What started as a gathering of students in 1945 has become one of the must-attend events on Austria’s calendar. The European Forum Alpbach gathers together industry thought leaders from the arenas of science, politics, business and culture every year for 3 weeks of conversations that shape Austria’s future. In fact, this year there were 939 speakers and more than 3,600 visitors from 90 different countries!

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Impact Hub Vienna has been involved with the forum for the past 7 years, but it was only this year that we were able to break through the glass ceiling. This year Impact Hub Vienna was included in the closing plenary of the political symposium, cementing its role as a key player in the forum and bringing in other Impact Hubs across Europe. Not only are we changing the format of this conversation, we are sitting front and center.

“We are looking back at a long and fruitful partnership with the European Forum Alpbach and it is fantastic to see that we have been able to extend this partnership to the European Impact Hub network. A rapidly growing number of institutions and decision makers are realising the need to combine a top-down policy making approach with the energy of the growing bottom-up grassroots movement, which the Impact Hub network is representing,  in order to maximise impact. The European Forum Alpbach is the perfect platform for these forces to merge and we are honoured to have been invited to sit at the table.”

Matthias Reisinger, Co-found & Director, Impact Hub Vienna

Because of the relationship developed by Impact Hub Vienna, this year, 14 Impact Hubs from across Europe were represented at the forum. Gabriela Gandal, Managing Director of Impact Hub was asked to chair the plenary on sustainable development, which was comprised of ventures from Impact Hubs across Europe. The mere existence of this plenary is proof that the work of the Impact Hub network is being seen as integral to the future of Vienna.

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During this plenary, Simon Schmitz, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Office of clean energy provider aWATTar this year was a speaker and spoke with passion about his work, a cleaner future and the role of social entrepreneurs in creating change. This couldn’t be truer for Impact Hubs, where social entrepreneurs gather every day to take action on things that matter most.

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Other entrepreneurs from the Impact Hub network that spoke during the plenary included:

  • Baptiste Carriere-Pradal, VICE PRESIDENT EUROPE, SUSTAINABLE APPAREL COALITION, AMSTERDAM
  • Mona Mijthab, FOUNDER & DESIGNER, MOSAN MOBILE SANITATION, ZURICH
  • Paula Peters, GLOBAL DIRECTOR LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT, CHANGE.ORG, BERLIN
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, DIRECTOR, THE EARTH INSTITUTE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK
  • Clare Sutcliffe, CO-FOUNDER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CODE CLUB; EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMUNITIES & OUTREACH, RASPBERRY PI FOUNDATION, LONDON

With so many Impact Hubs in the same location, this gathering could be viewed as a test case for an annual internal European Impact Hub event, allowing all Hub’s to have their voice as part of the conversation.

“In the past years, the global Impact Hub movement really helped put social entrepreneurship on the map. Don’t underestimate its power in creating communities of peer-to-peer learning, inspiration and co-creation. The coming years will show if it can also help advocate for a radical transformation of our economic system. Does the Hub network have concepts at hand what a post-carbon society should look like? Opportunities for ‘utopian’ ideas to gain traction might not be so far away, so it better be prepared for the next challenge.”

Philippe Narval, Managing Director/European Forum Alpbach

So what is the next phase of the conversation? Only time will tell, but it will be sure to be a conversation you will want to be a part of.

All photos courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/forumalpbach/

 

Hayley Mill Digital storyteller. Self confessed travel addict. I love meeting people and telling stories. Australian but currently residing in Vienna and hoping to tick off as much of Europe as I […]

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