Lithuanian Entrepreneur Vladas Lašas believes that society should be the primary beneficiary of his business ventures, credentials fit for a President.
Ambition, innovation, inspiration: these are not the kind of buzz words I would typically associate with a politician. But every so often, a candidate arrives on the scene with the potential to truly shakeup the political establishment. Enter serial-entrepreneur, lecturer and freedom fighter Vladas Lašas.
This is election year in Lithuania, and Vladas is aiming to run as a candidate.
Vladas is not your run-of-the-mill businessman hoping to exercise his interests from the comfortable and privileged parliamentary backdrop. A glimpse into his business portfolio and on to his mantelpiece confirms that.
A modest man from humble beginnings, Vladas embodies true social enterprise and business that serves society, not the shareholders.
In 2012, the Kaunas Chamber of Commerce nominated him for the Business Peace Prize, commending his “merit and personal contribution into the development of social responsibility in business.”
His social dialogue project – where his staff could pitch and assign their own salaries on the basis of attitude and self-assessment, as well as work – was recognised and rewarded by the Nobel Peace Committee in Oslo.
Perhaps the most remarkable part of his success is that it began under the imposing constraints of the Soviet Union. His earliest cooperative business venture, the first private express delivery company in Lithuania, served as a direct competitor and a thorn in the side of the Soviet state-run postal service. That was in 1990. A year later, Lithuania became a sovereign and fully independent nation.
Vladass ultimate goal was to help Lithuania transition away from the problems it inherited under the Soviet Union and its state-run monopolies. The express delivery company he co-founded, Skubios siuntos UAB now a UPS authorised service provider – helped connect Lithuania with the wider world that its doors were now open to.
As he did then, Vladas strives for solutions that keep Lithuania moving forward. He has gone on to co-found and/or co-own a number of companies in Lithuania, spanning from science and technology to e-commerce and sustainable energy.
Some of his eyebrow-raising projects include:
Carbon War Room, a non-profit organisation founded by Sir Richard Branson that seeks to tap into wider economic opportunities in green energy technology.
Mars-One, described by Vladas as “the most ambitious human exploration project of our lifetime,” is a non-profit foundation that will set up the first human settlement on Mars by 2025. Vladas is one of a handful of advisers on the project.
This is a man whose CV outshines that of virtually any other politician; a man whose commitment to improving society and inspiring change is tangible; a man who cares about future generations.
To me, Vladas encapsulates the rights and freedoms we all have to dream big and pursue those dreams.
Lithuania has already come a long way since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is a man who will help the country continue tap into its true potential.
If you are Lithuanian and still floating on who to choose as a Presidential candidate, I urge you to vote for Vladas Lašas.