The Tide of Veterinary Entrepreneurship

London Vet Show (LVS) is the world’s fastest growing veterinary conference. Having burst the banks of its historic home in West London, LVS moved to ExCel this year in the heart of the Docklands. I look forward to this event every year; it has an energy about it that is unrivalled.

In the run-up, there was a nervous tension amongst delegates. Would the new venue live up to the character-packed charm, we had come to expect from Olympia’s Great Hall? There will always be sceptics, but my opinion: it didn’t disappoint.

The presentations and CPD on offer always prove valuable. However, I find I get most from talking to all attendees. The size of the hall was most striking, the lack of landmarks made it easy to lose your bearings. LVS has become a victim of its success; I suspect they will extend beyond two days to allow delegates to benefit the most.

source: London Vet Show

It is well-documented that the pharma R&D of new drugs has slowed down significantly to make way for cost-effective generics. Constrained agriculture and a reduction in disposable income have curtailed the amount of money available for veterinary services. However, the sector has shown moderate growth over the last five years. LVS’ prominent rise stands testament to this, but how can this be?

A report from Ibis World (UK Vet Services Apr 2016) attributes this to the following;

  • Increased pet ownership.
  • Media coverage is enhancing consumer awareness to animal health issues.
  • Rising pet insurance.
  • More services offered by specialists.

There is no denying these factors contribute significantly to the industry’s growth. But my inner idealist believes in a wave of veterinary entrepreneurship. Now more than ever, is the most exciting time to be a part of the veterinary sector.

200 years ago, savvy entrepreneurs were moulded by the US recession. Throughout history, hardship has forced creativity and thinking ‘outside the box’. The vet profession is experiencing its own struggles; economic uncertainty, fewer pharmaceutical discoveries, career dissatisfaction, etc.

I hear a lot of AHPs complain about their current situation and the state of the profession. However, never in history has there been a better time to start your own venture. The financial and educational resources available were reflected by the level of innovation at LVS.

Arguably, we’re a bit late to the party. Entrepreneurship has been a buzzword for other sectors for years. My favourite example of an industry embracing entrepreneurship is from our medical colleagues. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society had the ‘MS Entrepreneurs’ programme, open to anybody who was passionate about creating innovative solutions to those whose lives have been touched by the disease. Click here for more information.

source: MS Entrepreneurs

With growing dissatisfaction amongst graduates, we risk losing talented individuals to other areas (or worse they stagnate in dead-end roles). I propose an alternative future; we nurture a wave of veterinary entrepreneurs. The knock-on effect would profit animal welfare, owners, agriculture and the AHP.

The sector is ripe for disruption and innovation, but what are you going to do about it?

Click here if you would be interested in an entrepreneurial network for AHPs and additional support, get in touch. If you are in a position to help with such a project, I would also really appreciate hearing from you. Click here to be taken to the contact form.