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.

SeaChar
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: We propose a two-year demonstration biochar project, which addresses three of the major challenges facing coffee growing communities across Central America: utilizing the by-products from coffee processing, providing clean-burning, fuel efficient alternatives for cooking and developing effective organic fertilizers, which can combat disease and decreasing productivity

Studio H
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: Studio H is an academic design/build curriculum for middle school and high school youth. Over a one-year term, students apply core subject knowledge in a design studio environment to develop, engineer, and physically construct public architecture projects for the social and economic benefit of a broad community.

Szövetség 39
2014 Catalyst Program

LOCATION: Budapest, Hungary

SUMMARY: "CALTROPe is an answer to the coastal land loss caused by sea level rise. With CALTROPe we aimed to create a holistic, socially involving, future-oriented and innovative architectural solution responding to this diverse problem. We are focusing on river deltas, one of the most threatened areas.

Takachar
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: Many low-income households burn mosquito coils to repel mosquitos, but their smokiness causes lung diseases. Takachar produces a new brand of affordable coils up to 90% cleaner, and are derived from unmanaged waste instead of deforestation. Having sold more than 1 million coils profitably, we are scaling to 40 tons/month.

The Bark House
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: The Bark House is best described as A Factory Like A Forest With Products Like Trees. This is an awarded B Corp Best For The World company. The products earned the world's first and only Cradle to Cradle PLATINUM Certification and Architectural Record Product Awards. The work is inspired, informed and infused with nature.

The Biogenous Project
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: To give individuals an option for sustainable closed-loop living, coupling existing technologies like anaerobic digestion and algae photobioreactors into a living-systems retrofit. This living-system uses microorganisms to unlock potential energy in organic waste, locally producing natural gas and fertilizers.

The Open Water Project
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: Water quality is a pressing global issue that is implicated in nearly every human system on our planet. The Open Water project aims to develop and curate a set of low-cost, open-source tools that will enable communities everywhere to collect, interpret, and share their water quality data.

The Right to Water
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: The Blue Planet Project and its founder, Maude Barlow, were instrumental in securing UN recognition of the human right to water and sanitation. We are working with groups around the world to implement this right so that water is safe, affordable, and accessible to everyone, including poor and marginalized communities.

Waste Not, Want Not
2014 Catalyst Program

SUMMARY: We are developing practical methods to recover nutrients from human wastes and recycle them safely to agricultural and natural ecosystems.

Our strategy is to close the broken ecological loop of food production, consumption and elimination — to reduce water pollution, conserve drinking water resources, and facilitate sustainable food production.

Arctic Food Network
2012 Catalyst Program

Arctic Food Network is a series of strategically distributed shelters in Baffin Island, Nunavut (Canada). The network addresses food security, biological and wildlife species management, and provides a safe navigation system across the region. AFN is developed in partnership with the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth in Nunavut.

Museo Aero Solar
2012 Catalyst Program

This is a flying museum and a solar sculpture made by the “Museo Aero Solar” group – an open-source international community, initiated more 8 years ago by Tomás Saraceno in conversation with Alberto Pesavento, inviting everybody to take part and to turn used plastic bags to lighter-than-air sculptures – .

The Low Line
2012 Catalyst Program

The Lowline is a plan to use innovative solar technology to illuminate an historic trolley terminal on the Lower East Side of New York City. Our vision is a stunning underground park, providing a beautiful respite and a cultural attraction in one of the world’s most dense, exciting urban environments.

Wello
2012 Catalyst Program

Wello is a social venture with an ambitious goal: To deliver clean water to a thirsty world. We design and deliver affordable innovations that save time and increase opportunities for people who lack access to water. We design products that people not only need, but want to use.

Clepsydra Urban Farming
2011 Catalyst Program

Clepsydra is a new building type - actually an accessory building- a vertical greenhouse that can be linked to existing or new buildings. Within the framework of answering urgent environmental and ecological challenges, Clepsydra serves as a multi-faceted urban development tool to provide food security and community life.

POWERleap
2011 Catalyst Program

POWERleap has developed a means to generate 100% renewable energy with nothing more than human footsteps. Our solution is a flooring system that uses piezoelectric technology to convert kinetic energy from people into electricity. Current tests show that 1 kwh of energy can be generated from a 50 m2 area.

The Copenhagen Wheel
2011 Catalyst Program

A new strategy for sustainable mobility, The Copenhagen Wheel project aims to turn any city into a cycling-city. Our holistic solution is a new type of electric bike, and associated mobile applications - helps riders overcome topography and distance, fosters a cycling community, and supports long-term transportation and environmental policy decisions.

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