Yena member, Minou Schillings, has recently founded The Green Sprint, a company that uses the innovation sprint method, a process that involves designing, prototyping and testing ideas in a short space of time, to help businesses tackle sustainability challenges.

The Green Sprint

Realising that companies need to act fast around sustainability-based issues, Minou had the idea to apply the method to bridge the gap in the market. She and her business partner, Pamela, work with companies on sustainable solutions where their work can have a real impact.

Imposter Syndrome

At the start of her journey, Minou found starting up a business to be overwhelming. She sites ‘imposter syndrome’, a feeling of self-doubt combined with a fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’, as playing a big role in this and believes that women often under-sell themselves in business, requiring a bigger boost to take the leap – ‘In a world of unicorns, we are getting a warped image of what success means’.

Fear of networking

Imposter syndrome is often linked to a fear of meeting new people so, for many, networking is a daunting prospect. ‘The moment you have to approach someone is scary’ and you can often feel incredibly awkward. However, it’s also an integral part of starting a business.

In order to tackle this, Minou decided to get involved in hosting Yena’s Rebel Meetups and has since become aware of just ‘how many people struggle with networking’. Through organising the events, she now has ‘an easy environment to ask questions that, in other settings, you would fear to be considered dumb’, allowing her to gain supporters of her business and connect with founders at a similar stage in their journey.

Looking to the future

Thinking ahead, Minou doesn’t have a specific strategy for the business’s future. Instead she gains regular feedback to validate and improve her proposition, a process Minou believes to be essential when setting up a business.

It’s a ‘waste of time, resources and creative efforts to dive into a business so deep and then find out nobody wants it’. Rather than beelining towards an end-goal, Minou likes to take a step back in order to allow for new ideas to come to fruition and enable others’ opinions to contribute towards her plans. Most importantly she states that, if you have an idea, ‘the more you think, the scarier it gets so get started and do it.’


Written by Olivia Brooks, Yena Intern

If you have a startup story and would like to feature on the blog, feel free to reach out.