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Overall

Learn more about the circle17 platform, and what it could mean to you.

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
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
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. 

SEPTEMBER
1. DISCOVERY

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. 

NOVEMBER
2. IMPACTHON 

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.

DECEMBER
3. COACHING

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.

FEBRUARY
4. MATCHMAKING

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. 

APRIL
4. TOUCHDOWN

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:

SOCIAL INNOVATORS
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
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.

MENTOR
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!

SPONSOR
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!

Social Innovators

We are inviting all problem solvers to participate and show us how you would tackle various challenges!

Are there prerequisites for participation?

We are inviting all the 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.

Do you (or your startup) want to help solve the most urgent sustainability challenges, and have the opportunity to cooperate with a broad network of corporate- and civil society organisations in order to do so? 

Are you:

  • excited to work on developing a systemic solution to one of the sustainability challenges posed, 
  • keen to collaborate with a broad network of experts in order to do so, 
  • eager to develop a resilient market-ready concept in less than 72 hours, during the circle17 impacthon?
  • and already inpatient to know that you will leave the programme with strategic partners to continue the momentum you’ve built? 

Do you have internet access and an email address? Then nothing stands in your way to participate in the circle17 programme!



How can I get involved as a social innovator?

The circle17 programme is running along 5-phases. You as a Social Innovator, have the opportunity to get actively involved into the program from either the (1) Discovery phase or the (2) Impacthon phase onwards.

The (3) Coaching, (4) matchmaking and (5) Touch-down phase are for pre-involved and active Social Innovators only. 

PHASE 1: DISCOVERY 
Would you like to learn what resilience means in startup terms and how it is connected to the SDG? Do you want to actively work on pivoting your own venture into a resilient social business and get a taste of how cooperation can accelerate your social innovations? Look at the workshops available now, through this link & register quickly!

PHASE 2: IMPACTHON
Do you want to design, test, and execute moonshot ideas that will help us deal with the challenges posed and create new, competitive and resilient business models for the future. 

Join the circle17 Impacthon, a 3-day online hackathon, running from NOV 19 -22! 

Registrations open early October.

*participation to the workshops is not required for access to the circle17 impacthon.



How many “Social Innovators” can participate?

There is a limited capacity for participation. Therefore, make sure to register timely to not miss the hack! Registrations will close a week in advance. 

Can I join the Impacthon as a team?

Yes. Simply register as “Social Innovator” and indicate the name of your team, find yourself a challenge in your interest area, and off you go.

However, the aim of the Hackathon is to facilitate multi-stakeholder collaborations. We do this by bringing people from a great variety of backgrounds and expertise together to develop solutions to the challenges faced, together, in multi-disciplinary teams.

If you consider to signup with friends/team, please be aware that you’ll be working during this hackathon with additional team members to your existing team, up to 8 members. You’ll be surprised by the outcomes you find yourself with by the end of the weekend.



How can I find a challenge to work on?

In order to identify the most pressing sustainability challenges that withhold us, and our economy, from becoming more resilient, circle17 co-operates together with corporates- and non-profit organisations to formulate specific business challenges. 

These business challenges will be organised according to 6 key sustainability challenge tracks, and publicly communicated one week before the Impacthon starts. 

See below the 6 sustainability challenges areas. Take a first look and see which challenge interests you and where you could potentially contribute your expertise. In your registration you can indicate 3 areas of interest.

  1. Energy & Climate Action: How can we provide access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all?
  2. Environment: How can we avoid depletion or degradation of natural resources and allow for long-term environmental quality?
  3. Products & Services: How can we support the development of more Sustainable Products & Services?
  4. Finance: How can we nudge the transformation to a more sustainable economy?
  5. Value Chains: How can we design more circular life cycles, including material sourcing, production, consumption and disposal/recycling process?
  6. People & Safety: How can we maintain a healthy and safe work- and living environment, for everyone impacted by a business?
What happens from the moment I found a challenge?

You will only find a specific business challenge to work on, within the impacthon itself. During the impacthon you will have the opportunity to join one business challenge of interest, within your sustainability track. You’ll discuss with others about solutions and form a team with which you develop a solution together. 

Disclaimer: 
The purpose of the impacthon is not to develop custom-made solutions for the specific business challenges posed. These specific business challenges function as a strong foundation, inspiration and validation for the design of system-changing solutions. The aim is to develop multi-stakeholder solutions, benefiting business- and society at larger scale. By the end of the Impacthon, you will be part of a multidisciplinary team that aims to work towards the validation of their solution throughout the circle17 impacthon and further programme.

What are the rules for final team formations?

Do you have a project solution in mind to one of the business challenges posed? Then it’s time to look for team members to get ready to rumble! You can either look for members within your sustainability track or post an open-call to look for others who want to join you. 

Team Size: 
Our experience proves that the most efficient team has about 4 to 8 people. Set up the team to cover all required roles like necessary developers, DevOps, designers, a project manager, team lead or visionary. Consider involving specialist from both the corporate-, Not for Profit and Startup area, to get the product or service ready in 3 days!

Can you not find your team members?
From the experience, you can definitely kickstart your hackathon experience with a team of 2 people, but you can’t finish if you are missing team members. You will just have too much work to do. 

In case you are a team of only 1 – 3 people or your team only exists out of one type of expertise (e.g. designers), please let the organisers know.



What can be submitted as a final result in the impacthon?

The solutions developed can be both digital and analogue. The minimal requirement, is that the solution is developed through a collaboration between at least 2 parties.

What happens to the project solutions after the Impacthon?

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 Coaching Program supports this.

During a two-month online 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!

Within the circle17 matchmaking event, the matured ideas will be presented to a larger crowd of potential partners, that could support the development of the project on various levels (e.g. testing, scaling, network, financials, etc.). 

During the circle17 touchdown event, the final projects will be showcased and collaborations celebrated.

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Challenge Leads

Challenge Leads are corporate- and non-profit organisations, who submitted specific challenges that they face in one or more sustainability areas.

Are there prerequisites for participation?

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 not only benefit your business-, but also society at larger scale? 

Do you have internet access and an email address? Then nothing stands in your way to participate in the circle17 programme!

How can I get involved as a Challenge Lead?

The circle17 programme is running along 5-phases. You as a Challenge host, have the opportunity to get actively involved into the program from either the (1) Discovery phase and/or the (2) Impacthon phase onwards.

The (3) Coaching, (4) matchmaking and (5) touchdown event are for the Impacthon participants only. 

Do you want to attend the (4) matchmaking event only. Please check out the “sponsor” opportunities. 

PHASE 1: DISCOVERY 
Would you like to get the opportunity to explore how circular economy & ultimately the contribution to the SDGs can help your business to become more resilient? Through a series of three engaging workshops, circle17 provides guidance on defining your sustainability challenge. Look at the workshops available now, through this link & register quickly!

PHASE 2: IMPACTHON
Do you want to design, test, and execute moonshot ideas that will help you to deal with certain sustainability challenges, in- and outside your organisation? Would you like to create new, competitive and resilient project solutions and business models for the future? 

Join the circle17 Impacthon, a 3-day online hackathon, running from NOV 19 -22! 

Registrations for Challenge Hosts open early October. 

*participation to the workshops is not required for access to the circle17 impacthon. However, highly recommended in order to enjoy full support in the formulation of your sustainability challenges.

How much does it cost to join?

Corporates that participate as Challenge Leads are asked to contribute a participation fee of 3000,- EUR (excl. 10% USt.). respACT-members and AustrianStartups-partners are offered a 20% discount on the price. For more info on additional benefits besides the participation please see our partnership proposal.

circle17 aims to nudge sustainable development, thus NPOs and NGOs are exempt from fees, however we would love to establish a win-win relationship.

Who of my organisation should get involved?

It is incredibly important that there is clear ownership of the multiple vital roles needed, in order to host a challenge within the circle17 programme.. Otherwise, responsibilities might be unclear or shift, which is harmful to success.

We therefore would like you to consider the Internal and External Stakeholders involved in the sustainability challenge, who can support in the identification and execution of a solution.

Who are the Internal Stakeholders?
Determine all the internal stakeholders, which include employees (innovation, CSR, IT Management, etc.) sponsors, key contact (for the duration of the circle17 development program), and the pilot lead. How can the internal stakeholders be engaged throughout the programme to build up your collaboration potential?

Who are the External Stakeholders? 
Determine all the external stakeholders, which include Suppliers, Clients, and Partners. How will these external stakeholders be involved and engaged in the circle17 development programme to build up your collaboration potential?

What challenges can I submit?

Our aim is to develop community-driven solutions to community-sourced challenges. 

We do this by focusing on sourcing challenges from corporates and non-profit organisations, government and health institutions. Challenges that are concrete, and for which in 72h a MVP or prototype can be developed. 

The final aim of the impacthon, is to facilitate the opportunity for a great variety of disciplines/expertise to develop solutions to these challenges, and to facilitate a stable foundation through which these solutions can accelerate in their development. 

Do you have a suggestion for a challenge that the teams should work on during the impacthon? You can provide challenges in the following 6 sustainability challenges areas.

  1. Energy & Climate Action: How can we provide access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all?
  2. Environment: How can we avoid depletion or degradation of natural resources and allow for long-term environmental quality?
  3. Products & Services: How can we support the development of more Sustainable Products & Services?
  4. Finance: How can we nudge the transformation to a more sustainable economy?
  5. Value Chains: How can we design more circular life cycles, including material sourcing, production, consumption and disposal/recycling process?
  6. People & Safety: How can we maintain a healthy and safe work- and living environment, for everyone impacted by a business?

Registrations for Challenge Hosts are not open yet. Are you interested in hosting a challenge, and do you want more information? Please get in contact with our team!



What do the outcomes of the impacthon look like?

The purpose of the impacthon is not to develop custom-made solutions for the specific business challenges posed. These specific business challenges function as a strong foundation, inspiration and validation for the design of system-changing solutions. 

The aim is to develop multi-stakeholder solutions, benefiting business- and society at larger scale. By the end of the Impacthon, your organisation will be part of a multidisciplinary team that aims to work towards the validation of their solution throughout the circle17 impacthon and further programme.

What criteria are used to select challenges?

Due to a high demand of inquiries, we cannot take all challenges submitted into consideration for the impacthon. Moreover, we aim to always provide practical and clear challenges, for which a concept solution can be developed within 72 hours. 

We therefore select the challenges submitted, based on the following criteria:

  • Impact
  • quality
  • practicability
  • Existing solution
What if there are two similar challenges submitted?

Our first main goal is to source as many challenge cases as possible. This in order to be able to facilitate a beautiful playground for multi-stakeholder collaboration, towards the design of solutions not only benefiting business in specific, but an industry and society as a whole. 

Do you see a challenge submission that is similar to yours? Perfect, come on board! Only with your knowledge we can bundle bridges of knowledge, crack the challenge and make the case study for systemic change even more specific.

What if I don’t have any challenge ideas, but I want to contribute?

We are happy to have you here with us. You can sign up as a sponsor, and contribute with resources e.g. experts, mentors, technological support or financial support to the development of the ideas.

Mentors

We’re looking for mentors who can coach the participants during the impacthon, and experts who can answer questions along the circle17 programme. 

How can I become a Mentor?

We’re looking for super-hero mentors to help the teams of problem solvers. Are you an expert in one of the sustainability track areas? Do you want to share your know-how with our interdisciplinary teams, learn from the current business challenges and support a multi-stakeholder team in the facilitation of their idea/development? 

Our participants need your skills, knowledge, and experience to create system-level solutions. Do you consider yourself a bearer of knowledge and experiences, do you want to contribute by providing your expertise for free? Do not hesitate and send us your application!

Sign-up as a mentor, and get connected with a broad network of Social Innovators. 

We’ll help you coordinate all the processes and use your valuable time as efficiently as possible. 

Registrations will open early October.

How much time will it take me?

More information is coming soon. 

Sponsors

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! 

How can I contribute as a sponsor for the circle17 program?

There are several ways through which you become a sponsor – whether donating their time as mentors, participating as teams or providing financial support. 

How it could look like:

  1. Funding & financial sources The circle17 programme is a non-profit establishment, aimed at the development of resilient and sustainable business solutions. Funds are needed in order to support the teams after the circle17 project, to push their service live as quickly as possible and to create a stronger fundament for the development of resilient ideas within circle17.
  2. Prizes:
    Support can also be in the form of material prizes in support of moving the teams forward on lightning speed (Software/IT, Telecom, Insurance, etc.). This could be in other forms such as mentoring during as well as after the event, in the form of acceleration/incubation programs or any other form of workshop that can support the teams with their ideas.
  3. Technological infrastructure:
    We are looking for companies who are willing to provide their services to the participants during the impacthon in order to set up the infrastructure to work remotely.
  4. Mentors:
    We are also still looking for mentors who can donate their time as super-advisors. Further information you can find in the Mentor section of the FAW.
  5. Challenge 
    Do you have a suggestion for a challenge that our teams should work on during the impacthon, but do you not have any internal or external resources to partake in the programme yourself? We are happy to hear from you. 

Media

Want to spread the word about circle17? Or interest in covering our event in your blog, magazine, podcast, etc.? Feel free reach out to us!

With who can I get in contact?

Press inquiries for interviews and statements in advance or afterwards can be shared with Elena Beringer through email: [email protected]

Where can I find the press package?

Inquiries for press materials can be shared with Elena Beringer through email: [email protected]

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