Michael Stausholm is an experienced public speaker with a great deal of knowledge about sustainability and entrepreneurship. He always speaks from his own experiences, gathered over a long career as a consultant and a specialist within the field of sustainability for clients such as Nike and Walmart. Michael Stausholm is also an entrepreneur himself, having founded the company Sprout – a green enterprise which has created the first pencil in the world that can be planted and grown into flowers, vegetables and herbs, with more than 30 million Sprout pencils sold across more than 80 countries.
Michael Stausholm has held talks at a range of events, including the Danish Pavilion at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and the Sustainable Brands and Tania Ellis conferences. He has also spoken for the UN in Belarus and for educational institutions, business councils and networking groups.
- Successful Marketing with a Focus on Storytelling
The talks can be held in English following prior agreement.
It is also possible to incorporate several subjects within a single talk in order to meet your individual needs.
Send a request regarding speaking engagements to:
Sustainability – buzzword or benefit?
Sustainability is a buzzword along the same lines as disruption, but what does it actually mean? Is sustainability about having a bad conscience? Is it simply the latest way to instil guilt into companies with surpluses? Michael Stausholm sets sustainability in focus and discusses how we can get to grips with it in a realistic way. What can we as companies and individuals do in our daily lives to make a real difference?
The lecture is based on Michael Stausholm's experiences with Sprout – the company behind the world's first plantable pencil, which can grow into herbs, vegetables and flowers and which has sold more than 30 million pencils across 80 countries. It is also based on his experiences as a consultant and specialist within the field of sustainability for companies such as Nike and Walmart over the course of 14 years spent in Asia.
Entrepreneurship – important mistakes and striking success stories
Michael Stausholm shares his experiences as an entrepreneur, with upturns and downturns, and talks about the exciting prospects for a company like Sprout in a growing market for sustainable products with a good story to tell.
He talks about what he has learned along the way and offers up his best advice on how to achieve success as an entrepreneur. He also speaks about how it was possible to start up a million dollar company without capital and to expand internationally at a rapid pace, and he talks about how to attract investors and put together a professional board.
Along the way he explains how it all began with a single pencil that was invented by a group of students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, USA. Michael Stausholm saw the business potential of the product and today he owns all rights and patents together with a co-investor.
From a crazy idea to a million dollar business in more than 80 countries
Plantable pencils? Great idea, but it will never be a successful business. That was the reaction Michael Stausholm was faced with five years ago when he decided to dedicate himself full time to selling plantable Sprout pencils invented in the USA. Today, Sprout is going strong, with around 30 million pencils sold in more than 80 countries. Getting to this stage has not been an easy journey. Michael Stausholm tells the whole story in this lecture, talking, among other things, about:
- How he started up a whole company based around a student project at MIT in Boston
- How the overwhelming demand at the beginning kept him up at nights, thinking; okay, tomorrow it's all going to stop. There can't be anyone left still interested in plantable pencils
- How he financed his company in the beginning without any capital
- How Sprout has focused on telling its story ahead of advertising its product
- What mistakes he has learned the most from along the way
- How sustainable companies often go under before they really get going
- What concrete advice he would give to new entrepreneurs that want to reach beyond Denmark's borders
Marketing – focus on telling a good story
Pull marketing vs. push marketing: how did Sprout manage to achieve a turnover of more than one million dollars and sales of more than 30 million pencils across more than 80 countries? And how is it possible to get exposure to more than 100 million potential customers via Facebook in a single quarter without having to pay for it? Is it possible to create a million dollar company on the global marketplace exclusively via PR and a product with a good story? Michael Stausholm speaks from his own experiences and explains how Sprout managed to achieve exactly these results. The lecture also tells the story of Sprout and the sustainable pencil, which was created by robot engineering students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston and developed into a million dollar company by Michael Stausholm, who currently owns all sales and production rights for the budding pencil.
Sustainable Brands Conference, Copenhagen 2016
We were very happy with Michael's performance. I think he did a great job explaining Sprout's story from a larger standpoint of how enterprises can influence and enact change in traditional industries. The audience seemed very intrigued by the subject matter.
Content Development Manager, Sustainable Brands, San Francisco
The Danish Pavilion during the Olympic Games in Rio 2016: Danish Sustainability Day
At the Danish Sustainability Day in Rio during the 2016 Olympic Games, CEO and Founder Michael Stausholm gave an inspiring presentation about his green startup company Sprout. Sprout's pencil products are an innovative contribution to the sustainability agenda that offer consumers and businesses a fresh approach to recycling.
Peter Bøgh Hansen
Head of Partnerships & Innovation, Confederation of Danish Industry
Danske Andelskassers Bank
Michael gave a really great talk. He managed to capture the students' attention in a very short time with his story about how Sprout came into being and he offered a lot of good advice and tips for budding entrepreneurs, so the students got to take something really concrete and useable home with them. We have only had positive feedback about the talk, and we wouldn't hesitate to invite Michael back as a speaker and as a judge in the future.
Tine Martlev Pallesen
Communications Manager, Danske Andelskassers Bank A/S
Kjøbenhavns Erhvervsklub (Copenhagen Business Club)
Michael Stausholm gave a very operational and practical talk about how an odd idea can come about and be executed and escalated. The talk was a down-to-earth and inspiring speech about a start-up with patience and resolve that stuck firmly to its strategy and secured its patent.
Chairman of Kjøbenhavns Erhvervsklub (Copenhagen Business Club)
Kjøbenhavns Erhvervsklub (Copenhagen Business Club)
Thanks for an excellent talk! Sprout was a great example for the topic of my own lecture – willpower, self-belief and an aptitude for sustainability. Michael's talk was relevant and inspiring, and it demonstrated how a start-up can attain success by powering through and believing in itself, even when obstacles arise from time to time.
Former professional tennis player and speaker
Business Council, Høje-Taastrup
Thanks for sharing the inspiring story behind your business. We really enjoyed your practical approach and your great tips on what to do and what not to do when starting up a new company.
Secretary, Business Council in Høje-Taastrup
Team FOG Næstved
An interesting, honest and relevant presentation about the ups and downs of a start-up and the journey of a significantly different project.
CEO, Team FOG Næstved
A well composed presentation about the essential evaluation you have to make as an entrepreneur when things go wrong in order to avoid a repetition. A thoughtful talk about why a product can be more than a mere product and carry a story and values that enhances its value and chances of sale by the right branding to the modern and politically aware consumer.
Principal, AOF Hvidovre
Our visit to Sprout World was amazing! First of all, Michael Stausholm tells his own personal story very well. He is a businessman, but also and above all a wonderful storyteller. Second, the whole SNCF Réseau delegation loved the Sprout products. Last but not least, I discovered a new and sound advice for all budding innovators: "kill your darlings" when an idea is good but not enough to make it to the market.
Founder, Shamengo – The best of green, social and digital innovations to inspire a new art of living