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Entrepreneur Applies MicroMasters® Program Learning to New Circular Economy Startup

Michaela is an entrepreneur, originally from Scotland, who started her edX learner journey in the midst of launching her own startup, Sleepify. The MicroMasters program she took taught key knowledge about business and operations sides of the switch from fossil to renewable, biobased resources, in service of a more sustainable circular ‘cradle-to-cradle’ economy. She was able to apply her learning in real-time, as Sleepify, which aims to revolutionize the mattress industry through their circular economy mattress renting solution, came to life. 

What edX course did you take and what were your goals in taking it?

I enrolled in the MicroMasters program in Business and Operations for a Circular Bio-Economy from Wageningen University in the course titled Business Strategy and Operations in a Biobased Economy. My goals for taking this course were to achieve the certificate in the MicroMasters program; to expand my knowledge in the circular economy and dive deeper into the ‘biobased’ side of this topic; and to apply my learnings and new knowledge to my own circular economy startup project.

How was your experience learning online?

I really enjoyed the flexibility of the course. I could learn at my own pace and the videos from lecturers were fun and informative. The fact that I could also reach out to Wageningen at any time for support or to ask questions was also brilliant. You really feel like a valued student and not just an ‘online learner.’ On that note, I would like to give a big shoutout to Adrienne from the Wageningen marketing team who went out of her way to support me.

How has your learning impacted your career, life, or community? 

My learning has had a very positive impact on my career, life and community: I started my own circular economy startup called Sleepify in Vienna, Austria alongside my co-founder Verena whilst studying the MicroMasters program. This enabled me to apply tools and theories I learnt as I built my startup, Sleepify, which is an award-winning ClimateTech company which aims to revolutionize the mattress industry through their circular economy mattress renting solution for hotels and accommodation providers

Not only that, but it has impacted our local community and our lives: we have become startup founders full-time and are creating a solution that impacts local businesses and enables them to use our circular economy solution to become more sustainable and reduce their CO2 impact. As a result, we won the Circular Economy category globally in the ClimateLaunchPad competition 2021 and I was awarded as an MIT Innovator Under 35 for 2022.

How do you plan to use your learning in the future? What’s next for you?

I use my learnings very often, especially since it’s extremely relevant to my circular economy startup. What’s next for me and for us at Sleepify? Our vision is to wake up in a world where waste is no longer a problem. We want to prove that circular economy solutions can be scalable and sustainable. In this regard, our next steps are to secure our first customers, test our solution and then launch on the market. Watch this space for more news soon!

What advice would you give new edX learners?

Stay curious and open! If a course seems challenging to you, then I personally think that’s the best course to choose and stick with. Only through challenges do you grow. That’s exactly what I did: I did not have the technical or biological know-how and sometimes I felt like I would fail, but I pushed through and it paid off.

Inspired by Michaela’s story? Share your own! Visit our story submission page to tell us about your learning experience and we’ll use it to inspire learners around the world.



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