“For me, it is very hard to answer a question “What do you do for a living?” If I started to talk about bee farms – I would be a beekeeper, if about the business – a businessman and if I finally told about aviation – I would be an aviator. So I just simply answer – I am a creator. “ – that’s how a conversation with a young social innovator Darius Bruzgulis begins. As he describes himself, he has been a creator since childhood, when reading encyclopedias and finding out how various devices are working was nothing but an entertainment. Because of his curiosity, he has always had a need to dismantle old toys or other devices just in order to put them back together again. So here we have the case about how practical experience and curiosity are important in developing a change-maker’s spirit from the early age.
When Darius grew up a little bit, his interest in this kind of “projects” became even stronger. Indeed, he needed to express his potential somehow and that’s how an idea about constructing a one-seateraircraft came to his mind. Why an aircraft, you may ask? Darius says, that it was a long time ago when he felt a passion for aviation for the first time. So as a result, he wanted to build his own aircraft. Darius started his project at the age of 16 and in that time he realized how precise and devoted you must be in order to build something like this. After couple of years, after his first trying, he needed to start his project all over again – this time he collected some money and was ready to be more precise than ever using already developed constructing methods. As a result of hard working, at the age of 20, Darius could be proud about his first achievement – he finally built an open frame ultralight aircraft.
Even more, he found out about his potential as an entrepreneur while still being at school. He got a unique opportunity to participate in a project called “Business Class Flight” and formed his team immediately. With a help from some mentors, Darius and his team started to develop an idea – an innovative repair of cracks. At that time there were no analogues of this idea in the whole world. And it was very successful – their team managed to build a strong basics of business idea but it also required to invest a lot of efforts and time. There were no proper conditions to work on further development so the team decided to stop. After couple of years, they found out that the exact same idea was being developed by scientists. That’s a coincidence, right? Darius claims that he immediately recognized their own idea but it was too late to be angry. Honestly, it was more like a positive recognition, so Darius just felt proud of himself.
Right now, this young innovator is working on textile recycling project “Nordic Hive Insulation”. The idea was born in “Futurepreneurs” acceleration when a group of totally strangers was formed in order to solve textile recycling question. Darius states, that “Even though we are living in 21st century, we still have no solution how to recycle huge amounts of textile in the most effective way”. The team decided to start making various accessories from upcycled textile but later on they were advised to concentrate just on one type of product – upcycled bracelets and name tag bands. As Darius tells, “at this point, we just stopped. To be honest to ourselves, we understood that pulling few kilos of textile and making these green-labeled stripes ecologically would be just a drop in the ocean. So now we found our way in the beekeeping business. Winter is the hardest season for beekeepers. The major role in winter preparation is played by proper heat insulation. As an amateur beekeeper, I use well known and reliable technique just to stack huge pile of clothes on the hive top. Now we just connecting few dots, by putting textile in a simple pillow. As a filament, we use high quality textile scraps from sewing factories. And the final product is a simple and effective insulation solution. It weights around 8 kilos witch is good for beekeepers. We also provide significant impact for textile recycling for example if we make 3000 of pillows it would require one shipping container of textile scraps. And the “green“ label is not our main value proposition for a customer. We just sell a best insulation solution for our region beekeepers”.
So, as you can see, Darius eventually has found a way of how to connect all his hobbies into one big project. When we asked about his future plans, he said: “When a pilot ends his theoretical course, he gets a logbook where he can fill in how time he has spent in flight simulator. As soon as he spends enough time, he is able to pilot a real plane. Right now by developing projects and participating in various events, I am collecting my own flight hours in order to do and create what I love the most”.
written by Ieva Tilindyte, European Social Entrepreneurship and Innovative Studies Institute
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- Interview with Darius