From prototyping to finished product in eight-weeks time.


Work towards resilient change

In order to bring sustainable benefits to society, solutions must mature quickly and take the step from prototypes to specific products or services.

The circle17 testing phase is designed to bring the projects, the teams and its team members to test.  Through a two-month online coaching program ideas from the impacthon will be further worked out, and implemented within different scenarios as soon as possible. This, so that they can provide their effect where they are most needed!

Read more on the three different coaching tracks below. All Impacthon participants will have access to all three of the tracks.

Leadership Resilience

2020 is putting everyone's leadership skills to the test. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with a global and economic challenge, that we will have to overcome on personal and professional levels.

In the Leadership Resilience track, we focus on the development of the next "resilient generation”, that has the power to guide us through these challenging times and lead us towards better futures. 

In our circle17 program, we focus on the preparation and development of our participants on four skill-levels, to help them become more resilient leaders for sustainable transformation.

  1. Sense of purpose. Learn how to develop a “personal why”. 
  2. Personal energy management. Discover the process of coming up with breakthrough ideas in order to better manage your own resistance. 
  3. Shifting your lenses. Get a global perspective on the challenges you face as an emerging leader. 
  4. Influence without authority: learn how to more effectively manage your team and align them towards a shared goal, without authority. 
Team climbing the mountain Mathias Jensen

Team Resilience

Team resilience is the capacity to coordinate effectively, predict one another’s behavior, and make decisions collectively on the fly. However, how do you build this team’s resilience with a team that exists out of so many different cultural backgrounds and organisations?

In order to make sure that your multi-stakeholder team is set-up for success, this coaching track aims to support you and your team members in developing, shaping and cultivating the potential that lies with your team’s resilience.

  1. Goal Setting: A key to your resilience is knowing what you’re working towards. Teams that have clarity of purpose are better able to overcome adversity and to push towards those goals. Learn how to define these goals, and effectively work towards the completion of tasks/steps together.
  2. Teamwork: Learn how to develop a common mental model of teamwork, and be on the same page about your roles, responsibilities, and the ways you want to interact with one another during adversity. 
  3. Improvisation: Learn how to improvise and develop new ideas or ways of handling adversity.
  4. Conflict Management: Learn and apply frameworks to better understand intercultural team dynamics, manage conflict and grow a culture of trust of failing forward. 
Team in the sunset

Project Resilience

Learning how to apply resilience thinking on a project level, will support a team to keep and grow the momentum build within the impacthon.

Through flexible, systemic and context-specific approaches, teams will learn how to make strategic decisions once faced with disruptive events.

The "Project Resilience" coaching track, cover topics like the basics of: 

    1. Strategy: learn how to dynamically reinvent your business model and strategies,  by continuously anticipating and adjusting to changes that might threaten your core earning power. Learn how to change before the need becomes desperately obvious.
    2. Finance: Learn how to build a financial resilience plan,  craft right-sized crisis fundraising strategies, and  create messaging and storytelling assets to raise funds. 
    3. Legal: What are legal points to consider when determining the most advantageous legal structure of a collaboration? What are legal steps that must be taken in order to formally setup a collaboration agreement, between different business entities?

Frequently Asked Questions

For more in-depth questions on how your journey could look like, please see our full FAQ section.

What is Circle17?

circle17 supports the design of practical business solutions to the most urgent sustainability challenges, by facilitating a platform for startup collaboration with corporates and non-profit organisations.  

In order to identify these most pressing sustainability challenges, circle17 co-operates together with corporates- and non-profit organisations. These sustainability challenges function as a strong foundation, inspiration and validation for the design of system-changing solutions. 

The development of these solutions is not a straight-forward given. It requires an inclusive and experimental approach, modern methodologies, creativity and an innovative out-of-the-box mindset. 

This is where all social innovators come into place: startup founders, academics, changemakers, enthusiasts, coders and creatives come into place. The circle17 Impacthon is an open-call for all those who believe it’s important to unite, in order to solve the most pressing sustainability challenges together. 

Not only does circle17 provide a safe space for eye-to-eye level exchanges, but an inclusive growth platform where the potential that lies with multi-stakeholder collaboration can be understood and unleashed.

Who’s behind circle17?

The circle17 project is brought to life via the two Non-Profit organisations AustrianStartups & respACT, and funded by the Austrian Development Agency.

AustrianStartups is Austria’s largest start-up platform and think tank for innovative entrepreneurship 

With a team of around 50 startup enthusiasts, the non-profit organization organizes more than 60 events annually, operates communication platforms for more than 30,000 followers from the startup environment and publishes Austria’s largest startup study – the Austrian Startup Monitor.

respACT has been supporting its more than 300 member companies for over 20 years in achieving ecological and social goals economically and independently. On a national level, respACT cooperates with ministries, scientific institutions and interest groups. As the coordinating office of the Global Compact Network Austria and partner of the WBCSD and CSR Europe, respACT is also the right contact at the international level.

Austrian Development Agency (ADA)
ADA supports countries in Africa, Asia, South-East and Eastern Europe in their sustainable social, economic and democratic development. In Austria, it contributes to a better understanding of global interrelationships and development cooperation through public relations work and the promotion of development communication and education. The Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA) plans the strategies. ADA, the agency of the Austrian Development Cooperation, implements them with public institutions, civil society organisations and enterprises.

How does the circle17 program work?

The circle17 programme consists of 5 phases. 


The discovery is all set to identify and determine the most critical sustainability challenges. In September and October, circle17 hosts workshops to explore trends and source challenges with Corporates and Civil Society. Moreover, open workshops will be hosted through which startup founders, academics, and enthusiasts can learn more about the design of resilient business models.

Learn more about the programme’s offer on our Discovery Page. 


The circle17 Impacthon is an online hackathon designed to share and rapidly develop practical solutions. Startup founders, entrepreneurs, academics and enthusiasts come together to work on society-level solutions to the sustainable challenges, posed by our network of (corporate) organisations.

Learn more about the impacthon, and how you can get involved here.


A tailored coaching trajectory will push the project solutions and teams that have arisen from the Impacthon forward. A pallet of modular services, for example workshops to develop skills, regular check-ins and project support, will be provided. 

Learn more about the coaching areas here.


Our circle17 Matchmaking event is a day in which we’ll bring all programme participants and project innovations together with an external network collaboration partners, and offer supporting modules to match interests and needs. 


During our Touchdown event, participants present the outcome of their journey throughout the circle17 programme and are given the stage they deserve. Time to celebrate and reflect on the experience together.

How can I join circle17?

We are looking for bold and innovative thinkers & do-ers that can help to develop solutions to the large-scale sustainability challenges that withhold us on individual, business and societal level to become more resilient.

For this to work, circle17 needs a strong community. We need you!

You can get involved in four different ways:

We are inviting all gamechangers, from creators, IT specialists, startups, academics and enthusiasts to participate and show us how you would solve various challenges through creative thinking and the (potential) application of technology.

Challenge Leads are corporate- and non-profit organisations that have submitted sustainability challenges, they face inside- and outside of their organisation.

Are you, or the organisation you are working with, faced with sustainability challenges in your daily operations? Are you interested in working together with a broad network of young innovators, startups and academics to dive deep into your challenge and work on solutions that could benefit your business- and society at larger scale?

Learn more on how you can host your challenge in the cirlce17 programme, below.

We’re looking for mentors who can coach the participants during the impacthon and experts who can answer questions along the way.

Are you a superhero mentor, interested in partaking in our programme to support the development of sustainable project innovations? – learn more on this page on how you can get involved!

The circle17 programme is a non-profit establishment, aimed at the development of resilient and sustainable business solutions. Are you, your company or organisation interested in exploring opportunities to support our cause? Please see below how you can be a part of the solution!

Supporting Partners

circle17 is a true community effort, involving organisers and stakeholders of all ranges from our society.

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