Energy & Climate Action

Challenge Track

Energy & Climate Action

How can we provide access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all? How to protect and maintain our environmental resources?

Why Sustainable Energy
and Climate Action?

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the key driver for global warming. Considering that more than one third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions originate from the energy sector, the circle17 emphatically calls for an immediate transformation of the world’s energy system with massive uptake of renewables and steadily increasing energy efficiency.

Renewable forms of energy and decarbonising innovations that prevent and reduce CO2-emissions are key if the world is to reach the agreed-upon climate goals!  

Sustainable Energy & Climate Action covers a wide range of issues starting from challenges regarding a specific location to a global dimension.  Do you have an idea, or do you want to co-create alongside a network of experts? Learn more about the challenges below & sign-up now!

Global issues comprise concerns about: 

  • Promoting decarbonization and a CO2-neutral energy consumption ( in the power-, industry-, building-, transport and agricultural sector). 
  • Renewable & Sustainable Energy technologies, increasing the share of renewables in the energy matrix and reducing global energy demand through energy efficiency and energy reduction. 
  • Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters
  • Clean technology to prevent & reduce air pollution, 
  • Contributing to the EU Green Deal: Paving the path for a CO2-neutral Europe, increasing the electrification pathway for all end-use sectors.

While the location-specific issues are for instance:

  • Co2- compensation, becoming neutral, reducing energy bills, 
  • increasing awareness of climate-related energy issues, 
  • managing the transition from a dependency to self-sufficiency
  • and investing in energy efficiency.

Impact Experts

Within the circle17 impacthon, multidisciplinary teams will be connected with impact experts to reflect, exchange and develop the best possible understanding of their sustainability challenge, and a systemic and sustainable solution.

Challenge Track Partners

We are extremely thankful for all Challenge Track Partners, who ensure that the industry’s top knowledge is represented.

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.

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.

How does the circle17 program work?

The circle17 programme consists of three phases. 


The discovery is all set to identify and determine the most critical sustainability challenges. Corporates and Civil Society leading the change particiapte in two consecutive workshops (hosted by circle17) to explore trends and define challenges within the sustainable development goals.

Learn more about the programme’s offer on our Lead the change-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.


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. 

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:

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

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.

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?.

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? Contact us!

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