Recognising Pet-Based Innovation

Purina launches £75,000 prize for social and commercial enterprises working to harness the power of the bond between pets and their humans.

Nestle Purina is on the lookout for social innovators across Europe to enter their newly launched BetterwithPets prize, worth a total of around £75,000.

Working in collaboration with Ashoka — A global organization that identifies and invests in leading social entepreneurs — Purina is offering the prize to social and commercial enterprises, non-profit entities and other organisations working to harness the positive power of the pet–human bond.

Tech Trends Purina Pet Tech Dogs Cats Prize Social Enterprise

The prize is open to entries in three categories: healthier together; connecting together and enjoying spaces together and the winner, or winners, will be selected at a special event in Barcelona in June. Organisations from the European Union, as well as Russia, Switzerland, Ukraine and Norway are all eligible to enter. In addition to the chance to win the cash prize, contestants will also get detailed feedback on their idea from industry experts in their field.

“Our first BetterWithPets prize provides a really exciting opportunity for anyone who shares our passion for pets and the relationships we have with them — and who is doing innovative work in this area — to win a significant cash investment for their project,” says Calum Macrae, Regional Director for Purina UK & Ireland. “The UK has a fantastic heritage as a pet-friendly country and this prize could really make a difference to a small British start-up, charity, or a local scheme that has the ambition and the potential to do more.”

Successful applications will be shortlisted and five finalists will be invited to travel to attend the Purina BetterwithPets Forum in Barcelona on 7 June 2018, where the winners will be announced. The categories below are eligible for the prize:

Healthier together

The demands of a modern, more sedentary life mean that people either have less time or are less likely to be physically active with their pets. Entries are community-focused initiatives and innovations that enable people and their pets to live active and healthy lives together, such as:

  • Facilitatating a healthier and fitter lifestyle for both pets and people
  • Preventing obesity for both pets and people

Connecting together

People of all ages are experiencing a sense of isolation and disconnection, be it from the increasing complexity of modern life and technology, or because ageing and minority populations are being overlooked, which can leave them feeling lonely and cut off from society. Purina is looking for initiatives that span communities and ages, and that celebrate the power of the pet–human bond for better emotional well-being to help foster and cultivate empathy and emotional self-care, such as:

  • Helping to overcome societal disconnection and isolation
  • Seeking to provide interventions for emotional well-being

Enjoying spaces together

Increasing urbanisation and more regulations have led to fewer pet-friendly open spaces and greater restrictions in places where pet owners can take their pets. We are looking for initiatives that enable both people and pets to enjoy and share the same spaces as well as demonstrate a social and/or economic benefit, e.g. pets in workplaces, and enhanced pet-friendly areas in urban and rural spaces. Potential entries could include:

  • Enabling greater access to pets in everyday settings
  • Enhanced design of pet-friendly spaces to enable pets and humans to spend better quality time together
Tech Trends Purina Pet Tech Dogs Cats Prize Social Enterprise

Evaluation Criteria for the winning applications include:

  • Innovation — The initiative must represent an innovative approach to the problem it seeks to address. Innovation may result from the use of new methods, new models or new technologies, or from the application of old methods, models or technologies in new and innovative ways
  • Social impact — The initiative must have proven its worth on a pilot or small-scale basis, and already have measurable, quantifiable social impact
  • Potential for scaling up and/or replication — The initiative should have strong growth potential and/or replicable to other social, cultural or geographical settings
  • Financial viability — The initiative must be built on a viable business model, and/or show realistic and long-term plans for long-term financial viability, and must have the potential to continue beyond the Purina BetterwithPets Prize funding
  • Organisational leadership — The initiative and its leaders must show leadership to influence the field in which they work, as well as the ability to incorporate and leverage the investment by Purina and the support offered through the Purina BetterwithPets Prize
  • Potential for Creating Shared Value — The initiative should create shared value for all stakeholders- pets and people — in the community where we live, work and play
And since I’m a sucker for anything that recognizes the human-pet bond. so here’s the best picture ever of my dog Watson, who loves Balloons SO MUCH!
Tech Trends Purina Pet Tech Dogs Cats Prize Social Enterprise
Alice Bonasio is a VR Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.

Originally published at Tech Trends.

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