Floating islands, inspired by nature

It would not be accurate to call Floating Island International, the business led by Bruce and Anne Kania, a mom-and-pop operation–for one thing, although they are married, Bruce and Anne don’t have children–but that description gives you a sense of the scale of their startup. With fewer than a dozen employees, the Kanias are tucked away in the small town of Shepherd, Montana (population: 208) and the firm’s annual revenues are less than $1 million.

But Floating Island International already lives up to its name: Its man-made islands can be found in New Zealand, China, South Africa and Canada as well as in the U.S. Its customers include U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, American Electric Power and Disney World, which suggests that they may be onto something. And the Kanias’ ambitions seem to know no bounds.

“I’m pretty sure we are going to be one of the most successful businesses of all time,” says Bruce.

Bruce, who is 57, is an inventor and entrepreneur who worked in prosthetics, textiles and sporting goods (he invented a broadhead arrow). Then, about a decade ago, he came up with the idea of turning plastic trash into man-made floating islands that can clean polluted water, spur the growth of fish, provide species habitat and sequester carbon.

Not to mention create beachfront property.

We’re learning how to grow real estate,” he says. [click to continue…]