Streetvet – the charity that provides free veterinary care for the pets of homeless people – has been named a winner of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize.
The UK charity took the top prize of 50,000 Swiss francs (£41,500), despite tough competition from more than 150 applicants from 23 countries across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa..
The charity was started by two vets in 2016. It now has more than 600 volunteers in 16 cities and over 1,000 registered patients. It provides essential support for homeless pet owners who cannot afford private veterinary treatment, and educates them on the responsibilities and care of animals in their ownership.
The scheme has been especially vital during the pandemic when veterinary care has been limited even for people with a home. Other issues people living on the streets may face include that available accommodation is often not pet friendly, and they may spend any money they have on vet care rather than feeding themselves.
The internationally recognised BetterwithPets Prize offers two categories and a total prize fund of 120,000 CHF (£99,000), rewarding entrepreneurs who have put forward either a piloted innovation or an idea-stage innovation.
Runner-up in the piloted innovation category was Gamelles Pleines (France), with highly-commended finalists Courthouse Dogs Research (Spain); Evi’dence (France), and Reading Dogs (United Arab Emirates).
The winner of the idea-stage category was Homely Home (Russia) for its ideas around rehabilitation programmes for people and pets, with highly-commended finalists being SoliVet (France) and Pet Me (Saudi Arabia).
Each of the eight finalist innovators pitched their solution virtually and engaged in a Q&A with an expert jury. Prizes were awarded by Bernard Meunier, CEO, Nestlé Purina PetCare EMENA.
Bernard said: “Especially in complex times like these, the need for social innovation and creative solutions that address society’s problems should be celebrated.
“We are excited to support these social entrepreneurs as they grow their impact and we congratulate StreetVet, Homely Home and all the commended initiatives on their inspiring pitches. The creativity and ingenuity of each of the social entrepreneurs demonstrate the mutual power of the pet-human bond and the importance of working towards a future where solutions outrun problems.”