Here we publish the results of our extensive fieldwork and research. Many are referenced in the official reports by the United Nations Secretary-General and the European Commission, and become the source of policy-making at the European and international levels.

Reviving Rural Europe: A Sustainable Vision for 2040 and Beyond

In an era marked by hypergrowth, a pressing need arises to address the challenges of overcrowded cities and underdeveloped rural territories within the European Union. The article invites readers to consider the potential of rural alternatives and a shift towards a more balanced and equitable future. Press here to read the article

Report from the SDG Networking Forum 2023

AlterContacts' SDG Networking Forum 2023 united 80 delegates worldwide to advance Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to clean water, clean energy, innovation, sustainable cities, and partnerships. It facilitated dialogue, showcased projects, and generated valuable insights. Read here

mOther Earth Reports

Rebuilding the Social Fabric of Rural Villages in Spain

Strategic plan for the government of Galicia, Spain, a sustainable ecosystem of "villages of the future" to address the demographic crisis of the region. Portfolio of 26 projects in three phases: a network of Living Labs, prototypes of sustainably-integrated business models, and public-private partnerships aimed at setting the social and economic conditions for a gradual repopulation in less than a decade. Press here to learn more

Fieldwork in Aldeas Modelo, Spain

In October 2022, Think Tank AlterContacts conducted fieldwork in five villages that are part of the program Aldeas Modelo. The objective of the fieldwork was to collect data supporting a set of project proposals to recreate the socio-economic fabric of the rural areas of Galicia. Press here to find the results of the fieldwork

Altercontacts co-founder Julia Skupchenko working with a group of children in the elementary school of Silleda, Spain

Community dialogue starts with the youngest

We asked 260 children between 3 and 12 years old how they see the future of their village. All the children are students of the public primary and nursery school CEIP Plurilingüe de Silleda located in a region of Spain - Galicia. The event was part of the United Nations registered initiative - mOther Earth. Press here to read the report on the event

artesania rural de la comunidad de Silleda, en Galicia

Fieldwork in Silleda, Spain

In October 2022, our co-founder carried out fieldwork in the village of Silleda, Galicia. We are very grateful to the wonderful people of Galicia for their hospitality, good spirit, and sharing their love for the region. Here we introduce local organizations and businesses. Press here to read the results of the fieldwork

Sustainable Corporate Villages

On November 16, at the 7th Future Workplaces Summit by Luxatia International, the co-founders of Think Tank AlterContacts hosted a workshop to explore how Sustainable Corporate Villages can become the Workplace of the Future. Together with 35 participants and an open dialogue, they explored the path to realizing this part of the mOther Earth program. Press here to read the reports from the events

Las aldeas del futuro - mOther Earth

Initial Concept Note

mOther Earth is an international program to revive rural areas by mobilizing local youth and contributing to a green, digital and resilient recovery of their economy. It is officially recognized and published by the United Nations as the SDG Acceleration Action #SDGAction46967. One of the phases of the program was rolled out in rural Spain as Villages of the Future - Las Aldeas del Futuro. Press here to read more in English.

Leer mas del programa en Español aqui.

Familias Emprendedoras

Propuesta para fomentar el espíritu emprendedor en la comunidades rurales y menos privilegiadas, mediante la formación técnica para la identificación de oportunidades y el desarrollo de unidades productivas; que les permita a las familias la generación de ingresos y el mejoramiento de la calidad de vida de sus integrantes. El líder de esta iniciativa es el Dr. Lucimio Jiménez Paternina, Decano de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Administrativas, CECAR, Colombia. Press here to read more

Laboratorio de Innovación Ciudadana en Colombia

Citizen-driven, social innovation laboratory to address institutional gaps in the justice system of the country. AlterContacts delivered the high-level design of the lab, the systemic plan for public engagement, and the project plan, to the Procuraduría General de la Nación de Colombia. Press here to read the project proposal

Upcoming Book

In 2024, the cofounders of the Think Tank AlterContacts, Julia Skupchenko and Massimo Mercuri, will release a new book uncovering the secrets of sustainable activism. They will share unique insights on how to activate, engage, and mobilize people for good.

Conference Abstracts

Defining a Systemic Approach to SDG Impact Assessment on the Example of Small Enterprises in the Context of Regional and Local Communities.

The paper "Lockdown Economy Challenge as an Enabler for Remote Cross-university Social Action Towards Sustainable Development" was done in collaboration with Epoka University, Anahuac Mayab University, "Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Pontifical Bolivarian University.

Lockdown Economy Country Reports

Lockdown Economy Books

featuring collections of interviews with small business owners from each location. Available on Amazon.

Lockdown Economy Case Studies

A Look at the Tourism Sector in France.

A case study of a Woman Entrepreneur in Cyprus.

Exploring challenges faced by an online sleep consultancy run by a ‘mumpreneur” in Lebanon.

The pandemic impacted companies working in close cooperation with the information and technology sector and became the driving force for digital transformation.

Here are the key challenges that small agricultural businesses in the United Arab Emirates are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and how the government can help.

A small consultancy firm in Malta shares from its privileged observatory the opportunities and difficulties of being a small company during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overcoming Challenges Faced by Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

While the gig economy is quickly gaining ground among students and employees, its effects entail a double burden that inflicts both psychological and organizational repercussions on a Romania-based Web Design company.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, when most of the businesses were shutting down, some HORECA entrepreneurs defied the market trends and took the leap of faith.

In this story, the small business owner from Paris reflects on her experience of sustaining her cooking school through the pandemic.

Herein, thirty interviews including three follow-ups of small business owners from thirteen countries, conducted by Lockdown Economy from June 2020 to April 2021, are analyzed.

Here are four Lockdown Economy interviews from the Philippines, United Arab Emirates, India, and Nepal that revealed effective strategies to grow a business during this pandemic.

Five travel business owners from France, Mexico, Nepal, Indonesia, and the US shared how their businesses were affected, what measures they are taking to adapt to the new situation, and what help they still need for the near future.

Four small business owners from Nepal, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Lebanon reveal effective strategies to survive during this pandemic.

 Everyone knows that the coronavirus has caused many small businesses to go bankrupt. But why have some of these businesses survived? This is what Julia Skupcheko explores in her masterclass for the MBA students.

If you run a catering business for gatherings and events, the current situation makes you seriously wonder about the future of your company.

This story reveals the struggles of a woman-entrepreneur in charge of a sustainable fashion venture.

By Lockdown Economy Volunteers

By Lockdown Economy Students

These articles were prepared by the students of Epoka University in the framework of the course "Operations Management"

Earlier Publications

From the beginning of the crisis, the online space became the main market for entrepreneurs and especially small businesses. But the countless 'freebies' made it nearly impossible to make a profit.

“The majority of games are about “either I live or you live”… Independently from the polemic among researchers, our families are exposed to violence even in the most simple games. My idea is to make games safe for the people who play them. I have seen and prototyped alternative ways to build entertainment without negative influences: just to enjoy and be playful in whatever way you feel.”

What started as one person’s idea turned into a global social movement three months later — one that was supported by universities and recognized by the United Nations, involved a team of 70 people and reached thousands of entrepreneurs around the world.

The pandemic pushed thousands of small businesses to the edge of closing. Here is what you can do.

These are the stories of real people who chose to be their own boss and were faced with something that the world has never seen before.

In case you do have to look for monetary support to get your startup going, here are a few things that you might want to prepare before you ask for it.

This article is based on the insights shared in informal conversations by executives and employees of Fortune 500 companies.

More than 2,000 ideas were proposed during the Hackathon #EUvsVirus. Now you can help to bring them to life.

Tips to help you slow down, save your energy, and stay positive in the time of crisis.

The main challenge in business is lack of trust. What principles will guide European entrepreneurship in the new decade?

It's time to change our everyday actions from fixating on short-term gains and start looking ahead to the future of cooperation and possibilities.

Learn how these inspiring women turn the challenges into their winning qualities and conquer the business world.

Three simple steps that will allow you to turn things around and start making money instead of draining them.

Do you know that feeling of fear and urgency that you have to find clients, you have to make money, you absolutely don’t have time to rest?

Even in one of the startup capitals of the World, the most common question among sole entrepreneurs is 'Where do I meet people like me?'

The most common challenge for entrepreneurs is getting more customers. So what is standing between you and them?

We all contribute to each other’s well-being in a sustainable way and we all are here to stay. Our focus is the future.

What the Most Assertive People Know, Do and Say. Being assertive means that you are self-assured know what you want from life, are happy to stand up for yourself and have the respect of those around you. It looks at what it means to be assertive in today's world. As well as containing plenty of exercises and case studies, it also includes a personal plan which can be adapted by you to suit the issues you are facing.

In the following pages, it is proposed that multiple, small radiation field effects transistors (RADFET) can be used to measure the space environment, including the radiation energies, fluxes and exposure geometry, around KUTEsat, a small cubical microsatellite.

The article discusses the inclusion of simulation and virtualization technologies into training exercises in an area of defense.

Currently, we are likely reaching a peak in design thinking. But how can a human-centered design philosophy improve systems that may never be seen or touched by a human after installation?

How do you program a robot car? Why does an engineer need a philosopher?

The research summarizes the results of introduction studies of woody plants of the Botanical Garden of the Institute of Biology, the Komi Scientific Center, the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences for the period from 1946 to 2002.

The constant conflict between the institutions dedicated to the care of the historical heritage and the marketing strategies to promote the image of Mexico through entertainment events in archaeological zones continues in a constant rivalry.

One of four dies in Western societies due to neurodegenerative diseases. In a seminal work, we have concentrated on most devastating ones including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy, multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and pinpointed to possible new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches focusing on the subtle changes happening in the microbiome several decades before the onset of the disease.

Food with a favourable tryptophan/LNAA ratio lifts mood in healthy young women. Consumption of this food modulates reward, fear and resting state neural processing.

The discriminant analysis revealed that Oregano Extract’s pattern of activity locates in close vicinity to antidepressant and neuroprotective compound. The presented data support the hypothesis suggesting the use of Oregano Extract as a neuroprotective dietary supplement to promote mood, motivation and mental wellbeing.

This review focuses on specific alterations of gut microbiota mostly observed in autistic patients. Particularly, the mechanisms through which such alterations may trigger the production of the bacterial metabolites or leaky gut in autistic people are described.

The gut microbiome affects virtually all aspects of human health, but the degree of scientific evidence, the models and technologies and the understanding of mechanisms of action vary considerably from one benefit area to the other.

In Colombia, the Health industry is restricted from vertically integrating the Health Management Organizations (EPS) with the Health Service Providers (IPS) in order to avoid antitrust competitive conditions. However, the empirical evidence in this regard is inconclusive. 

The Social Security System in Health of Colombia, is criticized by different mainstream media due to its high transaction costs, low competitiveness and efficiency. The question arises about the contribution made by the Colombian Academy on the reflection over the health system during its twenty years of existence. The aim of the study was to characterize the contribution of academic publications to the reflection on the Colombian health system over the last twenty years.