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|Articles - Nov/Dec 2012|
|Monday, November 05, 2012|
BY LINDA BAKER
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.
PRODUCT: Clean-burning stoves
CEO: Ben West
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.”
Friday, June 27, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER
Over the last several months we have seen a wave of cross-border acquisitions, primarily U.S.-based companies looking to purchase non-U.S.-based companies. There are a few reasons for this, but the main culprit is the U.S. corporate tax system. The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR
Dress for Success Oregon promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Oregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER
Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.
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