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Articles - Nov/Dec 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012

 

BY LINDA BAKER

1112 Launch EcoZoom
Ben West, CEO of EcoZoom
// Photo by Sierra Breshears

Ben West was working for a trucking company in Tennessee, “getting good raises and good bonuses,” when he realized the work wasn’t making him feel good about what he was doing. So the 32-year-old Portland native decided to get an MBA from the University of Oregon, where he met a business professor on the board of Aprovecho, a nonprofit that designs efficient cookstoves for use in developing countries. Aprovecho needed help with commercialization, so in 2011 West decided to launch EcoZoom, a startup that works to distribute such cookstoves around the world. About half the world’s population works over an open flame, causing health and environmental problems, West says. EcoZoom contracts with a manufacturer in China to build wood- and charcoal-burning stoves that reduce emissions and smoke exposure, then sells the stoves to companies, government agencies and aid organizations. EcoZoom also sells the stoves for camping and outdoor use. So far EcoZoom has sold about 68,000 stoves for $1.9 million. “We thought we would build a foundation,” says West. “Instead, we’re doing our best to fill orders.” The company’s long-term goal is to create sustainable, for-profit supply chains in developing countries, but that will be an uphill battle. “Coke took 12 years to get profitable in Africa,” West observes.

COMPANY: EcoZoom

PRODUCT: Clean-burning stoves

CEO: Ben West

HEADQUARTERS: Portland

LAUNCHED: 2011

AT A GLANCE: Raised $40,000 from founders and family members. Secured a $50,000 loan from Mercy Corps. Currently raising $750,000. Five full-time employees, including a former director of supply relations and quality at Boeing. “He’s kind of our product czar.”

GOOD WORKS: EcoZoom is one of the 33 Oregon BCorps, businesses that have been certified as socially and environmentally responsible. “It demonstrates to people that we’re serious about being a positive business,” says West. “For our customer base, it’s important to show we’re holding ourselves to a higher standard.”

 

Comments   

 
Guest
-4 #1 KenyanGuest 2012-11-28 23:26:33
These stoves are a stain on the development industry. Ecozoom is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to quality and they ARE the problem. Ecozoom (and particularly Ben) capitalize on the global poor by selling them substandard products that disentegrate quickly. Do a little more research and you would find that Ecozoom is not welcome throughout much of the world because of their poor business practices.
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Guest
+2 #2 Ben WestGuest 2012-12-07 19:26:13
Hi Kenyan - Sorry to hear that you feel so badly about our products. We have done several third party reviews of the stoves with distribution organizations in Kenya and in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It would be great to talk with you sometime about your concerns and generate a good solution. My email address in and is also on our website - www.ecozoomstove.com

All the best!
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Guest
0 #3 interested clientGuest 2014-02-21 05:44:34
Good morning.

My name is Lucy from Mombasa Kenya. I am interested in your product,
especially the charcoal stove. however i wish to know where you are
located in mombasa and how i can get this product.
Hope to hear from you soon.

Lucy Chebet
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #4 CEOGuest 2014-02-24 04:09:24
Quoting Guest:
Good morning.

My name is Lucy from Mombasa Kenya. I am interested in your product,
especially the charcoal stove. however i wish to know where you are
located in mombasa and how i can get this product.
Hope to hear from you soon.

Lucy Chebet



Hi Lucy!

It would be great if you could reach out to Kevin in our team. +254 726 550 112, or let me know your number and we can contact you.

All the best!
Quote | Report to administrator
 

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