Our Purpose: We exist to reduce poverty and improve quality of life for low-income families in developing world communities by providing products and services that address critical needs. We combine the efficiency and effectiveness of a business with the compassion and mission of a non-profit.
Growth Finance Needed: Please contact Impact Marketplace for more information
To date, Paradigm Project has:
Supported economic advancement of women who: make up 90%+ of Kenya sales staff, were previously unemployed or underemployed, earn nearly double the national minimum wage
Created 58 full-time local jobs in Kenya and Ethiopia
Sold over 160,000 units saving families nearly $19 million in fuel costs and 28 million hours of time gathering fuel
Actively contributed to achieving 8 United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals
Dramatically improved the health, income, productive time, and local environments of roughly 650,000 people
Paradigm Project was created in 2009 after more than 25 years imagining and praying for the opportunity to use commercial gifts and experiences to create deep and large-scale improvements in the livelihoods of the poor.
Paradigm Project began selling clean cookstoves in Kenya in 2010. To date, they have sold more than 160,000 cookstoves to low-income customers, helping transition households from inefficient and highly toxic open fires to clean-burning biomass cookstoves. Since its inception, Paradigm has evolved its clean energy product offering to include solar lights and, most recently, a proprietary lean manufacturing process for its wood-burning EzyStove that can be rapidly and inexpensively deployed in local contexts.
In 2014, Paradigm relaunched its Kenya business as EzyLife Kenya, a direct-to-consumer sales company that builds last-mile distribution networks, selling its clean energy products through trained and branded ‘EzyAgents,’ 92% of whom are women. Paradigm works directly with rural women’s groups to promote and finance a growing catalog of clean energy and other household products. To date, Paradigm has financed over $500,000 in energy products for low-income Kenyans.
2012: Bloomberg/Business Week named Paradigm “America’s Most Promising Social Enterprise”;
2013: Awarded one of the United Nation’s 20 “Lighthouse Projects” in the world;
2012 – 2016: one of B Corp’s “Best for the World”;
2017: Direct-to-consumer loan portfolio in Kenya exceeds $500K; PTD: 33 Members; business funded almost entirely with private debt and equity, often from faith-oriented founders of private equity firms.
In Kenya, Paradigm exclusively markets its products directly to end consumers through highly trained sales representatives, called “EzyAgents.”. EzyAgents serve as customers’ single point of contact for sales, training and warranty support. The company does not engage in above the line marketing but rather works directly with community groups to expand the reach of its products through word of mouth. Paradigm’s target audience is rural and peri-urban families, particularly women. Within this population, demand for Paradigm’s products is strong, but low-income customers often cannot afford to pay in a single installment. Paradigm’s consumer credit program was created to solve this affordability challenge. Currently, 90% of all Paradigm’s sales in Kenya are made on credit.
In Ethiopia, Paradigm serves as a manufacturer and wholesaler of low-cost, high-quality wood cookstoves. Since Ethiopia is a relatively underserved market, Paradigm’s primary objective is to catalyze demand through increased consumer awareness of the benefits of clean cookstoves. This is accomplished through drama-based community events, which are both educational and entertaining.
Paradigm’s Kenya business operates an “open architecture” platform for energy saving devices. The current product mix includes clean cookstoves, solar lights, and water tanks. Beyond making sales, EzyAgents are trained to gather information about consumer demand, product preferences, and unmet household needs. This near real-time feedback loop enables Paradigm to continuously evolve its product offering to meet the needs of its target market. Based on market feedback, Paradigm is currently evaluating LPG stoves and renewable fuel briquettes.
In Ethiopia, Paradigm’s sole product is a wood-burning cookstove called the“EzyStove.” This stove is produced locally using Paradigm’s proprietary lean manufacturing process, resulting in a low cost, high-quality cookstove that retails for less than $25. The EzyStove is sold to almost exclusively rural BOP families and promoted in collaboration with local and regional government officials.
Manufacturing and Distribution:
At Paradigm, we take a lean approach to manufacturing and supply of products.
In Kenya, Paradigm distributes cook stoves supplied by local manufacturers. This flexibility of product offering enables us to quickly respond to inflation, supply issues, and changing customer demands. Sales and distribution are accomplished through highly trained sales agents, called EzyAgents, who work with women’s groups to demonstrate clean energy products, make sales, and provide warranty support. Paradigm recruits EzyAgents from local communities, relying on its 4-month training and mentorship program to produce a high-caliber sales team. Paradigm’s strong internal training program enables consideration of all candidates, irrespective of work experience or educational background. In addition, corporate policies that support gender equality, such as flexible work schedules for expectant mothers, create an environment where both women and men can thrive.
In Ethiopia, Paradigm imports pre-fabricated materials that are shaped and assembled locally. These stoves are typically supplied directly to Paradigm’s retail and government partners. Paradigm supports these partners by deploying event teams to assist with catalyzing market demand and provide training to end users.
In Kenya, while the market for clean cookstoves and solar lights is relatively advanced, these distributors are primarily focused on urban areas and networks of customers accessed through financial institutions. In contrast, Paradigm’s EzyAgent model penetrates deeply into rural areas and offers to finance to customers who are not members of the formal financial sector and have not previously received loans. In Ethiopia, Paradigm is the first company to offer a high-quality manufactured stove. While some organizations are producing local stoves, the quality of the EzyStove has helped Paradigm stand out in the market and forge partnerships with government and non-profit organizations. As Paradigm continues to grow its distribution business in East Africa, its unique EzyAgent model will allow it to expand into new and untapped markets, often reaching those who are left behind due to their inability to afford high-quality products and their distance from urban centers.
Please contact the Impact Marketplace team for more information on Paradigm Project financials
Please contact the Impact Marketplace team for more information on Paradigm Project expansion Plans
- Materially improve the lives, opportunities, and health of more than 1,000,000 people, with a path to impacting millions more.
- Be sustainably operating in Kenya and Ethiopia, well established and growing in Uganda, and planning expansion to at least one other East African country.
- To expand the scope of livelihood impacts through the distribution of new products tailored to meet the needs of our customers.
Become part of their mission today by investing through your impact account.