Cooking clean

| Print |  Email
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.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
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!
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
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
 

More Articles

Photo log: Murray's Pharmacy

The Latest
Friday, July 17, 2015
OBM-Heppner-Kaplan thumbBY JASON KAPLAN

Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner.  The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.


Read more...

Storyteller in Chief: Natural Prophets

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY SAM BLACKMAN

Storyteller-in-chief with the CEO and co-founder of Elemental Technologies.


Read more...

Grain Food

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Store and Restaurant.


Read more...

Money Troubles

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The state’s angel investing fund gets hammered in Salem.


Read more...

5 questions for ImpactFlow CEO Tyler Foreman

The Latest
Thursday, August 13, 2015
impactflowthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland-based startup ImpactFlow recently announced a $5.7 million funding round. CEO and co-founder Tyler Foreman talks about matching businesses with nonprofits, his time at Intel and the changing face of philanthropy.


Read more...

Aim High

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

We get the education we deserve.


Read more...

Up on the Roof

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction. 


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS