Strategisches Leuchten: Leadership & Business Sustainability.

Sylwia Wasz

According to the Institute for Sustainability Leadership at Cambridge University, “Companies are increasingly realising the inherent risks of doing business on a global scale. Their reliance on diverse natural resources for raw materials, an international customer base and heavy use of information and communication technologies must be carefully managed so that growth plans are not undermined. In addition, companies must seize the new commercial opportunities that arise from overcoming challenges and be flexible enough to adapt their business models accordingly to cope with the global changes ahead.” The sooner start-ups integrate new business sustainability strategies into their business models and corporate culture, the better they will be able to respond to future market changes. For this reason, we invited experts and start-ups to our Sustainable Start-up Workshop to show how concrete strategies can be used to identify opportunities and minimise risks.

The start-ups Fish’n’Bricks, Enersoul, WRS Energie + Druckluft GmbH and Frank Dessecker-Maier (Robotic Cyber Security Start-up) first dived into relevant topics around digital leadership and emotional intelligence in a business environment with Julia Schleidt. Good leadership is crucial for the sustainability transformation in companies, not only for the development of a long-term strategy, but also for the integration of all employees and stakeholders into a new corporate vision. With Christin Eckerle we discussed sustainable entrepreneurship as well as tools and frameworks of impact investing, and with Anja Lehner (Valupact GmbH) the founders explored sustainability management, its challenges and opportunities by developing innovative strategies and sharing valuable insights. The interactive sessions and dynamic discussions created a lively learning environment.

The feedback from our participants has reinforced our belief that both the workshop format and the topic of business sustainability are of great importance for (early-stage) start-ups: “We particularly enjoyed the event as it was held in an open and friendly atmosphere. The speakers were also excellently chosen and were able to give us many new insights,” says Julius Dannhoff from Fish’N’Bricks. Our speaker and PhD student at the KIT Institute for Entrepreneurship, Technology Management and Innovation (EnTechnon) Christin Eckerle emphasised: “If start-ups address their social and environmental impact from the outset, they can create value for a wider range of stakeholders, including investors, employees, customers and society. The UN SDGs are a very helpful and recognised framework for defining your own strategic sustainable goals and communicating them to the outside world.” Our speaker Anja Lehner from Valupack GmbH convinced the audience that start-ups can strategically tackle the complex challenge of sustainability with a comprehensive analysis, clear goals and measures.

Last but not least, we will show you some relevant initial steps for setting up sustainability management, which the founder and managing director of Valupact GmbH has summarised for us:

Last but not least, we will show you some relevant initial steps for setting up sustainability management, which the founder and managing director of Valupact GmbH has summarised for us:

1. analysing the need for action: Develop a thorough understanding of the impact with needs, opportunities, risks, strengths and weaknesses.
2. focus on the essentials: Clearly define which aspects are essential and prioritised in sustainability management.
3. create a clear plan: Develop a plan with goals and KPIs.
4. implementation and follow-up: Implement concrete measures and continuously monitor progress.


It doesn’t matter what stage the start-ups are at, what sector they come from or whether they offer products or services. Sustainability management is not a sprint, but a marathon that begins with a strategy and an iron will. This marathon leads entrepreneurs on a journey of discovery full of frugal innovations and new partnerships.

We are delighted that we were able to raise awareness of this topic in our start-up community. If you missed this workshop, we cordially invite you to attend our TECHimpulse Circular Economy – Navigating Sustainable Growth on 13 March 2024. There you can learn more about sustainable business models, the development of sustainable products and the role of IT security in this area.



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