Countering Plastic Pollution

Naimuz Saadat

After getting admitted to BUP I had the privilege of getting introduced to a bunch of amazing people, and Rashik Hassan is one of them. He is a cofounder of EcoWraps and drummer of Eternal Armageddon. He shared his journey with us.

  1. A Musician or an Entrepreneur – which one do you prefer as a prefix to your name? 

I have always pictured entrepreneurs as real heroes. Just imagine being able to create jobs for people. Consequently, helping a hundred families to pay their bills, bringing smiles on the faces of such families can be the best impact I can ever leave behind. So, the answer is right here, entrepreneur it is.

2. How do you manage time for all your involvements? 

Our generation is engrossed with social media and tends to spend innumerable hours doing nothing. I am no exception to that, but I try to optimize my time as much I can. I maintain a diary where I note down the tasks and appointments of the arriving week. It helps me keep track of the various obligations for the coming days. Different engagements often crash and sometimes you need to pick one over the other. I had to abandon countless concerts due to having commitments with my start-up, business competitions, and research work. Being committed to numerous activities is tough but not impossible. 

3. Since when do you play drums and how have you pursued this passion to play for a band like Eternal Armageddon? Tell us a bit about the journey . 

I started playing drums back when I was in class 9. I was simply a curious student who spent 4 to 6 hours practicing each day. Drumming was all I had back then. As a teenager there was nothing more interesting to me. 

My mentor referred me to Eternal Armageddon, which was already a well-established band at that time, with an international fan base, and was looking for a new drummer in the year 2013. I was young but I managed to impress the founders of Eternal Armageddon in my auditions and now the band is no less than family to me. I have made some best memories of my life with my band.

4. How did EcoWraps happen?  

I will begin with a few introductory words about EcoWraps. It is a biodegradable plastic manufacturing brand working to combat plastic pollution by providing environmentally friendly alternatives. The key raw material of our product is cotton-based fabric scraps that are discarded from the RMG industries of Bangladesh. Our concept including the process is unique which is scheduled to be patented.  The company was formed in January 2020 and is a part of BYLC Ventures’ accelerator program. At present, the project is at its pilot phase, received seed fund, and preparing the venture to be able to receive bigger investment in the near future.

EcoWraps happened from the grit of three individuals working as a team. I and my cousin Riasat have always been interested to come up with something innovative since we were children. We used to discuss various ideas for hours. We came up with several eco-friendly products earlier but then decided to work specifically to combat plastic pollution. I got to know Ashfaq Bhai in 2018 during my first year of BUP. He was another man taken by innovative ideas.  I put the three of us together in one place, made a team and within a very short time the chemistry of our team happened to grow very strong. We began to brainstorm, attend several competitions, and develop new products. We once came up with the idea of making bioplastic from fish scale, but it was not anything new. The sourcing of fish scales seemed very costly too. At the same time, being a textile engineer, Riasat was having his research going on with pre-consumer apparel wastages and proposed to make cellulosic bioplastic from cotton-based garments wastages. As the raw material is abundant and has a well-established selling network, we agreed on it and started our work. That’s how EcoWraps was born and we are the first one to make bioplastic from cotton fabric scraps. 

5. Where do you see EcoWraps 5 years from now? 

Since the world is now embracing eco-friendly products, five years will be adequate to kick-start EcoWraps. I hope to turn over a good revenue and introduce new product lines over the next 5 years too.  

6. You and your team have won several entrepreneurship based competitions with EcoWraps. How was the experience and what one should look for or be aware of before entering the field?

Well, we have started pitching for EcoWraps from December 2019. Before that, we had worked on some other ideas and won a few competitions with those as well. It is like a never-ending learning experience and still going on. After every pitch and discussion, we learned something new and discovered new strategies or problems regarding our business model. We ran from company to company to clear out our assumptions and improved ourselves gradually. 

Now, before entering this area of competitions or investment pitching one should be well aware of what one is doing. All the assumptions and doubts must be cleared out by exploring real-world business scenarios and investigating potential stakeholders. 

A business idea must solve a problem, and the problem must be felt by the people whom the business aims to serve. But before the idea comes ‘The Team’. This is the most important factor which all the investors look for. The team must be capable of pulling off the idea with the people and other resources it has.

Another factor is sustainability. The business model has to be sustainable with a product/service that might serve the people for a long time. It must not harm the environment, social or cultural values. Lastly, any investor would want an increase in the monetary value of the investment they put in this the business has to be scalable as well. These are the basic things to be kept in mind.

7. Any piece of advice to youth regarding how they can be more vigilant in attaining success or the dreams they want to achieve?

I think I am too young to share sufficient advice. But I surely can share what works for me towards chasing my dreams.

(i) We all want to see ourselves in a certain position after some years, right? That’s what we call vision or dreams. I would recommend you to start working for your visions without any further delay, it will never come off unless you work for it.

(ii) Never wait for opportunities to come towards to, instead you look for them and pursuit them.

(iii) Failure is something that we all have to face, the light of success can never be seen without going through a series of failures. But that isn’t the end, that’s where a new chapter starts every time. I personally believe that I have become stronger after each failure I had in my life. Hence, try to learn from your failures and bounce back with stronger willpower. 

(iv) We have commonly heard about ambition, resilience, courage, commitment, passion, etc. are needed to be successful in our life but sometimes these are not enough in front of an immense obstacle but the greed and hunger for success can make hundreds of new paths towards it. Grow positive greed for your goals and bear in mind that every step you take must be ethical. 

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