The Best of Both Worlds: Integrating Entrepreneurial and Intrapreneural Mindsets to Drive Success - In conversation with Yvonne Hyland

5 min readJan 9, 2023
Image from Unsplash by Tomas Sobek

There are many similarities when starting any type of a business, but there are differences depending on the environment. There are pros and cons whether you launch your business from scratch or within an established organization. However, it takes a keen eye to see and incorporate the pros of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship when launching a new business venture, regardless of the environment.

Today we are in conversation with Yvonne Hyland. Having been an entrepreneur and intrapreneur for the last 30 years, Yvonne brings a unique and vital perspective on achieving success having taken businesses through startup and scale up from 0 to $200M. Garnering her extensive experiences, she takes the pros and cons of creating a business entrepreneurially and intrapreneurially learning from both. Yvonne speaks on how she cultivated her solutions-driven and people-centric leadership from her vast experience.

Yvonne, you bring a duality of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. Both may theoretically be similar, but the parameters are very different. Tell us about your views, how each is different, where they meet, and how your experience with one benefits the other.

“The similarity between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship is the desire to bring a new product or service to market in most, but not all, cases for commercial gain. In both types of ventures, there needs to be an understanding of the market (TAM, SAM, and SOM*), competition, pricing, the cost to build, deliver and maintain, basic go-to-market approach, resourcing, ecosystem, budget and timing. Having said this, the differences I have experienced can be quite significant both in start-up and scale-up modes. Fundamentally, this is affected by the amount and timing of funding available; and the oversight, governance and rigor required.

“From an entrepreneurship perspective, at start-up, there is the opportunity, passion, drive, and often the need, to go fast. There is little or no governance, so one can be a bit scrappy and less precise about the plan and operations. The entrepreneurs’ primary drivers are passion and belief plus the perseverance to see their idea become a reality. It’s a big step to found/co-found a company, and it will initially come down to sheer determination to get your product built, launched, and through to scale-up.

“With intrapreneurship, unless it’s a very innovative organization, you have to make your business fit into the corporate policies and culture, if not at startup this will almost certainly be the case at scale-up. In terms of reporting and metrics, there is usually the requirement to fit in with the regular business cycle, such as quarterly reporting to the C-Suite/Board, which is a lot of overhead you won’t incur for some while when you’re building your own business. Intrapreneurship has much more operational rigor and governance. There’s much more time spent building internal partnerships and doing internal product education. Often the products or the services you’re building and launching will be managed or sold by other parts of the organization, so there is more of an emphasis on creating and maintaining relationships. For example with the Sales organization selling the products or services you’re introducing and Product Management if they assume product responsibility post launch. Educating these teams and defining the cross-departmental or business unit interactions is time consuming but essential to ensure success. It’s akin to developing an ecosystem and channel partner program out of the gate.

“Differences also show up in terms of the people you hire. The skills would be similar between people who work in an entrepreneurial environment and those who work in an intrapreneurial one, and in both cases you can hire heavy hitters, building high performing teams early on. But there are different traits for those who want to work in an entrepreneurial environment; they tend to be more comfortable in risk-taking climates. For example, it is crucial to find employees willing to work and understand that there’s not necessarily an unending source of funding or cash. When building a company, depending on how it’s funded, there is a significant stress factor in ensuring enough money comes into the firm in terms of investments and/or debt and/or revenue to pay the bills, including payroll. Though there is much more upside potential for the founders and employees if the business really takes off. These factors are embedded in the entrepreneurial environment dynamic, so the people you hire must understand and be comfortable with this dynamic. In the corporate intrapreneurial world, there’s less autonomy, but there’s more security for yourself and the people you’re onboarding in terms of getting paid every two weeks, with the trade-off being far less upside potential (this will be more attractive if the product was acquired and you came with the acquisition.)

In the corporate intrapreneurial world, there’s less autonomy, but there’s more security for yourself and the people you’re onboarding in terms of getting paid every two weeks, with the trade-off being far less upside potential (this will be more attractive if the product was acquired and you came with the acquisition.)

“The biggest opportunity for a business leader’s success when growing and operationalizing a business is to learn from the entrepreneur’s perseverance, belief, and persistence, plus the intrapreneur’s rigor, organizational and corporate skills and combine these with on the ground, sleeves rolled up experience. Capitalizing on both the mindset of an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur will strengthen any business venture and very likely lead to a greater probability of success.”

Thank you, Yvonne, for your words of wisdom.


  • TAM or Total Available Market is the total market demand for a product or service.
  • SAM or Serviceable Available Market is the segment of the TAM targeted by your products and services which is within your geographical reach.
  • SOM or Serviceable Obtainable Market is the portion of SAM that you can capture.

Connect with Yvonne on LinkedIn.




!mpact Magazine is a platform where people with a vision can share their ideas and insights.