John-Paul Maxfield is one of the new faces of entrepreneurship in Colorado, a state with
more than half-million microenterprises. John-Paul’s business idea was basic and bold—bring ecology and economics together to make money from the waste that others toss aside to provide farmers with cost-effective and environmentally responsible organic fertilizer options.
With not much more than a great idea, a bit of savings and boundless entrepreneurial passion, John-Paul launched an innovative business, Waste Farmers, which turns food waste and other organic material from restaurants, hotels, schools, and the agricultural sector in the Denver metro area into a valuable, nutrient rich product. The aim is to reduce businesses’ waste removal costs while providing Waste Farmers with the raw material to produce organic soil and fertilizers to sell, as well as to use to grow organic produce to sell back to customers and local markets.
“Accion gave me the opportunity to pursue the American Dream.”
John Paul’s business idea quickly took root. He needed a recycling truck to gather the large amounts of organic waste from his growing client base. John-Paul approached area banks for a loan, but his then 9-month old business did not have the necessary financial history.
The Denver Chamber of Commerce put him in touch with Accion. Accion provided John-Paul with a loan to finance the truck, now known as Bertha. Bertha runs on biodiesel made from used cooking oil from Waste Farmers’ restaurant clients and the truck has facilitated tremendous growth for the business of nearly 40 percent during 2010. Now the owner of a business that supports six jobs, John Paul says Accion’s belief in his ability to succeed gave him “an opportunity to pursue the American Dream.”