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.

Kulisha
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.

Local Innovation Ecosystems Initiative
2017 Catalyst Program

ORGANIZATION NAME: Massachusetts Institute of Technology D-Lab /

LOCATION: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Mangrove Reef Walls
2017 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: This project is a strategy for transforming urban waterfronts into thriving tidal habitats that simultaneously improve the marine environment and respond to human quality of life factors. We aim to capitalize on a well-placed intervention of flexible formwork within conventional casting process to emulate complex habitat structure of tidal ecosystems.

Marine Permaculture
2017 Catalyst Program

Warming ocean surface waters present an increasing energy barrier to natural overturning circulation, threatening seaweed-dependent ecosystems and the economic survival of coastal communities. Climate Foundation envisions Marine Permaculture (MP): semi-submerged foundations supporting marine ecosystems using renewable energy to restore overturning circulation, seaweed, and fisheries while fixing carbon and regenerating economies.

Masaai Livestock and Land Management Enterprise
2017 Catalyst Program

We will organize a Maasai Beef Enterprise in our village. Community health and education, water, feed storage, transportation, and herd management are limiting factors. We will address these limitations by boring a well that will be used for culinary water as well as livestock and irrigation water for gardens.

Materiome
2017 Catalyst Program

Materiome is a library of nature-inspired 3D printable materials. Local communities can contribute by measuring the properties of their materials with our toolkit. Our mission is to enable anyone, anywhere to use materials so elegant, so ingenious, that they serve human purpose on the largest scale, nourishing life itself.

Maya Universe Academy
2017 Catalyst Program

Maya Universe Academy is the first and only range of free private schools in Nepal that provides quality education to marginalized and cash poor communities, works to transform the local landscape into a classroom and alleviates poverty in the area by working at the intersection of education, entrepreneurship and environment.

Mishkaah Project
2017 Catalyst Program

ORGANIZATION NAME: Mimaria Architecture Consultants

LOCATION: Saudi Arabia

SUMMARY: "One Village at a Time

Transform worldview by providing an Islamically-inspired Manual for Integration and Tolerance based on the Charter of Medina and the world's first Community Development Center.

Mobile Lotus
2017 Catalyst Program

Mobile Lotus is a floating platform that integrates a family clinic, health education and play spaces, servicing local communities inhabiting Cambodia's Tonle Sap Lake. It highlights the health of both the village communities and ecosystem of this UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere, one of Cambodia's most precious resources.

Monda Technologia
2017 Catalyst Program

Our mission is to find essential solutions through sustainable design. We take paper or agricultural waste and we turn it into biodegradable plastic. Then we take that plastic and make things with it (we're currently addressing the packaging industry).

Nest Artisan Advancement Project
2017 Catalyst Program

Nest's Artisan Advancement Project is an industry-wide initiative bringing unprecedented transparency, social responsibility and sustainability to supply chains employing millions of homeworkers. Through training, assessment, and remediation designed for the informal economy and building scalable solutions to barriers facing the sector as a whole, Nest is creating inclusive supply chains.

Next Future Transportation, Inc.
2017 Catalyst Program

Next is an advanced smart, modular transportation system designed to reduce pollution, commute time, traffic fatalities, trip costs, and road congestion. It will change travel into a useful time to live, resulting in economic, social, and time benefits.

Oorja
2017 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: Oorja is a for-profit social enterprise based in India, simultaneously addressing the challenges of energy access and reliability, climate change and gender equity. Oorja is a project developer and technology integrator of solar PV and hybrid solar/biogasification smart mini-grids of 10–50 kW in off-grid and underelectrified rural areas.

Organic Transit
2017 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: Wherever our products are used, the people, the community, and the planet are cleaner and healthier. A solar/pedal hybrid, the ELF is the most efficient vehicle on the planet, achieving the equivalent of 1800 mpg. Fully enclosed, the 2 passenger ELF provides weather protection, safety, and a 550lb payload.

Para la Naturaleza
2017 Catalyst Program

ORGANIZATION NAME: Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico

LOCATION: Puerto Rico

Perceptoscope
2017 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: Perceptoscope is an interactive public arts initiative devoted to engaging people with the places around them through shared mixed reality experiences. It's an open-source movement for bridging the digital and physical worlds, as well an act of social practice that brings together a diverse coalition of neighbors, artists, and storytellers.

PREPHub
2017 Catalyst Program

PREPHubs are a new kind of urban infrastructure designed to increase natural disaster resilience. Technologically innovative off-grid units are strategically placed to activate public spaces, while encouraging neighborhoods to build preparedness into their lives. Should a disaster occur, they become nodes to access information, resources and connect with loved ones.

Propagate Ventures
2017 Catalyst Program

Propagate's mission is to grow agroforestry as a cornerstone of agriculture. We link market actors with farmers and land managers, and serve as a platform for increasing the supply and demand of permanent-crops. Our model is market-driven by the pull of consumer demand, collective pre-purchasing and early stage investment.

Reef Life Restoration Foundation
2017 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: Reef Life nanotechnologies assist bonding of oceanic creatures, coral polyps, plants, medicines & minerals to our diverse substrates, bringing site & species specific fast growth characteristics. Infrastructure-scale reef complexes engineered for entire coastal regions & aquaculture, mariculture fish habitats.

Seawater Greenhouse
2017 Catalyst Program

LOCATION: United Kingdom

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