Purina’s 2017 Pet Care Innovation Prize Competition Announces New Benefits for Pet Care Entrepreneurs

June 7, 2017

After a successful turnout in 2016, the Pet Care Innovation Prize (PCIP) is back this year with new benefits for pet care entrepreneurs. Powered by a global leader in pet care, Nestlé Purina PetCare, the PCIP is a competition that aims to support and connect innovative, early stage companies selling pet-related products and services with pet industry experts, entrepreneurs and investors. In this exciting competition, up to five finalists win cash, business support and recognition to help grow their business.

The pet care marketplace is huge and growing, with nearly 80 million homes in the U.S. with pets, according to the latest American Pet Products Association (APPA) study. This exciting and valuable market provides opportunities to entrepreneurs with innovative products that are aligned with changing expectations and trends. Because innovation and entrepreneurship help the entire industry adapt to changing consumer trends, the PCIP helps entrepreneurs and startups that have unique pet care products, insights, intellectual property or experience with recognition and support to accelerate their growth.

Emerging pet care companies give none of their own equity or intellectual property away in entering the PCIP. In 2016, out of 84 applications from 11 countries, Obe was recognized as the grand prize winner, while Ewegurt, FetchFind, K9 Fit Club and PupPod were finalists. All won valuable support and to help their business grow. In 2017, the value to early stage pet care entrepreneurs is even greater:

  • Early stage business evaluation – Every entry goes in front of at least a dozen pet care industry experts, serial entrepreneurs and investors who rank the entries to determine up to five finalists. All applicants, not just finalists, will see how their entry compares to dozens of other early stage pet care companies in uniqueness, potential in the industry, likelihood to get industry support, and team strength – valuable insights for any company.
  • Cash and coaching – In addition to $10,000 in cash, up to five finalists get an all-expenses-paid three-day intensive Boot Camp on growing and pitching innovative pet care companies, held in St. Louis, Missouri. The Boot Camp includes mentoring and valuable educational content by successful pet care entrepreneurs and Nestlé Purina experts.
  • New In 2017 Industry recognition and validation – Following the Boot Camp, the finalists will travel all-expenses-paid to New York to pitch their company to 100+ pet industry influencers and reporters at Purina’s Better With Pets Summit, a one-day, invitation-only event that will celebrate innovations in pet-related science and technology.
  • Support to accelerate growth – While in New York, finalists will also be judged by senior Nestlé Purina PetCare executives, industry leaders and pet care investors to determine who will win the grand prize – a free booth at Global Pet Expo 2018, courtesy of APPA, and up to $10,000 in support to showcase their business there.

This year’s PCIP will also include a series of free webinars that will give valuable content to startups and those thinking about starting a pet care business and/or entering the PCIP competition. Approximately every three weeks a webinar will be offered, featuring industry experts discussing subjects important to pet care entrepreneurs.

Webinar Calendar:

Tuesday, June 13 – noon EST / 9 a.m. PST

Topic: “Reality in the Pet Care Industry and What Entrepreneurs Can do About It”

Many of the companies that launch every year don’t survive – find out some of the factors driving success and what you can do about them as an entrepreneur.

Presenters: John Gibbons at Pet Business Professor


Wednesday, June 21 – noon EST / 9 a.m. PST

Topic: “Entrepreneurship: Product/Market Fit in the Pet Care Industry”

Learn how two entrepreneurs recognized by Pet Age magazine combine discipline with creative insight to get from a good idea to sustainable growth.

Presenters: Carina Evans of Dog Rocks/Podium Pet Products and Kelly Ison of Einstein Pets


Monday, June 26 – noon EST / 9 a.m. PST

Topic: “From Bootstrap to Scale – The Strategy of Pet Care Company Growth”

To grow, you need a strategy that brings together product, sales channel partners, pet parents and influencers. Learn from an industry veteran and a rising how to plan for and manage growth. Presenters: Jim Von Der Heydt, president of InnoVentures; Hilary Wade, founder of Obe, the 2016 Pet Care Innovation Prize Grand Winner


Thursday, July 13 – noon EST / 9 a.m. PST

Topic: “Pet Food & Treat Startups: Scaling Production Creatively”

As much as you’d like investment to go from your kitchen to your own factory, the reality is that there are lots of reasons to work with others while you grow, and a lot more resources that you can use.

Presenters: Joe Golembeski , manager, Product Supply Innovation at Nestlé Purina North America; William Madden, founder of Right Brain Consulting and author of “Separating the Con Man From the Co Man: How to Source a Contract Manufacture”


Register for webinars here.

Applications for this year’s Pet Care Innovation Prize close on August 4, 2017.

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