Catalyst Program

Each year the BFC program awarded resources and support to an additional 40-60 projects through our Catalyst Program (including semifinalists, finalists, and the winner). The broader Catalyst Program group included projects that represented the top 20% of the entry pool. Benefits of the Catalyst Program included opportunities for additional funding, pro-bono legal services, fast-track access to accelerator programs, mentorship opportunities, and international press coverage.

In 2013, we created a Catalyst Program in order to extend the resources and support to more projects. Catalyst Program entrants typically constituted the top 20% of the entry pool, and were vetted by the review team. While these projects did not necessarily fulfill the BFC criteria to the degree that the semifinalists did, they were projects that excelled in their particular discipline or problem space.

Benefits of the Catalyst Program included opportunities for additional funding, pro-bono legal services, fast-tracked access to accelerator programs, mentorship opportunities, and international press coverage. In total we were able to extend over $750,000 in additional funding and support to qualified projects.

For example, In 2013 and 2014, select applicants were the recipients of additional funding procured through BFI. In 2015 and 2016, the BFC staff vetted Catalyst Program projects to receive grants from the World Centric giving program. Over the years, the Catalyst Program pool served as a source of rigorously vetted projects for other award programs, and our projects were recognized by the Autodesk Foundation, the World Habitat Awards, the World Design Impact Prize, The Roddenberry Foundation, the INDEX: Award, the Biomimicry Institute, and more. In some cases, as with the Katerva Awards, the BFC program served as a global spotter, and projects from our entry pool were automatically nominated.

Qualifying NGOs and social enterprises benefited from pro-bono legal assistance via BFI's referral process with the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global TrustLaw program. Up to two Fuller Challenge entrants had the opportunity to be selected from the general entry pool for nomination as Echoing Green Fellows each year in fulfillment of the BFC's Fast Track partnership with Echoing Green. Qualifying innovators were referred for inclusion in dMASS Inc.'s depository of innovations, which facilitates the relationship between resource performance leaders and investors. Qualifying solutions were also referred for inclusion in Technology Exchange Lab's depository of appropriate technology solutions for issues of poverty. Select entrants were invited to present their work at future Bioneers conferences.

Additional opportunities to present work at events organized by BFI included Greenbuild, Architecting the Future symposia, Black Mountain College International Conference, The Cooper Union Institute of Sustainable Design lectures, and other international symposia on Buckminster Fuller, sustainable culture events, design conferences and social entrepreneurship gatherings.

Academy for Systems Change
2017 Catalyst Program

The online, open-source Systems Change Fieldbook will make tools and practices accessible for those leading deep, systemic change and developing this field of knowledge. This multimedia resource will build capacity for an expanding network of leaders to practice awareness-based systemic change for the wellbeing of communities, economies, and ecosystems.

Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMP)
2017 Catalyst Program

Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform is a transnational STEAM*-powered, intercultural/interclass stellate design initiative to transform the materials processing and recycling zone of Agbogbloshie scrapyard typified in global media as the world's biggest e-waste dump meme into a human-spatial network for distributed manufacturing and digital fabrication to drive a global circular economy.

Airponix Ltd
2017 Catalyst Program

Our mission is to further develop our technology to help eliminate world hunger. The optimum Airponix soilless agricultural system uses nutrient containing water fogs (not mists) to grow food crops in low-cost climate-change resilient protective enclosures, minimising environmental impact with radically improved yields (20 times) and water savings (85%).

2017 Catalyst Program

Our mission is to bring simplicity and dignity to women's health worldwide. We manufacture and distribute low-cost, high-quality products carefully designed to meet the unique needs of women in low-resource settings, comprehensively targeting the entire Continuum of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCH+A) for intergenerational well-being.

Boston Ujima Project
2017 Catalyst Program

THE BOSTON UJIMA PROJECT is a democratically governed multi-stakeholder organization, building a community-controlled business and finance ecosystem in Boston. We are challenging poverty and developing our communities by pooling our investment, consumer and political capital, to grow local wealth and ownership while meeting our own needs.

2017 Catalyst Program

BoxPower seeks to facilitate off-grid electrification in low-income rural populations by providing consumers with hybrid renewable microgrids. Our hope is that our energy systems plug-and-play units built around standard 20 ft. shipping containers will help lay the foundations for a sustainable future, starting with the most economically vulnerable populations.

Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm
2017 Catalyst Program

In an effort to make our rooftop farms as ecological as possible, the Brooklyn Grange team will design and build a water capture system that collects and stores rain and irrigation water on the roof surface, rather than letting it go down the drain.

Built for Zero
2017 Catalyst Program

Built for Zero, an initiative of Community Solutions, works with 70 communities across the United States to help them end chronic and veteran homelessness.

Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab
2017 Catalyst Program

Buoyant Ecologies is a collaborative research platform that synthesizes architectural design, marine ecology, and digital fabrication to explore new approaches to constructing resilient waterfront structures. The project's ambition is to develop compelling strategies for designing and fabricating scalable resilient coastal structures that enhance the biodiversity of the surrounding ecology.

Coral Vita
2017 Catalyst Program

Coral Vita farms corals to restore dying reefs. We grow corals up to 50x faster while strengthening their resilience against climate change. By revitalizing biodiversity, boosting fisheries, sheltering shorelines, and strengthening local economies, we can help preserve coral reefs and the valuable benefits the provide for over 1B people globally.

Empower Generation
2017 Catalyst Program

Empower Generation (EG) seeds and supports women-led clean energy enterprises serving Nepal's energy poor. We envision a world where women lead the clean energy revolution, reducing deforestation and fossil fuel use. Our entrepreneur network enables clean energy technology suppliers access to remote markets where their products are in high demand.

Fruit Futures Initiative Gary
2017 Catalyst Program

Fruit Futures (FFIG) re-imagines post-urban Gary IN, with multipurpose plantings of fruiting trees. As a critical alternative to sustainable (re)development, cooperative landscapes link the region's geography to the biochemistry of fruit, engaging citizen scientists to reboot soil, study microclimate, and explore favorite and forgotten small fruits towards resilient cultural futures.

2017 Catalyst Program

LOCATION: New Delhi, India

SUMMARY: GOONJ is challenging traditional models of treating old household material as charity instead turning it into powerful tool for social change and a new currency for rural development. Instead of charity this material is given as reward, with dignity to rural communities solving their problems with their own wisdom.

2017 Catalyst Program

BeeTech leverages powerful bioremediation modalities to remedy denuded, toxic, and radioactive sites. Our platform is low-tech, but exponentially effective, scalable to global scope, and two orders of magnitude less expensive than conventional methods. It's also congruent with indigenous cultures such as the Navajo Way of Beauty.

International Indigenous Design Charter
2017 Catalyst Program

The primary aim of this policy/systems design project is to develop an International Indigenous Design Charter. Its mission is to guide designers (indigenous and non-indigenes) on the appropriate use of Indigenous knowledge and culture in communication design and associated areas of design practice.

2017 Catalyst Program

With a unique social franchise model, Jibu has developed a holistic solution to health, employment and infrastructural challenges of the developing world. Jibu equips and finances aspiring entrepreneurs to make drinking water and other health-improving products accessible and affordable to entire communities.

2017 Catalyst Program

Joro is a high resolution real-time emission tracking tool strategically designed to reduce energy consumption, and break down the barriers that inhibit individuals, corporations, and governments from engaging in ecologically sustainable behavior. Our mission: move energy consumption and embodied carbon to the forefront of the individual decision making process.

Kabadiwalla Connect
2017 Catalyst Program

Inspired by the local Kabadiwalla, who are small scrap aggregators found in Indian cities & cities in the developing world, our ICT platform helps lower barriers that prevent residents from participating in recycling and composting, leveraging the informal waste ecosystem and helping divert waste from the landfill.

2017 Catalyst Program

Kheyti's mission is to help smallholder farmers battle income variability through affordable technologies integrated with services. We currently offer farmers our "Greenhouse-in-a-Box", an low-cost, modular greenhouse bundled with end-to-end support. Our vision is to help 1 million small farmers break the cycle of poverty by 2025.

2017 Catalyst Program

Kulisha works with food and beverage companies to convert organic waste byproducts into protein input made from insects for use in animal feeds. We've developed a biological system that uses microbial communities and black soldier fly larvae to metabolize waste, cutting disposal costs and offering a sustainable alternative to fishmeal.