The Ray of Hope Prize celebrates nature‑inspired solutions addressing the world’s biggest environmental and sustainability challenges.

Spurred by the pressing environmental and social challenges of today, a growing number of scientists, inventors, and entrepreneurs are learning from nature and reimagining the way business is done. Ask Nature is proud to highlight the top 10 nature-inspired startups selected to participate in the 2021 Ray of Hope Prize®, a transformational program designed to help startups cross a critical threshold in scaling their sustainable solutions. This 10-week virtual accelerator culminates in a live pitch for the chance to receive the $100,000 grand prize, awarded by industry and conservation leaders from the World Wildlife Fund, Patagonia, and Yale, among others. Additional equity-free funding will be available to participating companies.

Created in honor of Ray C. Anderson, founder of Interface, Inc. and a pioneer in sustainable business transformation, the Ray of Hope Prize provides expert training and mentorship in sustainable business practices. Participants also receive guidance in science communication and storytelling techniques to amplify their reach and further support for their innovative solution.

This year, the Biomimicry Institute received 301 applications from 49 countries for the 2021 Ray of Hope Prize. Ten finalists were selected. The grand prize was awarded to Spintex, a spinout from the University of Oxford dedicated to pushing the boundaries of biomimetic spinning processes and silk materials to provide solutions in sustainable and technical textiles.

Each of the contending startups has the potential to reduce or eliminate many current extractive industries and practices, while revitalizing degraded ecosystems—a prize we all can celebrate.