We became aware of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge through 2008 winner, Eben Bayer back in 2010 when we first started brick growing experiments. We have watched his and Ecovatives success continue and knew that when we were ready as a business, we were going to apply. In January 2013, we at bioMASON sat down and made a goal to enter this year with 7 months to prepare for the July 17th deadline.

It is hard to believe a month has passed since we were in Amsterdam, celebrating a big win with newfound friends. The week was highly planned for the participants, which calmed a lot of initial nerves. We felt as though we were part of a larger family together with the PLGC team, the other finalists, previous winners and the highly esteemed jury.

Ginger Dosier and Richard BransonRichard Branson and Ginger Dosier moments after the announcement. Image by Roy Beusker.

Amsterdam in September is a real treat, and we were able to get out for a few quick strolls to visit some historic and modern architecture, museums and cheese shops!  As architects, a stroll in the city helped center and focus us for the competition. The Dutch culture embraces environmental architecture, and we were compelled to take quite a few pictures of old and new bricks, while imagining a world where our biologically grown bricks could be used.

Our stay was at the historic Lloyd Hotel, with an interior designed by one of our favorite architects, MVRDV. We were able to learn more about the hotel’s history (which was once a prison) while sitting underneath the trees at an indoor picnic dining with the PLGC family.

Some of our most memorable experiences at PLGC were speaking with former winners Nick Christy and Molly Morse who both came over, about how far they have grown since winning. We had wonderful conversations regarding similar business strategies, lessons learned, and further connections. We felt we were part of a family through the entire process. The judges had the most pointed and direct questions for us, and the process of presenting to them, enabled us to further dive and strengthen our business model.

GingerbioMASONsbrickbioMASON's brick

Literally minutes after the winning announcement, we received many email inquiries, business cards, resumes and press requests. We quickly hired a part-time communications expert back home to help track and respond to the overwhelming positive response! We left Amsterdam with complete energy and the biggest smiles on our faces!!! We are excited to grow further with this much needed funding and community injection.

Days after landing back in the US, we learned of another event in New York City with the Climate Group’s Innovation forum. Just a one hour flight from us in North Carolina, I jumped on the opportunity to go to Climate Week and further network. We were able to visit with Eben Bayer again and further chat with Jim Walker, one of the judges for the PLGC.

Since September, we have begun an extensive hiring process for additional technical team members, completed numerous press inquiries/releases, begun a search for new space and spoken with many potential customers. The team is quite excited (still in high spirits - we are all on cloud 9! ) and a new level of traction is now possible with the growth of the company, thanks to the PLGC.

  

We are fortunate to be in this position of multiple opportunities, and grateful to be part of the PLGC success story. Currently at bioMASON, we are gearing up for a big move in January from an incubator to a space 3 times larger to accommodate both more bioMASON team members, and allow us to expand our prototyping systems. We are honored to now be in touch with past PLGC participants and winners and judges, and are meeting with them as our paths continue to now cross.

 




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