Academy for Sustainable Development

Registered as SDG Partnership (#SDGAction43794) in the United Nations network of the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI)

New Program: Remote Experiential Learning

The program is tailor-made and will be run in a selected few universities setting them apart when it comes to remote engagement of students and their participation in social innovation. It was developed and tested during the pandemic to help most advanced schools engage students in remote social impact action, while being completely safe for all people involved. The United Nations is featuring it as an SDG Good Practice to follow.

Erasmus+ Grant for Cooperation partnerships in Higher Education

Think Tank AlterContacts got awarded the ERASMUS+ Grant for KA220-HED with the project PREVIEW - Promoting Resilience and Employability in uniVersity. The implementing consortium is led by the National Research Council of Italy, and includes the University of Sassari, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, University of Salamanca, Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University, Mediterranean Pearls, and Asociaţia de Dezvoltare Intercomunitară Harghita.

Making University Education More Dynamic

The program enables Educational Institutions to

  • Enhance Academic Innovation

  • Engage students remotely in international social action

  • Ensure smooth school-to-work transition

  • Enable students to practice active citizenship and sustainability mindset

  • Expose and prepare students for the reality of both entrepreneurial and work-life

  • Partake in the United Nations registered initiative, contribute to SDGs and receive measurable proof of that contribution

  • Improve the Index of the university, especially in Impact Ranking connected to SDGs

  • Increase university reputation and possibility for receiving financial support and certifications.

Impact on Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 4: Quality Education

Target 4.4: Increase the number of youth who have relevant skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.

Target 4.5: Eliminate all discrimination in education

Target 4.7: Education for sustainable development and global citizenship

SDG 8: Sustainable Economic Growth

Target 8.3: Promote entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation

Target 8.6: Promote youth employment, education and training

SDG 17: Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

Target 17.6: Knowledge sharing and cooperation for access to science, technology and innovation

Target 17.16: Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development

Target 17.17: Encourage effective partnerships

Supporting Global Youth

Across the globe, young people are being disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the world of work. Recent graduates are struggling to enter the labor market. We want to give young people opportunities to develop their potential to shape the future of the world.

Through AlterContacts Academy, we aim to

  • Equip educational institutions worldwide to facilitate school-to-work transition

  • Increase the success rate of graduate employment

  • Expose students to networks that provide opportunities for internships, further development, and employment worldwide

  • Provide students with opportunities for “hands-on” collaboration with international virtual teams from other cultures, using new digital methods

  • Help young people acquire digital literacy skills, entrepreneurial and transversal skills, and enable them to apply ICT to address challenges facing society

  • Give opportunities to students to start their professional careers by adding practical experience to their academic curriculum

  • Involve youth into being active global citizens

The AlterContacts Academy tackles three key societal issues: School-to-work transition; Youth development and employment; and Social inclusion.

It contributes to the main European programs: Next Generation EU, The Digital Agenda for Europe, The strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training 2020 (ET2020), the European Skills Agenda.


The Academy program is organized and coordinated by Think Tank AlterContacts. It is carried out through collaboration with local and regional partners, primarily universities and schools. There is no toll on partner resources.

Think Tank AlterContacts provides step-by-step guides and supporting materials on how to set it up and run it in any educational institution to assure the quality of the execution is consistent across geographies and different partnerships.

The Think Tank plays the role of integrator, connecting schools, universities and facilitating social innovation involving partners from a wide network of experts in the entrepreneurial and academic world. It involves local foundations, NGOs, government institutions, private organizations, and associations.

The set of 330+ small-business case studies for students represents 41 countries and 17 languages. That accounts for the local conditions in different parts of the world.

The program is fully digital which allows it to be remote, safe for health, and green.

Pilot projects hosted with

Other Programs

Master Thesis Collaboration with Erasmus University Rotterdam

This and more interviews from the field research you can find here.

From January to July 2021, an MSc student in Global Business & Sustainability at Rotterdam School of Management from the Erasmus University Rotterdam was working together with Lockdown Economy to understand and analyze how entrepreneurs are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her research focused on SDG 5 Gender Equality on the example of female entrepreneurs from The Netherlands. She explored how they are coping with the crisis, and what they need to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.

MBA course: Lockdown Economy Challenge

Pilot program hosted with the Anahuac Mayab University, Mexico, August 2020

Together with the Anahuac Mayab University in Mexico, and professor PhD Alejandro Kantun, in August 2020 we hosted the pilot of the Academy. It was a 3-weeks MBA course based on the information provided in the Lockdown Economy. Five small-business owners featured in the Lockdown Economy interviews were paired up with five teams of students to address the real business problems of the COVID-19. During three weeks, students worked together with experts to design a new approach and how to implement it. They had multiple conversations to do a reality check and align. It went as far as students actually having to test the ideas they were proposing with the local government and universities. We have seen a very positive reaction both from students and business owners. It was an alternative way to learn and the exposure they got to international business is priceless for their future.

Bachelor Course: Operations Management

Together with the Epoka University in Albania, and PhD Alba Kruja, from November 2020 to February 2021 we carried out the Operations Management Course for 150 Bachelor Students of the 3d year, based on the information provided in the Lockdown Economy. They conducted interviews with small businesses in Albania and prepared the analysis of their operations.

Lessons from the Lockdown Economy

The recording was done during the introductory lecture for 150 Bachelor students of Epoka University (Albania) to onboard them for the Lockdown Economy project.

This recording was done during the live class for the MBA students of the Anahuac Mayab University in Mexico. It was the launch of the pilot of the Lockdown Economy Academy by the Think Tank AlterContacts.

You can continue being active in business, even if the majority of the work is being postponed to “better times”. By partnering with various organizations and clients both on pro-bono and business bases you can reimagine and rebuild the future together. Learn from Poom Narudee Kristhanin, the CEO and Founder of Eureka Global, a transformation consultancy based in Thailand that has been active in the Asian market since 2006.

Most companies are focusing on business as usual, and very few are preparing for new uncertainties, scenarios and making the most of the opportunities that come up from the crisis. How can you understand your business better and how to spot unique opportunities in instability? Learn from Fabrizio Faraco, the founder of In Sprint, an Italian based facilitation business, that helps companies achieve success and autonomy.

Master Classes at the MBA program of the Anahuac Mayab University

By Gloria de Leon, the founder of boutique consultancy Ad Hoc that helps leaders to manage change and has been active on the Latin American market since 2007.

By Carlos Merlano, finance academic and business expert, a forward-thinking executive with a proven record of accomplishment in private and public companies during a 16-year career.

By Rishi Kapal, Stanford LEAD Alumni, Author of "Kites in a Hurricane" & "Managing Large Teams", Edtech & Innovations Expert, Transitions Coach

By Julia Skupchenko, Co-founder of the Think Tank Altercontacts, the Producer of the Lockdown Economy Initiative, business advisor and mentor.

By Poom Narudee Kristhanin, the CEO and Founder of Eureka Global, a transformation consultancy based in Thailand.

By Datje van Reijendam, Strategic Business and Impact Developer, the founder and principal consultant of Okumera Consulting; a strategic facilitator of project-based business mainly in development zones, especially in Africa.

Think Tank Webinars

How to become recognized as an expert in your field? How to build a "YOU" brand? Discover in this webinar by Anirvan Sen.

One of the ways to share knowledge is to give talks. How can you bring the message across and keep the attention of your audience? Find out in this webinar with Dannie-Lu Carr.

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