Resolution Circle – The ecosystem for technology solutions

Resolution Circle – The ecosystem for technology solutions

Resolution Circle was established in 2012 as a support mechanism for engineering diploma students requiring work integrated learning. Headquartered in Milpark, Johannesburg, and closely allied with the University of Johannesburg, it operates as an independent commercial company that receives no subsidies for operational expenses. By instead verifying that all activities are economically sustainable, the organisation believes that this ensures closer alignment with industry and guarantees efficiency as a result.

Resolution Circle offers both workshop-based training skills and experiential work skills. “We chose technology commercialisation as the vehicle to support experiential work skills,” explains CEO, Prof. Willem Clarke. “Overall, I would say the primary goal is to increase employment through the vehicles of both experiential training and startups (mostly developing new technology).A key goal is also to act as a third stream revenue generator for our shareholder, the University of Johannesburg.”

 The organisation is divided into two main areas in accordance with its mission: experiential training and technology commercialisation. As a commercialisation company, it has developed a process called ‘Idea-to-Barcode’ which provides a standard mechanism to take a product from a concept to its launch into the market. This includes everything from business development, fundraising, prototyping, engineering and industrial design, to design for manufacturing, mould and toolmaking, small-scale manufacturing and marketing support.

“In addition to this process, we have a well-developed support system, infrastructure and skills to support a startup in its journey to the market. From an investor perspective, we offer a fixed price quote of the costs associated with commercialisation, and reduced risk,” Clarke says.

To date, Resolution Circle has graduated over 1800 students and supported over 50 product development projects in 2017 alone. “We are proud to have been selected as one of FastCompany’s top 25 most innovative companies in South Africa,” Clarke continues. “A great source of pride is also that we have been selected as executing on several commercialisation/innovation programmes launched by various large companies.”

Smooth sailing is never guaranteed when launching an innovative, ambitious organisation like this, and Clarke admits there have been challenges: “The first few years have been difficult as we had to establish our infrastructure (roughly R200 million worth), develop a business model and operate as a commercial company responsible for our own expenses, all at the same time. Many lessons were learned during this process, sometimes at great cost. However, as we progressed, we were able to refine the business model, develop our Idea-to-Barcode process and understand the intricacies of running a complex business like this.

“I believe we have reached our goals. We reached breakeven in five years with a very complex and innovative business model and managed to establish a brand in the market with regards to both commercialisation and workshop-based training programmes. Going forward, our aim is to achieve profitability and growth, but also to improve our impact on the South African economy and job statistics. This will be achieved by focusing on our core skills, refining our model and processes, and working on achieving economies of scale.”

For more information contact Resolution Circle, +27 (0)10 020 3300,,