-by-year NCIF history, see our 2015 Impact Report!