Exceptional Magazine : 2011 Exceptional Magazine
ZEN Home Energy Systems / Cleantech category winner 15 Richard Turner built ZEN Home Energy Systems from a start-up to a market leader in just fve years, with 600% year-on-year self-funded growth. ZEN plans to reach, $100 million turnover by FY2011. Meet the 2010 Entrepreneur Of The Ye a r Cleantech category winner. The inspiration for ZEN Home Energy Systems came in 2006 when Turner's children were playing in their cubbyhouse as the sun was going down. Turner decided it would be a good idea to power a light and TV from a solar panel as there was no power at that end of the yard. Seeing a gap in the market, Turner spent six months researching, negotiating and identifying the key manufacturers around the world that would become ZEN's technology partners in producing the ZEN Home Energy System. Fro m the beginning, the offering was kept simple for the consumer, with fve packages designed around the average Australian home. Fo r example, a System 1 package powers a quarter of the average home, whereas a System 5 powers nearly an entire average-sized home. In 2008, ZEN pioneered the frst Solar Councils program in regional Victoria. The Entrepreneur Of The Ye a r National judging panel was impressed by Turner's success in growing ZEN from a start-up to a signifcant business in just fve years, as well as taking an off-the-shelf product and packaging and marketing it in a way that is more attractive to customers and differentiates ZEN from competitors. The power house "We have a unique product and our growth prospects are very good. The cost of electricity is going up, so the future is really in home energy." Richard Turner, ZEN Home Energy Systems The program was unique in providing long-term economic benefts to the region by establishing a locally managed ZEN business, training local electricians and plumbers, starting education programs in local schools and providing a career path for students into a new exciting business with the long-term objective of retaining youth in the region. This program was awarded the Municipal Association of Victoria's "Award of Excellence in Sustainability" and quickly expanded to New South Wales and South Australia. A serial entrepreneur, Turner has founded four successful companies across four different industries. Using this experience, he has taken ZEN through two years of 600% growth, building the company from a start-up into a proftable business that generated its frst signifcant proft in 2010. Turner plans to reach $100 million in turnover by FY2011 via brand development; escalating strategic partnerships with industry and local government; and the national rollout of ZEN retail stores, underpinned by a new ZEN Home Energy Sales Franchising System. Underlying this growth target is the South Australian Local Government Association's endorsement of ZEN as a partner in the Association's new Renewable Energy Pilot Program.
2012 Exceptional Magazine