We recently profiled EcoScraps, a social business that turns old food waste into incredibly nutrient-rich fertilizer. Shortly after, we had the chance to interview their co-founder and CEO, Daniel Blake. In the answers below he shares the EcoScraps story as well as his personal motivation for joining the social enterprise sector -- and his secrets for staying motivated as an entrepreneur.
4 Questions with Daniel Blake, Co-Founder and CEO of EcoScraps
1. How did the idea for the business model come about?
In Provo, Utah there is a restaurant (Magleby's Fresh) that is pretty well-known for its all-you-can-eat french toast breakfast. After eating there with my brother one morning, I was amazed at the amount of food being thrown away by me and other customers. Coming from an entrepreneurial background, I became intrigued by the idea of converting food waste into a marketable product. I thought that if I could get my raw materials at no cost, my margins would be fantastic.
2. How did you decide to join this sector?
Growing up, my family had a garden that we took care of together, so I was familiar with the idea of composting food scraps. Naturally, I geared my initial research toward composting the food scraps of others. I did a lot of leg-work on my own: dumpster diving, blending different combinations of wasted food, testing results, etc. When I found that I could make a premium compost mix that added value to consumers, the environment, and the business, I decided to really invest myself into EcoScraps.
3. How do you get your inspiration?
I try to surround myself with the right people, people who help me see things from a different perspective. Our discussions in the office often lead the company to explore opportunities that alone I may not have considered. To me, that's a form of inspiration.
4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
I really like to cook. I'm not a gourmet chef (yet, I'm working on it), but I like experimenting with different recipes and inventing my own dishes. I've been at it for several months now, and I'm getting a lot better. For me, cooking is relaxing. It's a good way to get my mind off of all of the stresses involved with starting a business.