Innovation is all around us, new technology, new ways to work, new ways to tackle problems, yet the veterinary profession has been slow to incorporate this innovation into the business of veterinary medicine. What is being done about this? See below for some examples of innovation in the business of veterinary business.
The Veterianry Entrepreneurship Academy (VEA,) under the guidence of Dean Green at Texas A&M and the Veterinary Innovation Council (VIC), is tackling this by providing business curriculum and internships in innovative companies to veterinary students. The VEA is also partnering with leaders in veterinary medicine to create a series of workshops and online curriculum for early stage startups and entrepreneurs. The curriculum is aimed at helping animal industry related startups get the support and mentorship they need to navigate the business world and attract future funding.
Hackathons are on the rise in veterinary medicine. What used to be a technique for solving coding problems is becoming a way to solve common veterinary problems. These hackathons are bringing in people from other industries to help solve issues in conjunction with veterinary professionals. Imagine having professionals from the tech, veterinary, business, engineer, and architecture industry in the same room tackling issues that veterinarians have struggled with for years. A great example is the upcoming Hackathon at the University of Illinois. The event is being run by a company, VetMed2.0, a company whose sole goal is to solve the problems that we all face everyday in veterinary medicine. This even takes place in October and the problem they are tackling is feline house-soiling with the goal of reducing the number of cats sent to shelters every year. Anyone can apply to participate in this event. It's exciting to imagine the ideas and solutions that may come out of this.
Idea competitions are getting more and more common in veterinary medicine, becoming a part of conferences or being run on their own. Many of these competitions include prize money. This is particularly helpful for the early startups who are needing funding. These competitions are also being watched by VC and other large players, which gives young companies contacts and the potential for additional funding.
Larger companies such as MARS and NVA are also joining the push for innovation in the animal health industry. MARS recently started LEAP, an accelerator that is intending for animal health related businesses that are past the early startup phase. They are currently running their first group of businesses through the program. NVA has a team who evaluates new technologies to determine their usefulness in the industry and also encourages and hosts student internships.
The animal health industry needs more companies and organizations such as the Veterinary Entrepreneurship Academy, the Veterinary Innovation Council, VetMed2.0, MARS/LEAP, and NVA, groups who are willing to tackle the business of veterinary business. If you want to learn more about any of these programs, click on the links below.