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.