Application Period Extended for Nature-Inspired Startups Seeking to Compete for $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize
The Ray of Hope Prize ® celebrates nature-inspired solutions addressing the world’s biggest environmental and sustainability challenges.
The application period for the 2022 Ray of Hope Prize® has been extended until April 29th. The Ray of Hope Prize is organized by the Biomimicry Institute in partnership with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. The $100,000 Prize is awarded annually to the top nature-inspired startup.
Through the Ray of Hope Prize, the Biomimicry Institute recognizes the top nature-inspired startups in the world, helps to accelerate their growth, and amplify their stories with equity-free programmatic and financial support. Armed with nature’s billions of years of research and development, these startups are uniquely suited to address critical environmental and social issues at scale.
Unlike most accelerators, the Ray of Hope Prize is not industry, technology, or geography specific. Instead, each cohort is united by a drive to address one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Past recipients of the Prize include Spintex Engineering (UK, 2021), ECOncrete Tech (Israel, 2020), Watchtower Robotics (USA, 2019), and Nucleário (Brazil, 2018).
"From the perspective of former research scientists, winning the Ray of Hope Prize is the equivalent to passing peer review," said Michael S. Long, Ph.D., Founder & COO, Renaissance Fiber, LLC, a 2021 Ray of Hope Prize participant. Another participant from last year, Brent Cutcliffe, Co-Founder & COO of New Iridium, adds: "Not only was our startup elevated by the process, but the diversity of other viable nature-inspired solutions shows that we as humans are making serious progress against seemingly intractable problems.
"Any startup with a nature-inspired product, service, or technology with inherent social or environmental benefits may apply. The Institute is particularly interested in solutions that address carbon sequestration, climate change adaptation or mitigation, critical sustainability challenges, or any of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
In addition to the $100,000 grand prize, one participating startup will receive the $25,000 Runner-Up Prize, and an additional $25,000 will be split among the remaining finalist teams. Up to 10 startups will be selected as finalists for the prize by a panel of experts, including representatives from investment, sustainability, and biomimicry backgrounds.
The finalist teams will also receive in-depth support and training for their science communication storytelling and access to a wide range of corporate and investment leaders. Following the Ray of Hope Prize program, some participants have been able to secure additional investments thanks to network introductions, gain inbound leads from global media, attain paid proof-of-concept pilot contracts with major corporations, and increase sales.
The Institute is actively considering safety protocols in lieu of COVID-19 surges across the globe. Later in the year the organization will announce whether the Ray of Hope Prize program will return to offering a nature-immersion expedition for this cohort. Participants would benefit from a workshop in-person to focus on community building, leadership skills, and cultivating a sustainability ethos.
For more information on the official rules and how to apply, visit biomimicry.org/RayofHopePrize.
About the Biomimicry Institute
The Biomimicry Institute is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 2006 that empowers people to seek nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet. To advance the solution process, the Institute offers AskNature.org, a free online tool that contains strategies found in nature and examples of ways they are used in design. It also hosts a Youth Design Challenge to support project-based education; a Biomimicry Launchpad startup accelerator program; and the Ray of Hope Prize® for early-stage biomimetic companies to bring solutions to market. Most recently, the Institute launched a new collaborative initiative called Design for Decomposition which will pilot technologies that convert discarded clothes and textiles into biocompatible raw materials. For more information, visit biomimicry.org.
Biomimicry Institute, Communications Director