Building a sustainable future
by learning from nature.

We discover, accelerate, and amplify nature-inspired startups solving the world’s most pressing problems.

Ray of Hope Prize

The Ray of Hope Prize® identifies the top nature-inspired startups in the world and fosters their growth by providing a 10-week program focused on sustainable business training, communications support, and opportunities for non-dilutive funding. Winning team will receive a $100,000 prize, with an additional $50,000 to be distributed amongst the remaining cohort.

Armed with nature’s billions of years of research and development, these startups are uniquely suited to address critical environmental and social issues at scale.

Key Program Details and Dates for Applicants

Any startup with a nature-inspired product, service, or technology with inherent social or environmental benefits may apply. We are particularly interested in solutions that address carbon sequestration, climate change adaptation or mitigation, critical sustainability challenges, or any of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Competitive applicants typically have secured more than $250,000 in funding (grants, equity, etc.) and less than $5 million in funding.

Contact with any questions.

Scale more quickly in order to compete in multi-billion dollar, extractive industries

Avoid the common push to produce products cheaply, leading to unintentional harm (such as the use of toxic chemicals)

Effectively communicate their science and biomimicry in order to create a brand advantage

Since 2020, the Ray of Hope Prize has had:



Female Founders

Countries Represented

Ray of Hope Prize Participants Benefit From

Expert Mentorship

Participants engage with our expert mentors and advisors throughout the program.

Sustainable Business Training

Introduction to sustainability tools and processes like life-cycle assessments, green chemistry, and ethical supply chains.

Amplified Exposure

A multitude of opportunities for high profile exposure through our media and content partners.

Nature Expeditions

Nature immersions bring startups to remarkable locations, deepening their connection to nature and strengthening relationships.

Access to Funding

Ray of Hope Prize startups receive access to our vast network of business and investment contacts.

Philanthropic Capital

The top-rated startup is awarded the $100,000 grand prize, the runner-up receives $25,000, and an additional $25,000 in prizes are distributed.

A Program Designed for Impact

Following the Ray of Hope Prize program, Ray of Hope finalists have:

Secure investment thanks to network introductions

Gain inbound leads from
global media

Gain paid proof-of-concept pilot contracts with major corporations

Increase sales attributed to messaging updates

Hire key employees using equity-free funding

Join a community of like-minded leaders

Judging Panel and
Selection Committee

The Ray of Hope Prize judging panel and selection committees are comprised of experts across industry and disciplines. Each provides teams with valuable feedback, advice, and a lasting connection. Learn more about our experts here.

Foundation and
Corporate Sponsorship

It will take all of us to recreate our world to fit in with nature. If your company or foundation would like to support the startups on their journeys, or bring their biomimicry innovations into your work, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us here.

Founding Sponsor

The Ray of Hope Prize is a key initiative of the Biomimicry Institute and our founding partner, the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. The late Ray Anderson was Founder and Chairman of Interface, Inc. and a sustainable business pioneer. Biomimicry was an important part of Ray’s and Interface’s early success in creating more environmentally friendly and better performing products.


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Support the Next Generation
of Nature-Inspired Innovators

By donating to the Biomimicry Institute, you help us empower more nature-inspired innovators. Together, we will build a strong and sustainable global community dedicated to eliminating the need for extractive industries and revitalizing degraded ecosystems.

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