Last weekend, 18 entrepreneurs representing six teams and seven countries gathered in San Anselmo, California, for the first ever Biomimicry & Business Bootcamp, as part of our Biomimicry Accelerator program. These six teams are the finalists in our Global Design Challenge, focusing on fixing our broken food system, with nature as guide. These dedicated student and professional entrepreneurs are in the process of honing their food system innovations and developing their business models in preparation for the Accelerator pitch event this October.
Over three days, participants received biomimicry and business training from instructors Jacques Chirazi, Zeynep Arhon, and Megan Schuknecht, and applied what they learned to refine their value propositions, pinpoint target customers, and further their market research. Two hikes around Marin allowed teams to explore nature for further inspiration, and a rapid prototyping exercise helped them identify strengths and gaps in their designs.
Participants also heard inspiring talks from entrepreneurs Brent Constantz, PhD, CEO of Blue Planet; Birju Pandya, senior advisor at RSF Social Finance; and Christopher Ategeka, founder and general partner at HourglassVentures and founder of Health Access Corps.
Although they’ll all be competing for the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize™ in October, another highlight of the bootcamp was the sense of camaraderie and shared purpose among the groups.
Cliff Kapono of Team ANSA said, “It’s a huge honor to be a part of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge as we continue to develop new ways of overcoming food insecurities. As finalists in the Challenge, we have been continually looking to nature for inspiration. Over the weekend, we explored deep into the Southern Californian ocean caves for micro-organisms that may help us learn more about nutrient uptake and transport in our system”.
With micro-organisms as mentors, we look forward to seeing what sustainable innovations these nature-inspired pioneers bring to life (and to market).
Primary image courtesy of Team ANSA.