Project Everest

Unfair Advantage

[Unfair Advantage] : Fuel Fiji July 2019

Lean phase: Unfair Advantage

Aim: 

To develop an alternative cooking method which addresses issues relating to health, deforestation, cooking time, cost of fuel and smoke emissions. 

The Buka stove 4.0 was developed from an iteration of the rocket stove that was commonly used in Africa. The rocket stove retains heat and reduces smoke emissions. The Buka stove 4.0 uses firewood to retain the smoky flavour that the Fijian people love, whilst using less wood than traditional firewood cooking methods. Less firewood means a reduction in smoke and thus a reduction in cases of respiratory diseases. The retention of heat leads to an increase in efficiency and therefore a reduction in cooking time. This reduces exposure to smoke, thus reducing health hazards. In addition to this, the stove is a more cost effective method of cooking, as it uses wood instead of kerosene, therefore saving money, especially in the wet seasons. Furthermore, as a consequence of the stove using less wood, rates of deforestation are also reduced. 

Part 1

Internal comparison between project everest and competitors:

Name of company: Project Everest Ventures

Description: The aim of Project Everest is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase the efficiency of fuel use and heating, reduce living costs, and improve the health of the indegionous Fijian people.

Target Market: Fijian people, particularly women,  in Rural Villages.

Geographical area of operation: Rural villages around sigatoka village in Fiji. 

SWOT: 

  1. Strengths:

  • Retains cultural smokey flavour. This makes the Buka Stove an appealing cooking method for those who prefer firewood cooking over using gas or kerosene. 

  • No ongoing costs like kerosene, since firewood is free or cheap to buy. This is particularly appealing to those from lower income households. 

  • Legs on the stove are stable and easy to repair if damage occurs. 

  • Produces less smoke than traditional open fire cooking, thereby decreasing the risk of health issues such as itchy eyes and respiratory disease. 

  • Portable and lightweight.

  • Cooks food more quickly than open fire stoves, thus allowing the people that usually spend large amounts of time cooking, often women, to have more time during their day for other tasks or activities. 

2. Weaknesses:

  • It's possible for other companies to copy our design, therefore there is a threat of substitutes.

  • Rocket stoves are common globally.

  • Many Villagers are interested in larger stoves, to cater for larger families,     functions, or ceremonies. 

  • Cannot be used inside. 

3. Opportunities: 

  • Gives opportunities for university students to be involved in social enterprise, and help in life changing projects.

 

4. Threats:

  • Rocket stoves are threatening to the Buka stoves because the rocket stoves are made by locals and the project is run by the Fijian government. Therefore customers might be more inclined to support them than an Australian organisation such as PEV.

Link to website or facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/ProjectBuka/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

Price: $90 FJD

Unfair Advantage:

When attending villages, many villagers instantly shows expressions of interest in the stove. This is validated by the fact that over 61 stoves have been sold, with customers giving positive testimonials. Since the stove is manufactured in Fiji by Lincoln Refrigeration, sales of the stove also stimulate the Fijian economy. In addition to this, using idegenous Fijians and headman as sales agents increases our reputation and influence.

Size: Has sold over 61+ stoves in Fiji, sold to villages such as Nayawa, Keiyasi and Kabisi

Competitors in Fiji:

Name of Competitor company: Ministry of Women

Description: The Ministry of Women simultaneously aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions whilst providing communities with resources to produce rocket stoves from waste materials. People from these communities can then earn an income from selling these stoves.

Target Market: Female Coastal Villagers (problems with firewood collection due to erosion), Female rural villagers  (overcoming kerosene price increase)

Geographical area of operation:  Rural Villages in Fiji

SWOT: 

1. Strengths:

  • Since the Ministry of Women is a Government initiative, they have widespread reach. Furthermore, the organisation has support from the local community, as well as recognition from the UN. This illustrates that the Ministry of Women as a trustworthy organisation.  

  • Funding from the government gives the organisation more financial options. 

  • Positive media coverage from newspapers including FijiSun further emphasises the positive rapport the organisation has within the community it works with. 

  • Their rocket stove has been tested for the following: time to boil water, fuel used, CO2 emissions and thermal efficiency. By doing this, the organisation has validated the strengths of the stove. 

  • Their rocket stove appeals to those who spend large amounts of time cooking, as it is efficient and it requires less firewood compared to open fire cooking.

  • Distributes Calliandra, an alternative fuel source to firewood, in workshops to students and are subsidised by the government. Calliandra burns better in the rain than other fuel sources.

2. Weaknesses:

  • Villagers have to make the rocket stoves themselves. Therefore, it is a less convenient option compared to purchasing a ready-made stove. 

  • Since different women are producing the rocket stoves, there is an inconsistency in terms of the quality of stoves produced. As a consequence of this, The Ministry of Women’s reputation can be harmed if poor quality stoves are produced. 

  • The Ministry doesn’t have academic backing, whilst PEV projects receive feedback from academics in Australia

3. Opportunities: 

N/A

4. Threats:

  • Have applied for a $500,000 grant from United nations, which means there’s a risk of expansion and innovation investments. 

Price:

Na

Link to website or facebook page:

Unfair Advantage:

  • The Ministry of Women has a sustainable and long term form of value creation through customer co-production of the stoves. Value is created every time a customer produces a stove and resells it for a profit.

Size: Government initiative with widespread reach in Fiji with support from the local community

International Competitors:

Name of Competitor company:  Potential Energy

Description: Potential Energy aims to eliminate the economic burden of current cooking methods available to people in developing countries. In addition to this, the company aims to reduce deforestation and firewood collection, as well as the health risks produced from open fire pollution. The company seeks to achieve this through the production of a highly efficient wood-burning cook stove.

Target market:

  • Community members in developing countries (Female)

  • Refugees (female)

Geographical area of operation:

Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and India.

SWOT:

1. Strengths:

  • Parts are produced into flat-kits in india, which can then be shipped to any country at a low cost. Locals are then trained to assemble them. This method allows scaling and expansion into different markets.

  • The end user is incorporated in improvements in stove design and testing. By including users in this process, the company is building rapport with their target market.

  • Good quality control and product specification due to outsourcing from one plant in India. These quality control standards are implemented in their assembly station.

  • Stoves are thoroughly tested, thereby ensuring the quality of the product. 

  • Costs 15USD to manufacture a stove. By having cheap production costs, the company is able to produce more stoves at affordable prices. 

  • Consists of additional safety features (orange mesh).  

  • High efficiency of the stoves means that families spend less money on wood or fuel. 

2.  Weaknesses:

  • The company is in a precarious financial position, as it no longer receives funding from USAID. 

  • Relies heavily on word of mouth to advertise stove in developing countries. This is an inefficient marketing tactic which could inhibit awareness about the stove.   

3. Opportunities:

Na

4. Threats:

  • Possible expansion to Fiji.

Price:

http://www.potentialenergy.org/faq/#Q6

Link to website or facebook page:

http://www.potentialenergy.org/contact-us-2

Unfair Advantage:

  • Potential Energy has a highly efficient supply chain in India. Furthermore, the company has 10 years of experience innovating the stove with each iteration. In addition to this, the outsourced manufacturing process has allowed them to achieve economies of scale. 

  • The parts for the stove are delivered flat-packed from the factory from India and allow for easy assembly in-country. This allows for efficient expansion to various developing countries.

  • BRAC (savings group) conducts door to door sales on behalf of potential energy. Therefore, company employees don’t need to travel overseas in order to sell or advertise the stoves. 

Size: Over 270,000 sales in Sudan, also operates in Uganda but still small scale.

Name of Competitor company:  Lifeline 

Description:  Lifeline aims to reduce the air pollution generated by indoor cooking. They are currently producing two stove models to work towards this goal. The first model, named the EcoSmart Rural Wood Stove uses less wood compared to the traditional 3 stone fire cooking method. The second model, named the EcoSmart Charcoal Stove, is an alternative cooking method to traditional charcoal cooking methods. 

Target market: The company’s primary target market are areas with large refugee populations.  In addition to this, the Ecosmart rural wood stove is also marketed to women and girls in rural Uganda who are tasked with collecting firewood. Furthermore, the stove is targeted towards urban and peri-urban populations in Uganda who use charcoal as a main source of fuel. 

Geographical area of operation: Uganda and Kenya

SWOT:

  1. Strengths:

  • The Rural Wood Stove has passed global testing protocols by CREEC laboratories in Kampala. This could legitimise the company’s reputation as a trustworthy distributer of quality cooking methods. 

  • The stove sold in Uganda is certified for efficiency, safety, and durability by the German development agency GIZ. This also further bolsters the company’s legitimacy and trustworthiness. 

  • The Rural Wood Stove uses less wood than traditional  woodfire cooking. This strength would appeal to those who have to collect firewood often. 

  • Lifeline is in partnerships with companies such as Haiti D & E Green Enterprises.

2. Weaknesses: 

  • The company relies on donations and partnerships to function as a non-profit organisation. As a consequence of this, Lifeline’s status as a stable and long-term business model is questionable. 

3. Opportunities:

N/A

4. Threats

  • Possible expansion into Fiji

Price:

$2-$3 USD

Link to website or facebook page:

https://lifelinefund.org/uganda-stove-impact/

https://www.cleancookingalliance.org/partners/item/16/323

Unfair Advantage:

  • Lifeline has created new FES markets by building trust relationships, and brands based on customer feedback loops in targeted regions.

  • In Uganda, Lifeline is also certified to receive carbon credits.

Size: Lifeline has distributed over 50,000 household fuel efficient stoves to women displaced by violence or natural disasters in nations such as Somalia, Darfur, Burundi, Kenya, Haiti and northern Uganda

Name of competitor:  BURN-Kuniokoa Stove

Description: The aim of Burn is to manufacture and distribute clean and affordable gasifier stoves to rural Sub-saharan Africa. It has a manufacturing plant in Africa which ships worldwide.

Target Market: Women in rural East and sub-saharan Africa

Geographical area of operation: Uganda and East Africa

SWOT:

  1. Strengths:

  • According to tests conducted by the University of Washington, the Kurniokoa Stove is the most fuel efficient rocket stove ever tested by the University. 

  • Based on the research done by University Nairobi, the stove uses 31% less fuel and produces less low-power particulate matter 2.5 compared to current leading rocket stoves.

  • It has a lifespan of 3.5 years.

  • Has a 2 year warranty.

  • The US department of energy provided a million dollar grant that enabled a partnership between the University of Washington, Burn Design Lab and Burn Manufacturing Co.

  • Acumen and Unilever supported the commercial launch of Kunioka.

  • The company uses emotive marketing on their website. This is evidenced by the websites use of customer endorsement of the product. This is effective marketing for both potential customers and investors. 

  • Won the Ashden Clean Energy for Women and Girls Award. This benefits the company’s reputation as an organisation that creates products which benefit people and the environment. 

  • BURN’s Partnership with equity and M-Kopa bank allows for low income earners to obtain a payment plan of 40 cents per day to pay for the stove. This makes BURN’s products more financially achievable. 

 

2. Weakness: The $4650KSH price tag is equivalent to USD $45.13, which is equivalent to 9 days wages for people living in Sub-Saharan Africa.

3. Opportunities:

  • Partnerships with various high profile organisations such as the US Department of Energy, Acumen and Winrock builds recognition for the company whilst also providing financial assistance. 

4. Threats:

  • Worldwide commercialisation of BURN’s stoves pose a threat to the Fijian Buka stoves sold by PEV.

 

Link to website or facebook page:

https://burnstoves.com/

 

Price: $4650 KSH

Unfair Advantage:

  • BURN is the first cookstove company in the world to receive investments from the Acumen Fund, General Electric and the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation. 

  • BURN won the 2015 Ashden Clean Energy for Women and Girls Award. This illustrates that the work done by the company has been validated by outside organisations. 

  • BURN’s partnerships with large companies such as Acumen, OPIC, Winrock, EEP and US department of energy. 

Size: The company has sold 543,112 stoves and created 407 jobs. In the future, BURN endeavours to provide a range of super fuel efficient stoves for over 2 billion people in sub-saharan Africa by 2050.

Name of competitor: African Clean Energy- ACE1

Description: African clean energy (ACE) is a social enterprise which manufactures and distributes an ACE 1 Energy System (a cooking stove) for off-grid households in developing countries. ACE aims to replace three stone fires and inefficient basic stoves with the ACE 1 cooking stoves. 

Target Market: 

The primary target market for the ACE 1 Energy System are off-grid households in developing countries. This mostly applies to women and children who deal with inefficient cooking methods. However, the company also targets individuals in the developed world who use the stove for camping, backyard cooking or emergency situations. 

Geographical area of operation: Africa (Cambodia, Kenya, Laos, Peoples Democratic Republic, Lesotho, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia) and Southeast Asia.

SWOT:

  1. Strength:

  • Has high scalability as evidenced by the amount of countries it operates in within Africa. 

  • By sending parts and tools to the target country for assembly, the company saves in logistic costs. 

  • Assembly of the product can be finished in local production lines, thereby providing employment opportunities for people in developing countries. This also builds rapport with the company’s target market. 

  • The product’s 1 year warranty ensures trust in the product and the company. 

  • Widespread media coverage increases visibility of the company and their product. 

  • Eliminates smoke completely by gasifying the fuel, which creates a smokeless burn. This eliminates health risks produced from using firewood. 

  • Works on multiple fuel sources including waste biomass. This illustrates the versatility of the product. 

  • The company appeals to those from lower income backgrounds, as it uses micro-lending for increased for affordability

  • Doubles as a power source by having a solar panel, DC connector and USB port is attached for items like small fans and usb device charger. This illustrates that the product caters towards basic cooking concerns whilst also being modern and innovative.  

2. Weakness

3. Opportunities:

  • ACE wants to grow their tech platform through the android market, this is done via combining salesforce ( a software used to connect customers and the company) and android together. Therefore the company is currently looking for an android developer. 

  • ACE wants to grow their marketing team through advertisements on social media. The company is targeting customers in Lesotho, Cambodia and Uganda in particular. In addition to this, ACE is looking for a marketing officer to join the three current marketing officers.

  • ACE wants to grow their operations sector. As a consequence of this, the opportunity to become an operations assistant is available. This assistant would be in charge of microfinance management, global supply chain logistics and office administration. 

4. Threats:

  • The cooking stove also doubles as a power source which would be an attractive proposition if they decide to expand to Fiji.

Link to website or facebook page:

https://africancleanenergy.com/about/

Price: 

$100 USD+

Unfair Advantage:

  • ACE offers a high end product that eliminates smoke as a by-product, thus improving the health of users. It is also accessible to potential buyers since they use an in-house sales team who travel to communities and demonstrates the functions of the stove in an informal setting. It is also more affordable due to having a micro financing program. 

  • The company also has media coverage, allowing it to reach a wider audience. 

Size:

  • ACE is headquartered in Amsterdam, with their flagship factory in Lesotho. ACE has a 100+ full time employees active in Lesotho, Cambodia and Uganda. ACE distributes directly to Lesotho, Cambodia and Uganda.

  • The company employs sales agents to travel to communities in an informal setting. Furthermore, ACE uses an online software to set up contracts and loans on the spot and perform data collection. 

Name of competitor: Envirofit international

Description:  Envirofit International is a social enterprise that uses smart energy and services to improve lives on a global scale. Envirofit uses a market-based approach to develop a product line of cooking technologies that aim to cook more quickly than traditional methods. This reduces fuel use, as well as smoke and toxic emissions.

Target Market: 8 million people living in energy poverty.

Geographical area of operation:

Map of the area of operations in Figure 1. 

SWOT:

1.Strength:

  • Has numerous years of engagement with the developing countries in which they operate. Their most recent operation is in Honduras, which has been in operation since 2011. By having long-term relationships within the countries they operate, Envirofit builds a trusting relationship with their target market.

  • Envirofit international claims that their product reduces fuel use by 60%. The company also claims that their product reduces greenhouse gases by 60% and toxic emissions by 80%.

  • Has over 1.6 million stove sales. This validates that there is demand for the product. 

  • Uses the SMAART thinking model for adoption, affordability and access. Following this model allows for better organisation of the company. Furthermore, this model allows for an easy fix if there is a problem in certain sections of the company.

2. Weakness

  • Stove priced at $109 USD may be too high for those living in poverty.

3. Opportunities:

  • Partners up with local businesses which leads to greater scale of distribution.

  • Interested in expanding to Asia.

4. Threats

  • Since they are interested in expanding in Asia, they may be interested in Fiji as a target market in the future. 

Link to website or facebook page:

https://envirofit.org/

Unfair Advantage:

  • Uses a SMAART business model for adoption, access and affordability.

  • Uses impact monitoring which allows them to iterate their stoves. 

  • Partnerships with local communities allows for a greater reach. 

  • High quality and aesthetically pleasing stove, makes it easier to sell. 

  • Online advertisement creates an accessible profile for the company. 

  • Recognition through awards: https://envirofit.org/media/#recognition

  • GIIRS impact rated 5 stars https://envirofit.org/

  • Offers emissions credits to rich countries. 

Size: Developed in 2003, the company is based out of Colorado and operates in East and West Africa, India and Latin America. Envirofit has sold over 1.6 million stoves and created over 3840 jobs in America and internationally.

Name of Competitor: Inyenyeri

Description:  Inyenyeri’s objective is to eliminate death and disease caused by the emissions produced from cooking in Rwandan households. The Mimi Moto Stove allows for clean cooking in villages. The company makes money by either selling the stove or providing a stove to customers who agree to purchase the biomass fuel pellets for the stove.

Target Market:  Women and girls who are in charge of cooking in the Villages or urban areas of Rwanda

Geographical area of operation: Rwanda

SWOT:

1.Strengths:

  • Provides stoves for free to customers who agree to buy their fuel pellets. This is appealing to those from lower income households. 

  • The option to lease stoves (USD $7 per year) may appeal to those looking to test the stove for its suitability to their lifestyle. 

  • The stove is the world's ‘cleanest biomass cookstove’. It is also durable, portable and has an adjustable flame. The title of the world’s ‘cleanest burning biomass cookstoves’ suggests that the company is concerned for the well-being of it's customers and the environment. 

  • Because it is a for profit organisation, it does not rely on investors. This means that the organisation is self-sustainable. 

  • The stove produces 98% less toxic emissions such as GHG, than traditional cooking methods. In addition to this, it is a fan gasifying stove powered by solar panels.

  • Provides pellets in exchange for biomass in rural villages. 

  • 6 month money back guarantee, with free replacement delivery, repairs and training. This increases trust in the company.

2. Weakness:

  • Has limited scalability and only operates in Rwanda. Consequently, the company has limited itself in terms of the impact it can make. 

  • To produce the fuel pellets they sell for the stove, they rely on rural villages supplying them the biomass.

  • Leasing the stoves may also cause damage to the stove for the next customer.

3. Opportunities:

4.Threats:

  • Unlikely to pose any threat to the Buka stove due to small scalability

Link to website or FB page:

https://www.inyenyeri.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Inyenyeri/

Price:

  • The rural customers bring biomass to hubs where they receive fuel pellets in return. The biomass is then used as feedstock for the fuel pellets. 

  • The fuel pellets are then sold to customers, who are provided with a stove as long as they agree to purchase fuel pellets.

  • Leases for stoves are at $7 USD a year

  • outright purchase is $50 USD

Unfair advantage:

  • They have a range of partners such as Mulago, World Bank Group and the Ikea foundation, which provides support in the form of funding or greater reach.

  • Is considered the cleanest burning biomass cookstove reducing biomass use by 90%.

Size: 

  • Inyenyeri has grown to almost 150 employees in six locations across two countries. The list of locations include Ginsenyi operations, Kabire Hub, Pellet plant, Nyabihu hub, Mukamira shop, Rurembo Hub, Kigeme Refugee camp, Kigali office and the Berkeley office. 

Part 2:

External analysis done by customers:

Assumption: 

Project everest is better than our top three competitors: Ministry of Women, Envirofit and BURN-Kuniokoa Stove.

Reason: 

Project Everest is a social enterprise company, meaning that it is self sustaining, unlike the Ministry of Women, which is a not for profit organisation. In addition, PEV works exclusively in two countries (Fiji and East Timor) for sustainable fuel solutions. This allows PEV to put most of its resources into making the most effective sustainable fuel stoves, catered to the Fijians and East Timorese. PEV also takes pride in empathising with its customers in order to create long-term, positive relationships. Furthermore, by iterating their stoves, the product is always evolving in order to meet specific needs as suggested by the customers. This includes using firewood to retain the smokey flavour Fijians love. In addition to this, the Buka stoves are locally manufactured by Lincoln Refrigeration using recycled refrigerator tanks. This allows for stimulation of the Fijian economy whilst ensuring that the Buka Stove is environmentally sustainable. PEV also provides further employment opportunities by employing local Fijians as sales agents for the stove. Through this, the company is stimulating the local economy whilst also enabling autonomy. 

Evidence:

Testimonials of customers of the Buka Stove:

“Aesthetical, can use firewood and can be brought for picnics”- Sarvita Ram

“It uses firewood cooking which retains the smokey flavour”- Nasoni

“It is easy to cook with”-Dan

“It's Portable”-Satish Singh

“It's useful during the wet season and is easy to use”-Leon Mosese

Evidenced by the spreadsheet under “What do you like about the stove”:

Number of sales:

96 stoves have been sold in Fiji since the establishment of the Fuel project in 2017. This illustrates that the stove is well suited for the product market and is continuously adapting to suit customer requirements. 

Sales Agents:

Project Everest has recruited previous customers and community members in Fiji to work as sales agents. A workshop was held to train these sales agents, with the aim to better equip them with the necessary knowledge about the Buka stoves, PEV and potential customers. This is evidenced by the attendance and the sales agent workshop itinerary.

Local manufacturing:

The December 2018 Fuel team obtained a business license and an MOU with Lincoln Refrigeration Limited to locally produce the stove from recycled refrigerators. Lincoln Refrigeration Limited produces both the Buka 4.0 and the Buka Dragon. The Buka Dragon is currently not being sold. 

Next move:

  • Future Fuel Teams should follow up on the amount of sales of the Buka Stoves made through sales agents. Collect testimonials from customers who purchased the stoves through sales agents in order to validate that Fijians find this an effect system for purchasing the stoves.

  • Update the stove production requirements to account for the interest generated between July 2019 and December 2019.

Eugenia Muñoz 6 months ago

Status label added: Unfair Advantage

Reply 0

Kristen Stewart 5 months ago

Vous n'avez pas à vous sacrifier pour rester au frais lorsque vous conduisez en été. Ces vestes de moto vous garderont en sécurité et au frais.

Reply 0