SmartHome Cooking Competition at Energy Week 2014

SmartHome awarded the Best Cook Award on the Ezy Stove at Energy Week!

On Monday and Tuesday three women cooked on the Ezy Stove, for the first time in their life!                                                   All of them enjoyed cooking on the Ezy Stove. They shared their experiences with us:

- “It really saves a lot of firewood, only very little wood is needed!”                                                                                                 - “Cooking on the Ezy Stove is so fast. Cooking a big saucepan of Katogo only took 40 minutes!”                                          - “There was no smoke while cooking!”    

The SmartHome team was very pleased with the positive, genuine feedback.

To determine the winner of Best Cook Award, visitors and exhibitors were invited to taste the food and vote whose Katogo (Matooke and peanut sauce) they liked best. People were gathered around the SmartHome tent, eager to taste the food cooked on the Ezy Stove. All of them were amazed by the great taste of the food:

- “From where did you  hire these women? Are they from a catering service?”                                                                              – “Are these women chefs? Are they experts in cooking?”

But none of these women were professional cooks. Each of them are students studying subjects such as business or social science, but not cooking.

The positive feedback of the food tasters demonstrated that the Ezy Stove not only reduces firewood use, time and smoke, but also that food cooked on the Ezy Stove, tastes amazing!

SmartHome at Energy Week

 

 

 

SmartHome cooking competition

 

 

 

 

Participants enjoy cooking on Ezy Stove

 

 

 

Competition winner enjoying cooking on Ezy Stove

 

 

 

Happy food tasters receiving great tasting Katogo cooked on Ezy Stove

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Cook Award ceremony

 

 

Best Cook winner s awarded SmartHome Stove

 

 

 

 

 

SmartHome is presenting at Energy Week – until Saturday, September 13 – come and visit us!

Ezy stove makes Ugandan farm workers dance

With the support of CEED, farmers from Ugandan Gold Coffee received our Ezy stoves.

With CEED’s support, UpEnergy is able to preserve the environment and protect farmers since the Ezy stove consumes 50% less firewood, reduces smoke by 50% and even cooks faster.

Upon receiving the Ezy stoves, the farm workers spontaneously expressed their happiness and gratitude by dancing and singing (see video link below).

Click here:  Ugandan Farm Workers’ Happy Dance  

 

 

 

 

 

Watching this reaction makes us really happy!

 

New energy-efficient product: SmartHome Stove

UpEnergy recently partnered with Green Bio Energy to create its first branded, Uganda-manufactured cookstove called the SmartHome Stove.

The SmartHome Stove represents high quality design and construction sets UpEnergy on a path to champion cookstoves that are inspired by sophisticated imported technology but manufactured locally to reduce cost to the customer. Retailing at just $11, we believe that the SmartHome Stove represents the best value for money of any charcoal cookstove currently in the Ugandan market.

The SmartHome Stove has been met with widespread success with more than 1,000 units produced and sold within the last four months.

Thanks to innovations in the stove design, the new stove model is 11% more thermally efficient than most clay stoves used by charcoal users in Uganda and 7% more efficient than the next best energy-efficient stove currently in the market. (Research based on CREEC’s 2014 stove testing findings.)

SmartHome Stove

Welcome!

The UpEnergy team grows constantly:

  • in April we welcomed our new Brand Associate Lisa Ruetgers
  • in May our team was reinforced by our Sales Manager Moses Amone and our Business Analyst David Buyinza
  • in June Andrew Nabende joined the team as Inventory Manager

 

New innovative ideas are realized and implemented by our highly motivated team.  We are looking forward to an exciting prosperous second half of the year!

 

from left to right: Moses, Lisa, David, Andrew

 

Empowering micro-entrepreneurs

UpEnergy in partnership with KIVA has once again teamed up to provide micro-entrepreneurs with interest free micro-loans, to enable them create their own businesses.

In July 3 new loans were funded by KIVA lenders, enabling 3 highly motivated micro-entrepreneurs to create their own businesses.

Angellah a fifty year old mother of five and a community leader who sells SmartHome cookstoves so she can be able to pay for her kids’ school fees, is one of the beneficiaries of this loan facility. Having dropped out of school due to a lack of money when she was a girl, she is aware of the essential importance of education.  Angellah also aims to empower the women in her community and improve their wellbeing. By using the energy-efficient stove, their financial situation as well as their health is improving.

In a similar development, Michael and David are now growing their own businesses, selling SmartHome products successfully. Both of them are highly motivated business men, with ample experience working with energy-efficient cooking stoves. The biggest benefit of working with UpEnergy for them, is the ability to become successful micro-entrepreneurs and to help to protect the environment with their business. Deforestation is a big issue in Uganda, and by distributing energy-efficient products, UpEnergy and its micro-entrepreneurs are saving the environment and reducing emissions, thus mitigating climate change.

 

UpEnergy protects tea farmers

UpEnergy is partnering with tea factories, as these companies aim to protect the environment and the lives of tea growers. SmartHome energy-efficient clean cook stoves help to reduce deforestation and to diminish dangerous smoke from traditional cooking practices.

Most of the Tea Factories partnering with UpEnergy are located in Western Uganda and they currently include:

  • McleodRussel, one of the largest Tea companies in the world
  • Igara Growers Tea Factory, a member of Uganda Tea Development
  • Kayonza Growers Tea Factory, also a member of Uganda Tea Development

 

The acquisition of these stoves is mainly made possible through International donor funding and partnerships with the tea estates, which enable tea farmers, pluckers and factory workers to access energy-efficient clean cook stoves and products.

As of today UpEnergy has distributed over 300 stoves to members of the Igara Growers Tea Factory with energy-efficient cooking stoves, thus improving the health of more than 1,000 people and saving more than 1,660 trees per year. UpEnergy is also looking to grow this distribution network, as negotiations are currently ongoing with a number of different leading local tea estates and factories.

 

UpEnergy Among Fast Company’s “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Africa” for 2014

The UpEnergy team is honored and humbled to be among Fast Company’s  Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Africa for 2014.

UpEnergy shares the list with many other inspiring organizations and our congratulations go out to everyone that was nominated in this category. Many thanks to our supporters, partners and customers without whom we could not continue to deliver high-quality, clean energy technology in Uganda.

According to Fast Company, UpEnergy was selected

For making it safer to cook in rural Africa. Millions of people in rural Uganda are still using inefficient and dangerous means of cooking, like three-stone fires and kerosene. UpEnergy has set out to both protect the environment and people by supporting distribution channels that benefit both large businesses (through carbon credits) and local retailers (through direct sales support and guidance) to make available safer, greener, and more efficient cookstoves, water purification technologies, and solar lights.”

For more on this year’s rankings, see the article on Fast Company here.

 

 

 

UpEnergy’s Erik Wurster Quoted in Boston.com Article

Erik Wurster, CEO of UpEnergy, was recently quoted in a Boston.com article entitled “Clean cookstoves: fighting climate change, saving lives.

The article discusses the huge demand for clean cookstoves, estimating that 3 billion people worldwide still cook on traditional open fires causing nearly 4 million deaths annually through illness and injury. The  article goes on to discuss the many benefits of clean cooking technologies, particularly to young girls and women who are disproportionately impacted by the effects of cooking on traditional three-stone fires.

“Erik Wurster, who calls Boston home, is the CEO of UpEnergy, which finances, builds, and supports distribution channels for clean cookstove projects. “If one’s goal is to improve public health, the environment, and poverty among the world’s poorest people, it’s hard to overlook improved cookstoves as the most cost effective and efficient way to address each of these issues simultaneously,” he said.

“About half of humanity cooks with dangerous, polluting, and expensive technology, yet cleaner burning cookstoves exist and can be exceedingly affordable even to the poorest households if one leverages innovative financial mechanisms,” said Wurster.”

UpEnergy Interviewed by Balancing Act Africa

Mark Mutaahi and Sylvain Romieu of UpEnergy were recently interviewed by Russel Southwood of Balancing Act Africa. Balancing Act Africa provides consultancy services around the telecom, broadcast and Internet sectors as well as a team of researchers that can assist customers with data relating to the African market.

Smart Monkey TV  is Balancing Act’s web TV channel and one thread of its coverage is energy in Africa.

More details here.

You can view the UpEnergy interview here.

UpEnergy Receives Significant New Investment

UpEnergy Group is excited to announce the sale of a minority stake in the company to a group of well-aligned investors. The raise has resulted in significant new financing that will bolster UpEnergy’s existing efforts to deliver life-changing technologies to under-served communities in the developing world.

The group of investors include the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd (Finnfund), a Finnish development finance company, and Richard Lawrence, a US-based investor with a long-standing commitment to the improved cookstove sector and founder of Proyecto Mirador, a Gold Standard fuel-efficient stove project in Honduras.

Several previous investors in the company, including Climate Wedge, a Finland/US-based environmental sector seed-investor and investment advisory firm, reiterated their commitment to UpEnergy by also participating in this funding round.

The investment will enable UpEnergy to capitalize upon a strong foundation of growth and sustainability impact since its founding in 2011. To date, UpEnergy has impacted the lives of over 125,000 Ugandans through the sale of over 23,000 high-efficiency cookstoves. These technologies save 4 hours per day per household in cooking and fuel collection time. The environmental impact is significant with 30,000 tons of CO2 emissions avoided and 120,000 trees saved thus far.

The Board and Management team would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in making this raise a success:

  • To our new investors for their confidence in our ability to create value and to make meaningful change

  • To our incredible team in Uganda for rising to the challenge to accomplish more with fewer resources

  • To our partners for their unwavering support and patience during this process

  • To our mentors for their guidance and encouragement

 

The team is energized and ready to take on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in 2014. We look forward to working with all of our partners to bring affordable, high quality clean technologies to the developing world.

Full press release: UpEnergy Series A Press Release