transition of aspiration

April 18, 2023
Faiza Farah

Alum Talks: Featuring Riasat Zaman

Meet Riasat Zaman, the co-founder of EcoVia, one of the winners of BYLC Ventures Cohort 1. EcoVia, a clean-tech startup specializing in compostable packaging solutions, uses unique and revolutionary technology utilizing clothing waste. This groundbreaking solution does not only contribute to reducing plastic pollution but also ensures the optimum reuse of clothing waste. Through their innovation, EcoVia is ensuring that packaging should be part of a circular, where the materials created return safely to nature.

In a conversation with BYLC’s Faiza Farah, Riasat shared his insights on his motivation for environmental activism, the importance of acting on climate change and adapting a sustainable lifestyle, and progress in eco-friendly businesses.

What motivated you to design a sustainable product?

When I was a child, my father used to take me to his work seminars on environmental projects. As a kid, the topics did not interest me much, but as I grew older, I started to realize the importance of climate action and sustainable choices. The more I learned, the more I felt compelled to take action to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our planet.
As I pursued my education and worked on my thesis, I found myself at a crossroads, trying to figure out my career path. After countless hours of brainstorming, I finally decided to merge my passion for environmental preservation with my career aspirations. I wanted to create something that would make a difference, and that's how the idea of EcoVia was born.

It wasn't an easy journey, but I was driven by my passion and determination to create a sustainable product that could make a positive impact. And now looking back at all the hard work, it feels incredibly fulfilling to have started a company that is dedicated to promoting sustainable living and preserving our planet for future generations. It shows that with perseverance, passion, and a little bit of creativity, we can all make a difference in the world.

What kind of resistance did you face when you started working on EcoVia?

Starting Ecovia was an incredibly challenging journey. When I first shared my vision for a sustainable business with those around me, I was met with skepticism and doubt. Even those closest to me questioned the value of my idea, suggesting that I take a more traditional career path instead.
I believed in my mission to reduce carbon footprints and promote eco-friendly packaging, and I refused to give up on my dream. Despite facing countless obstacles and personal struggles, I remained dedicated to my vision, pouring every ounce of my energy into making it a reality.
Over time, I saw a gradual shift in people's attitudes towards sustainability. As awareness grew, so did the support for EcoVia. It was a long and difficult journey, but through my struggles, I learned that sometimes the most important thing is to stay true to yourself and your passion, even when it feels like the world is against you.

How important is this year’s theme for Earth Day—Invest in Our Planet—in the current context?

It is now or never—there is no going back. Our planet is in danger and it faces numerous environmental challenges, including climate change, deforestation, pollution, and loss of biodiversity which have significant implications for our economy, society, and overall well-being. By investing in our planet, we can create a more sustainable and equitable future for the next generations.

At this stage, we can address not only environmental challenges but also invest in new economic opportunities, such as the creation of green jobs and the development of sustainable technologies. This can help to build a more resilient and prosperous future for all.

What would you advise the youth planning to work for the environment and sustainability?

Willpower is key if you want to opt for a career that is out of the norm. With our persistence and determination, EcoVia overcame the market gaps. We are grateful to BYLC Ventures Bootcamp for helping us understand the market gap, product marketing, and, most importantly, people management. My advice for the youth who are willing to work for climate action would be to participate in incubation programs like BYLC Ventures Bootcamp to bring impactful changes to our planet.

Since the world is constantly evolving, it’s high time to establish a sustainable business. Impact investors are eager to make their way into the Bangladeshi market to develop and aid sustainable businesses. Aspiring young entrepreneurs should polish their skills through incubation programs and utilize these opportunities.

What are the small ways we can invest in our planet on a day-to-day basis?

A sustainable lifestyle is something you need to adapt gradually; the transformation will not happen overnight. At present, there is plenty of awareness about climate change. People worldwide are protesting and demonstrating their concerns about an uncertain existence. This planet is our home, and we are standing on the brink of falling into an immutable state. Now is the time to act responsibly.