Purina Wants Sustainable Pet Care Startups

Purina's 'Unleashed' accelerator programme is back and is the ideal opportunity to grow your small, sustainable pet care business, with up to £40,000 funding available.

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Pet food brand Purina is looking to partner with new, innovative pet care businesses for the latest edition of its accelerator programme, with winning applicants receiving up to £40,000 of investment.

The ‘Unleashed’ accelerator programme, now in its third consecutive year, helps the most imaginative and disruptive pet care startups to grow.

This year, however, the focus is shifting to support small firms using green technology to help reduce carbon emissions, promote sustainable food production and implement zero waste systems.

What kind of businesses are Purina looking for?

To be in with a chance of winning a place on the Unleashed accelerator programme, your pet care startup should provide evidence of the following qualities:

  • Disruptive – use imaginative and innovative ways to bring value to the pet care industry, its customers, and most importantly their pets. Previous Unleashed winner Pawesomer, a Finnish startup that develops tools for tracking pet health, is a great example.
  • Innovative –  find creative and simple ways to solve common problems all pet owners face. Successful UK startup BorrowMyDoggy used data from Purina’s Pets at Work programme to help expand and develop its dog walking platform – connecting workers and students with trusted dog lovers to look after their doggo.
  • Sustainable – ensure your business actively demonstrate initiatives that reduce carbon emissions, and uses technology to promote a greener work environment. Biokind, a UK start-up working on sustainable alternative protein derived from agricultural waste, earned its place in the Unleashed programme last year in part due to its sustainable business model.
  • Scalable – does your business model have the potential to grow and compete in the pet care space?

All applications to the Purina program will be evaluated on the relevance of their idea, plus the scalability and sustainability of their business model.

Michael White, CEO and Founder of PuppyFat, discussing his businesses involvement in the Purina accelerator programme:

“As a startup, the support that's been provided by Unleashed has been incredible. I love the framework of the six-month project, with clear goals for a ‘proof-of-concept’. I also love that there's opportunities to take the collaboration further. What's impressed me the most is how well-suited the team is to the project. Not only are the team members full of expertise and experience, but they also have the most amazing attitude and enthusiasm for the project.”

What do the winners receive?

Upon judging, the Unleashed team will select six startups to join the accelerator programme. Each winning startup will get to work with a Purina team of “multi-disciplinary business development experts.”

These experts will work in collaboration with business owners on a value exchange project, with funding of up to £40,000 available to help each company achieve its objectives.

Jimmy El-Hajj, Co-Founder of Pawpots, said of the programme “As a growing startup, being surrounded and getting support from experts in the field is a must. And that’s what Unleashed is all about. A very well structured and organized team who is there for one purpose, to help you succeed during the program, and give you the opportunity to collaborate further.”

As a growing startup, being surrounded and getting support from experts in the field is a must. And that’s what Unleashed is all about.

How can you apply for the programme?

The application process is simple. To enter, visit unleashedbypurina.com and click on the ‘apply now for cohort 2022’ button to get started with the application form.

Applications are open between 2nd November and 31st December 2021, with winners being announced in April 2022. The ‘Unleashed’ acceleration programme begins between April and October for Purina’s class of 2022.

If you need some inspiration about starting a pet care business, why not check out the story of Vet-AI. The pet care app developer was recently featured in the top ten of our Startups 100 list.

Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website.

Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Conde Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism.

Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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