SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2018 Innovation Showdown, which launches today, invites organizations and companies to compete for the chance at an investment of up to $350,000 for innovative ideas to save animal lives and get feedback from the nation's top animal welfare experts. Recognizing and rewarding lifesaving innovation has been an area of focus for many of the nation's top animal welfare organizations. The 2018 Innovation Showdown is a collaborative project with a goal to spark lifesaving creativity to help the animal welfare industry reduce the number of animals euthanized in this country.
The Innovation Showdown, originally created in 2017 by the Petco Foundation and Jackson Galaxy Foundation, is modeled after the critically-acclaimed Shark Tank for entrepreneurs, but with one major difference. The Innovation Showdown's ultimate goal is not a financial return on investment but a lifesaving return on investment – that is to save the lives of more animals in need.
"The Innovation Showdown aspires to encourage ideas that will change the landscape of animal welfare," said Susanne Kogut, the Petco Foundation Executive Director. "All of the participating national organizations share the same goal -- to end needless euthanasia of animals in this country. By joining forces in this year's Showdown, we can make a meaningful impact with a more significant investment pool and feedback from the industry's experts to debate the lifesaving potential of each new idea."
"Partnering with the industry's top dogs, and cats, through the Innovation Showdown is a great way for us to support and foster big, positive, transformational change for animals," said Jackson Galaxy, cat expert, author, entrepreneur, founder of the Jackson Galaxy Project, and host of "My Cat from Hell."
Innovative ideas to save animal lives are now being accepted online until February 16th. Two finalists will be chosen initially and selected additional ideas will compete for the third Wild Card finalist spot. The grand finale will take place on May 16th at the HSUS Animal Care Expo, where the three finalists will make their pitch on stage to the judges.
Eligibility: Non-profit or municipal animal welfare organizations and for-profit companies, provided their idea is to support the mission to save animal lives.
Judging panel of Innovation Investors: Matt Bershadker (ASPCA), Julie Castle (Best Friends Animal Society), Jackson Galaxy (the Jackson Galaxy Project), Mary Ippoliti-Smith (Maddie's Fund), Aimee Gilbreath (Michelson Found Animals Foundation), Susanne Kogut (the Petco Foundation) and Christy Counts (WaterShed Animal Fund)
"The Humane Society of the United States is thrilled to host the Innovation Showdown at Animal Care Expo," said Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the HSUS. "Innovation is a critical pathway to helping us solve problems in our field and to strengthen the human-animal bond. As the premiere educational event for animal welfare professionals, Expo is a great venue to showcase big, new ideas in our field."
Last year nearly 200 idea submissions were received and two winners, the Animal Care Centers of NYC for their digital shelter concept ($100,000) and Brandywine Valley SPCA for "Mama in a Box" a kitten feeding solution ($50,000), took home the top two honors. View videos of the first-ever Innovation Showdown winners here: petcofoundation.org/showdown
About the Petco Foundation At the Petco Foundation, we believe that every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, we've invested more than $200 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners, we inspire and empower communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay and neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through our Think Adoption First program, we partner with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions. So far, we've helped more than 5.5 million pets find their new loving families, and we're just getting started. Visit petcofoundation.org to learn more about how you can get involved.