Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Von Liebig Partners with Biomimicry Business Accelerator

Winners Camila Hernandez (left) and Camila Gratacos (right) of Team Bionurse.

The BioNurse team from the Ceres Regional Center for Fruit and Vegetable Innovation in Chile won the first ever Ray C. Anderson Foundation Ray of Hope Prize, a $100,000 award that will allow them to introduce their soil restoration project to the marketplace.  
“This was a big surprise for us,” said Camila Gratacos, one of the BioNurse team members. “After a lot of hard work, we just want to say thank you.”
Gratacos and her partner, Camila Hernandez, competed fiercely in the 2015 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. The Biomimicry Institute is a non-profit organization that encourages the development of nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet. All seven teams vying for the prize met at the Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, California last month on October 22 to pitch to judges. During the year-long Biomimicry Accelerator program, these seven teams developed their design concepts and market strategy.
As a Biomimicry Institute partner, the von Liebig Center provided online training and mentoring to these seven teams from Chile, Thailand, El Salvador, Italy, Germany, Slovakia and the US.
The Biomimicry Institute, the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, and the von Liebig Entrepreneurship Center congratulate all of the teams who competed for the first-ever $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize. It is now only a matter of time before prototypes make their way to market soon.
All seven teams that competed for the $100,000 Ray C. Anderson Foundation Ray of Hope Prize were originally selected as finalists in the 2015 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. The teams that participated in the intensive year-long Business Accelerator Program were trained on how to take their social innovations to market.
The von Liebig Center within the Institute of the Global Entrepreneur provided an online course taught by Mr. Jonathan Masters on customer development, commercialization, finance, and marketing.  Four mentors from the von Liebig Center worked with the seven teams in online webinars to bring their design concepts to reality. BioNurse and Oasis Aquaponics worked with Dr. Rosibel Ochoa. Jube and BioCultivator worked with Dr. Rob Logan. Living Filtration worked with Dr. Albert Liu. Hexapro and Mangrove Still worked with Mr. Jonathan Masters.  
The BioNurse team created the BioPatch, a biomimicry solution that enhances soil’s capacity to retain water, nutrients, and microorganisms. This invention ensures that degraded land is restored for the next generation of crops. 
All seven Accelerator teams earned tremendous praise from the Ray of Hope Prize judges. They complimented the Oasis Aquaponic System’s potential for impact in the developing world, the Jube’s brilliant combination of function and beauty, the BIOcultivator’s elegant design, the Mangrove Still’s innovative business model, the Living Filtration System’s clever agricultural transition strategy, and Hexagro’s successful integration of a physical technology with a broader social network strategy.
Because of the high quality of all of the teams’ designs, trustees decided to award an added bonus to this year’s program. The trustees of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation awarded $20,000 to the Oasis Aquaponic System, $15,000 to the Jube team, and $10,000 each to the four other finalist teams, for a grand total of $175,000 in award money.

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