Applications Open for Nature-Inspired Startups to Receive $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize
The Ray of Hope Prize celebrates nature-inspired solutions addressing the world’s biggest environmental and sustainability challenges.
Applications are now open for the 2022 Ray of Hope Prize®, organized by the Biomimicry Institute in partnership with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. This $100,000 Prize is awarded annually to the top nature-inspired startup, and applications are due April 8, 2022.
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,” — Michael S. Long, Ph.D., Founder & COO, Renaissance Fiber, LLC
“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.” — Brent Cutcliffe, Co-Founder & COO of New Iridium
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.