“When I advise companies I ask them questions about sustainability that they might not have asked themselves”

Greg Albrecht is currently working as business adviser and investor in start-ups. He also runs a podcast where he speaks to people who have started businesses from scratch, to learn about their mind-set. During an alumni event in Warsaw, Poland, we got to speak to Greg about sustainability, SIMP and the future.

How do you see yourself contributing to sustainable development?
– I try to share the things I learnt within the programme with the companies I work with. When I advise companies I ask them questions about sustainability that they might not have asked themselves otherwise. This is how people like me can influence leaders and help them make better decisions.

What would you say are the biggest challenges that you face in your context.
– From a business perspective it is sometimes challenging to prove to business leaders that something is a good investment – long term. Businesses are driven to mid-term results and that makes it difficult to show the long term financial impact of sustainable investments. But entrepreneurs are starting to not only strive for money but also consider the society, the next generations and what kind of change they can contribute to.

Where do you see yourself in the future – what’s your goal?
– To bring the biggest possible impact to entrepreneurs because they have the energy that can change the world. Most businesses in Poland are medium and small sized and if I can influence those and create real change – my mission is accomplished.

SIMP – how did you learn about it and what made you apply?
– Somebody recommended it to me. The first year I was actually rejected but I am quite persistent and re-applied the next year. It sounded so interesting to build connections with other like-minded people and get this knowledge so when I was accepted I didn’t hesitate.

Has SIMP helped you level up as a change maker?
– Absolutely, in many dimensions. One in how I understand more about sustainability issues. Also in terms of diversity, we all seem to live in the same area of the world but the multi-dimensional group dynamic was really inspiring. And I learnt more about Sweden and become a bit of a Sweden- ambassador.

Do you think that there is something you approach differently due to the programme?
– It raised my level of understanding of the impact that businesses can make. It convinced and empowered me in my belief that what I’m doing is the right thing.

If you had to choose one thing that you liked about the programme, what would that be?
– The people! I have participated in various other programmes and conferences but I would say that SIMP was the only one where the participants really connected. I felt like I was surrounded by friends and my personal transformation was really deep.

Do you use the network still today?
– Yes, there are several persons that I am still in touch with and I have even partnered up with a participant in a business. I helped a few people from other countries with connections here in Poland and also the other way around: If I know somebody who needs some help on other markets there are people I can approach.

And last question: What will tomorrow’s leaders do different compared to the leaders of today?
– I hope future leaders will be more aware of diversity and empower diversity rather than oppress it. And be eligible to thinking long-term, about environmental issues and the society around us in general.