Our vision is a world without dangerous cooksmoke.
Our mission is to enable clean cooking and sustainable energy for all.
ACE is a family-owned private company, aimed at providing off-grid household energy solutions to people in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in the developing world. Founded in Lesotho by Father and son team Stephen and Ruben Walker in 2011 the company now operates in Lesotho, Cambodia, Uganda and the Netherlands.
ACE’s Core Principles
ACE’s corporate identity is based on four core principles which differentiate us from our competitors. These pillars provide us with a competitive advantage in our markets, as well as allowing us to provide a deeper, more sustained impact in the developing world.
Respect for Consumers
The conventional wisdom among development actors has been that people in the developing world are unwilling or unable to pay for high quality products. We believe that this approach is damaging, and has led to a proliferation of low cost, low impact products being donated to people in the developing world. ACE takes a different position; we believe in treating consumers in the developing world like we would treat any other consumers, and as such we are committed to ensuring our product offerings are of the highest quality the market can offer. By focusing on the demands of the consumer ACE are able to run a sustainable business while also facilitating bottom-up participatory development. Our mission is to always be accountable to our customers first, acting as a catalyst for the sustainable development objectives they wish to pursue.
Providing Access to All
Our success in our home market of Lesotho demonstrates that there is a willingness to pay for advanced energy products if the right access to finance is made available. In Lesotho ACE distributes the ACE 1 through in-house sales teams, who travel to remote areas of the country to demonstrate the product and facilitate microfinance loans for customers via KIVA. Selling the product in this manner allows us to access rural markets which would be inaccessible through traditional distribution strategies.This is just one example of an innovative sales model which helps to bridge the gap between customers’ aspiration and their reach. We are committed to facilitating access to finance in all of our markets, and we will continue to innovate alongside MFIs and mobile money partners to ensure that our products can reach as many people as possible.
Developing Long-term Customer Relationships
Our high-touch sales approach serves to increase the number of customer touch-points, bridging the communication gap between manufacturer and end user. This means that we are able to forge stronger links with our customers: we can offer superior warranty and repair services, receive feedback from users, and collect data which may be used to improve future ACE products. Taking our customers’ feedback seriously has additional reputational benefits: we want the ACE brand to be seen as a mark of quality and business ethics, and the most direct method to achieve this aim is to reassure our customers that we will support them over the long term.
Accountability and Transparency
ACE are committed to sharing as much of our data as possible, without jeopardising the anonymity of our customers. We believe that by sharing our data, experiences and insights we can help to start conversations that need to be had in the sector. We have begun this process by providing the results of our baseline customer surveys in Lesotho (see Data), which will be continuously updated as more data becomes available. ACE are also committed to publishing independent performance test results (see Technology), taking full responsibility for the performance of our products.
ACE’s flagship factory is based in Maseru, Lesotho, where Manufacturing Director Stephen Walker manages 54 local manufacturing staff. ACE’s global office is run by the company’s small Amsterdam-based team. Judith Walker is responsible for managing the operations and supply chain management team, while Ruben Walker is responsible for the business development team.