The Value in Sustainability: An Interview with Malte Recker

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eLab Contributor

eLab Contributor

Bastian Behrmann is the eLab Berlin Location Manager and has been involved and working in the Berlin startup scene since 2016. He coaches and guides all of our participants while on the program as well as getting them connected to important founders and investors in the local startup ecosystem.

Malte Recker is the sustainability and impact expert at our eLab Berlin location. He implements heart, soul, and conscience into the business plans of our participants throughout the duration of the program.

The sustainability impact modules are super interactive and full of short pitches and feedback from the class. We first identify the impact potential, defining the positive change you bring to beneficiaries and try how to pitch the theory of change.

As a doctoral candidate at TU Berlin’s Center for Entrepreneurship, involved in a joint project with the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative, Malte is researching sustainable entrepreneurship. During the last two years, he has coached more than 50 businesses to identify, measure and improve their impact potential, which is why he is such a great fit for our program. Especially since Entrepreneur Lab is committed to making a difference in communities by supporting founders who strive to create change and improve the lives of others.  

In his module Impact Identification and Measurement, he deals with the mantra "Innovate or die”. 

Sustainability oriented innovation is about dispelling the notion of tradeoffs between what seem to be competing goals — performance versus impact, profit versus purpose, human wellbeing versus environmental protection. At eLab, we believe we should no longer see these goals as competing with each other, rather they should go hand in hand so our entrepreneurs can go on to create products, services, and business models that are holistic rather than fragmented.

In these sessions, Malte helps our participants to identify how a business model can create change and how we can communicate the impact to investors and customers. Impact measurement is iterative and enables you to assess and forecast your sustainability impact at different venture development stages. 

He goes on to explain:

We quantify the outcomes with the help of indicators and forecast your impact. There is no need to be shy about those numbers, similarly to your financial forecast and business plan, we back it up with assumption and hypothesis. The only difference is that there is not (yet) a standard method and approach on how to forecast impact. We will show existing ways and highlight the need to be transparent in order to avoid misunderstandings. Impact investors and other stakeholders will love the information you can provide after attending the classes!

It is also worth mentioning that he teaches Stakeholder Management, Networking Essentials, and Storytelling at eLab, where he shares his experiences and values with our participants. In Maltes past professional life as a production engineer and consultant, sustainability played a major role most of the time but was often overruled by questionable business requirements and other urgent excuses from executive teams. 

Malte says:

During the last 4 years, I had the chance to fully focus on sustainable entrepreneurship while doing my Ph.D. research, resulting in the opportunity to educate and coach many entrepreneurs in sustainable business models and impact measurement.

He has a strong belief that sustainability is extremely important for every entrepreneur in any phase of business development and it is obvious to him that we need to transform our planet in order to recover. This is also one of his key messages in his modules.

Entrepreneurship and its innovation power is a key player in achieving this sustainable transformation.

And he gives us more to consider: 

Limited resources (e.g. raw materials) can create a major business risk to startups, which can often be mitigated by sustainability considerations; on the other hand business opportunities can be created based on the required sustainability transformation (e.g. new processes or materials, social trends, customer needs). Last but not least, we do observe increasing impact investing numbers, offering a great chance to attract investors and differentiate with impact potential against other ventures.

In a time where sustainable solutions are becoming essential for all of our lives, we are happy to have a very strong player like Malte in our team. When asked what he enjoys most about the in-class presenting the methods he developed, he answered: 

In almost every class the participants have their "aha" or "wow" moment, either identifying a new impact potential they haven't thought of before or being motivated to pitch the positive change they bring to the world more prominently while being based on numbers and a structured approach. I enjoy supporting the impact journey of each entrepreneur and seeing so many great sustainable business models coming out of the program!

Ready to create a sustainable business with the help of an eLab expert? Then check out our Programs page to find the best solution for your business needs.

If you want to learn more about our highly-qualified instructors and coaches, then check out our eLab Team page.

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