The Top 5 Biomimicry Incubators, Competitions and Accelerators to Seed Your Business

From entrepreneur to eco-innovator, these are the five leading biomimicry incubators / accelerators from around the world. They are all unique, but share one thing in common - they’re all focused on the overlap - where business innovation meets nature's brilliance.

Whether you're an entrepreneur, a biology nerd (like me), scientist, or an eco-conscious inventor, these programs promise more than just guidance—they offer an immersive journey to transform the trajectory of your biomimicry business venture.

Here’s who made the top 5:

  1. The Ray of Hope Prize
  2. Built by Nature Prize
  3. The Launchpad
  4. Wege Prize
  5. The Biomimicry Practitioner Programme

Let’s dive in 🐋

The Ray of Hope Prize - The Biomimicry Institute

The Ray of Hope Prize is the leading biomimicry accelerator today. It consists of a10-week programme, where the winner gets $100,000 cash prize (equity free) 

With out a doubt, this is the number one biomimicry business incubator. The Ray of Hope Prize® guides the top nature-inspired startups in the world, fostering their growth by providing sustainable business training, communications support, and opportunities for non-dilutive funding—the top being a $100,000 equity-free prize. Mind blowing. 

🚀 Incubator: The Ray of Hope Prize 
🧑‍🏫 Implementing Organisation: The Biomimicry Institute (United States)
🎯 Whose it for: Nature-inspired startups - global
💸 Prize: $100,000 equity-free prize
🧩 Details: 10-week programme with the due date still to be released
🍀 Apply to the Ray of Hope Prize here

PS - if you are interested to see who won, you can read the ten best biomimicry startups in 2022

Built by Nature Prize

Built by Nature is a global call for scalable bio-based construction material solutions.  This unique competition exists for two main reasons:

  • To inspire decision-makers around the world with the range of bio-based construction materials emerging in the market
  • To understand the different barriers that innovators face so we can help overcome them

This is the first global prize designed to find and highlight market-ready innovations in bio-based construction materials, including innovative timber solutions, that demonstrate powerful potential for rapid carbon emissions reduction and positive outcomes for nature and local communities.   

The focus is to find innovative, renewable, low-carbon construction materials to radically reduce the carbon footprint of new buildings and cities.

🚀 Incubator: Built by Nature Prize
🧑‍🏫 Implementing Organisation: Built by Nature (supported by Laudes Foundation and LTPP)
🎯 Whose it for: Founders and Innovators focused on biobased construction materials or timber solutions.
💸 Prizes: Win a grand prize of €250,000, part of a total prize fund of €500,000 🤯
🍀 Applications: Built by Nature Prize closes on the 25th of January 2024 

Biomimicry Launchpad - The Biomimicry Institute

The Biomimicry Launchpad is back! It consists of a free 10-week programme, which includes an in-person meet-up and the Biomimicry Short Course Set. Starts in May each year

The Biomimicry Launchpad program selects the most promising nature-inspired scientists from around the world on an annual invitation basis. 

The curriculum includes training, connections, and resources for these innovators who otherwise may not have considered commercialising their work. 

The unique combination of business and biomimicry training, along with in-person expeditions (to Montana, USA) in extraordinary natural locations, has proven to inspire, educate, and build a vibrant community amongst these multidisciplinary participants.

My favourite part? Learn Biomimicry recently integrated the Biomimicry Short Course is integrated into this incubator programme.

What is the difference between the Biomimicry Launchpad and the Ray of Hope Prize?

The Biomimicry Launchpad differs from the Ray of Hope Prize in that it focuses on individual applicants, not businesses. Many of the applicants are pursuing a graduate degree, are postdoctoral fellows, or are recent graduates within the biological sciences. Some are studying the application of biological phenomena through engineering. Others are exploring technology and design through the lenses of art or sustainable business practices. 

🚀 Incubator: Biomimicry Launchpad 
🧑‍🏫 Implementing Organisation: The Biomimicry Institute (United States)
🎯 Whose it for: Individuals / Nature-inspired scientists from around the world
💸 Prize: N/a
🧩 Details: 10-week programme with the due date to apply on the 29 February 2024
🍀 Apply to the Biomimicry Launchpad here

Wege Prize - Ferris State University

Wege Prize is a 6 month competition. Starts in around August each year 

Wege Prize is an annual competition that ignites game-changing solutions for the future by inspiring college/university students around the world to collaborate across institutional, disciplinary, and cultural boundaries to redesign the way economies work. 

Whilst learning, there is also $65,000 (USD) total cash prizes is up for grabs. All with the focus of helping to show the world, what the future of problem solving looks like. With Wege, the future really is to be created (and not predicted). 

🚀 Incubator: Wege Prize
🧑‍🏫 Implementing Organisation: Ferris State University / Kendall College of Art and Design
🎯 Whose it for: Full-time student teams of 5 from anywhere around the world
💸 Prizes: $65,000 USD total
🧩 Details: The challenge is to identify a complex, “wicked” problem to address and develop a compelling solution to the problem that is built on the three core principles of the circular economy.
🍀 Applications: Now closed for 2024, but keep an eye for the 2025 announcement here

see here for specific rules, and here for the Wege Prize timeline.

The Biomimicry Practitioner Programme - Learn Biomimicry

This is a 6 month (part time) programme that focuses on applying biomimicry to your business, career or next project. 

Yip, that's us. The Biomimicry Practitioner Programme was built as a bridge to practice biomimicry professionally... with the key focus on being able to apply biomimicry again and again. This programme is the number one place to incubate your biomimicry idea, with guidance every step of the way. 

What makes this programme unique is that it combines three important spheres
- project based approach
- peer to peer learning, and
- Biomimicry Mentors to guide you

Project-based means that what you learn fits your context. Peer to peer learning ensures that you build a distributed network of biomimicry Practitioners and Biomimicry Educators. Lastly, it's mentored - which if you look back at history's greatest biomimics - they all had an apprentice; someone to copy (or dare I say 'mimic').

These three components ensure that the programme fits form to function, and honours your context. 

As of today, we’ve had professionals from all walks of life, generate an abundance of nature-inspired innovations that are currently being built... 

Today, we've had founders such as ... as well as generated a number of new nature-inspired innovations that are being built. Rana Hajirasouli (aka, my idol) has been making waves with her startup, The Surpluss

Rana is a fan of ours too, and she said "The Biomimicry Practitioner Program was by far the best career and general life decision I have ever made. The program completely challenged the way I had viewed knowledge - not just the world. Often, in career and academia, we are taught to reproduce singular forms of knowledge that are linear in nature - whilst most of the anthropogenic challenges we face in the world are often interdisciplinary and complex. Biomimicry is a perfect response to applying cross-disciplinary and systems thinking to practical challenges that most disciplines cannot solve alone, moving away from linear thinking and into harmony with nature's regenerative cycles", You can read the full testimonial here

With that said, and before I say goodbye, here is one more biomimicry business incubatorand it’s not what you think. 

Wild regards
Alistair Daynes, Biomimicry Practitioner

Three more ways we can help you learn biomimicry

1.) Download our FREE eBook: A Field Guide to Biomimicry. Dive into the best of biomimicry in this introductory handbook. By engaging with summaries of key concepts, you’ll start to discover how nature’s lessons can be applied in your own life and career.

2.) Biomimicry Short Courses - Through these courses, you'll get practical knowledge of how to apply Biomimicry to your own design, get a learn biomimicry certificate which is recognized globally (and endorsed by the fantastic Biomimicry Institute),  and so much more. Check out our Biomimicry Short Courses here today

3.) If you looking to apply biomimicry but don't know where to start - we've got a series of free Learn Biomimicry Workshops to help you generate biomimicry project ideas. You can register here.


eBook: A Field Guide to Biomimicry

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