How can we harness the mutual positive power of the pet–human bond for the health and wellbeing of society?

Purina and Ashoka recognize the mutual positive power of the pet-human bond to transform society. And we know innovators and social entrepreneurs are some of the first to unleash these dynamic, new, creative solutions to foster positive impacts for individuals and communities. The pet-human bond can be a source of wellbeing for pets, the people who love them and communities, and a catalyst of powerful innovations that span from protecting pet welfare to developing key human soft skills such as emotional intelligence and compassion, to therapies that enhance health and emotional wellbeing, to educational programs that foster empathy in children, to programs that promote inclusivity in communities.

For the second year, the Purina BetterwithPets Prize embarks on a search across more countries in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa for initiatives and ideas working to harness the mutual positive power of the pet-human bond for the health and wellbeing of society. 

For this prize, we are focusing on cats and dogs. If you’re working with animals that fall outside of these categories, you are welcome to apply and help us map the ecosystem. All applicants will receive feedback on their projects and the benefit of connecting with fellow innovators in the sector. Please be aware applications leveraging the bond with cats and dogs will be prioritized.

Submit your entry to the Purina BetterwithPets Prize by January 28th, 2020 23:59 (CET).  

For more details access the Official Rules document here and read its summary below.



We are looking for social and commercial enterprises and non-profit entities and organisations who seek to harness the positive power of the pet–human bond through existing projects. 


We are looking for young changemaker(s) from 18 years to 25 years old who have a well-thought through idea and/or have conducted research in order to create a project or venture which looks to harness the mutual positive power of the pet-human bond.  

The 2020 Prize focus area includes, but is not limited to, innovations that are benefiting both pets and humans by: 

  • Leveraging the pet-human bond to help develop further key emotional and behavioural competences in children and adults (such as empathy, compassion, emotional intelligence and collaboration) as well as enabling both people and pets to learn from each other and cultivate emotional self-care to overcome societal issues such as violence, abuse, or abandonment. For example, the 2018 BetterwithPets Finalist Canine Hope, runs a programme dedicated to working with survivors of rape and sexual violence, with rescue dogs in need of a home as canine co-tutors. 
  • Bringing the power of the pet-human bond to the community level to promote inclusivity by connecting and convening people and pets, helping them overcome disconnection and isolation. For example, pet-human community initiatives that help people with disabilities or the elderly overcome physical limitations, as demonstrated by 2018 BetterwithPets Prize winner the OOPOEH Foundation which helps to reduce loneliness and increase physical activity for the elderly by matching them as a dog sitter to a family in their neighbourhood.  
  • Enhancing physical health and wellness through pet therapies, or by enabling people and pets to live a healthier life. An example is Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO) by Ashoka Fellow Michelle Lem, that aims to improve the health of homeless individuals and their pets through a “one health” model of care. By offering human health services and health education alongside preventative veterinary care, CVO seeks to improve access to veterinary and human health resources for an at-risk population and leverage the human-animal bond to increase human health resource uptake. 
  • Re-imagining the role of pets in society. Projects that aim at researching and/or working on how pets can help improve public health system. For example, the 2018 BetterwithPets Finalist Medical Detection Dogse, a charity harnessing the powerful scenting ability of dogs to help detect the early stages of Parkinson’s disease in patients.  
  • Revolutionizing veterinary care for pets, the way Ashoka Fellow Nalinika Obeyesekere established Pet Vet Clinic in Sri Lanka to raise the standard of animal health care, by combining a unique multi-doctor model that allows clients to benefit from the varied expertise and interests of a diverse veterinary team and promoting responsible pet ownership and encourage the standards of animal welfare.

All applicants will:

  • Have the opportunity to receive peer feedback via the prize online platform, including the opportunity to view, review and connect with other Applicants to the Purina BetterwithPets Prize. 
  • Receive feedback from Purina and Ashoka representatives.  

Up to 30 semi-finalists from each Innovation Stream will: 

  • Be able to edit and refine their entries, as well as answer complementary questions on the entry form. This is a key opportunity to incorporate the feedback received at the screening phase and make the applications even stronger. 

Up to 10 short-listed entries from each Innovation Stream will: 

  • Receive additional feedback from key sector influencers and participate in online selection interviews with them. 

Up to 5 finalists from each Innovation Stream will: 

  • Receive support from Purina/Agencies to prepare their pitch.
  • Receive an invitation to attend in person the Purina BetterwithPets Forum on 3-4 June 2020 in France. Associated costs will be covered in line with the Purina travel policy. At the Forum they will have the opportunity to pitch their innovations to the BetterwithPets Prize Jury, composed of Purina management, Ashoka and external experts. 
  • Have networking opportunities with Purina management and stakeholders 
  • Be considered to be featured in Purina’s media activities at Purina’s discretion  
  • Be eligible to access a Co-creation Lab to go from project to design and implementation upon relevance and needs 
  • Be eligible to access an Accelerator programme that will be offered upon relevance and needs 

Winning innovation(s) will be selected to receive:


  • Up to CHF 20,000 funding to develop the idea. The Prize money may only be used for the further development of the awarded innovation.  
  • Prize money may be shared between more than one winner  


  • Up to CHF 100,000 funding to develop the initiative. The Prize money may only be used for the further development of the awarded initiative.  
  • Prize money may be shared between more than one winner 

  • Entry Phase - November 25, 2019- January 28, 2020.
  • Screening Phase -  January 30 - February 13, 2020. 
  • Refinement Phase - February 18- February 27, 2020. 
  • Shortlisting Phase - February 28 -  March 6, 2020. 
  • Shortlisted online Interviews Phase - April 22 - April 24, 2020. 
  • BetterwithPets Forum June 3-4, 2020. 
  • Winners Announcement- June 4, 2020.

If your answer is ‘yes’ to each of these questions, and you are aligned with the contest terms, you are eligible to apply.

For all Innovation Streams:  

  • Do you reside in a country mentioned in the Terms section below?   
  • Do you have an idea or existing project that addresses a problem you care about? In order to solve this problem, do you harness the power of the pet-human in your idea or implemented project?  
  • Are you able to submit your application in English, as well as discuss and present your idea in English at different stages of the process?  
  • Does your innovation have a plan for long term impact?  
  • Are you a Changemaker, self-identifying as a person who gives themselves permission to lead and act for positive change?  
  • Are you looking for an opportunity to engage with other Changemakers in the field (and beyond), and with other relevant actors championing the mutual positive power of the pet-human bond?  

Additional for Piloted/Implemented Innovation:  

  • Are you 18 years or older?   
  • In case the legal age in the country you are residing in is more than 18 years: Do you have your legal guardian’s permission to enter this Prize?  
  • Are you the founder, co-founder, or hold an equivalent leadership position within the initiative your application represents?  

Additional for Idea-Stage Innovation:  

  • Are you between 18 years and 25 years?  
  • In case the legal age in the country you are residing in is more than 18 years: Do you have your legal guardian’s permission to enter this Prize?  
  • Are you the initiator of the idea or project that your application represents?  
  • Have you found at least one other person to join your team?  

  • Innovation -  The piloted/implemented and idea-stage entries must represent an innovative approach to the problem it seeks to address. Innovation may result from the use of new methods, new models, new technologies, or application of old methods, models or technologies in a new, innovative way. We are particularly interested in piloted/implemented innovations that use creative and fresh approaches to unlock systemic change or to spark mindset shifts that lead to widespread change, and idea-stage innovations that inspire, empower and multiply changemakers in the world.   
  • Impact – The piloted/implemented entries must demonstrate a social impact that mutually benefits pets and humans. Pilot/Implemented entries must have proven their worth at least on a pilot or small-scale basis. The social impact of pilot/implemented innovations must be measurable, quantifiable, or otherwise demonstrated. Idea-stage entries must demonstrate what impact they are planning to achieve and how they will measure it.
  • Growth & leadership potential -  The piloted/implemented and idea-stage entries should be feasible on a broad-scale basis and/or replicable to other social, cultural or geographical settings. The innovation and its leaders will also be judged on their ability to incorporate and leverage a grant by Purina to assist in the development of the initiative and its promotion to assist in its adoption by other communities and its continued growth and viability. They must show leadership and team-player skills to influence the field in which they work, and at the same time, empower citizens as changemakers and involve stakeholders as key actors who can contribute to achieving their initiative and positive change.
  • Viability -  The piloted/implemented and idea-stage entries must be built on a viable business model, and/or show realistic and long-term plans for financial viability and must have the potential to continue beyond the Purina BetterwithPets Prize benefits. The entry should also have a realistic time frame for implementation and highlight the expertise and commitment of the organization’s leadership team.
  • Potential to Create Shared Value -  The piloted/implemented and idea-stage entries should create value for all stakeholders, thereby exemplifying the concept of Creating Shared Value: it is our fundamental belief that our business will be successful in the long term by creating value for society at large, for pets and people in the community where we live, work and play.

  • Only one Entry per innovation will be accepted.
  • If selected for the interviews phase, the Applicant, the Innovation’s founder, co-founder, CEO or an equivalent management member must be available during March 16-20, 2020 to attend the online interview.
  • If selected for the final phase, the Applicant, Innovation’s founder, co-founder, CEO or an equivalent management member must be present in person for the final live pitch presentation on 3-4 of June 2020 in France.
  • Applicants that are financed or supported by Nestlé S.A., its affiliates, subsidiaries or joint ventures during the calendar years 2019 and 2020 are not eligible.
  • Winner and finalists from the BetterwithPets Prize 2018 are not eligible to apply for this edition
  • Employees of Nestlé S.A. and their parent companies, affiliates and subsidiaries, joint ventures, advertising agencies, promotion agencies and other service providers for the BetterWithPets Prize, their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling, regardless of where they reside) and those living in the same household are not eligible.


The BetterwithPets Prize has a European, Middle East and North Africa scope, applicants residing in the listed countries (by alphabetical order) are eligible to apply:

Austria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

Do you want to get involved in this challenge?

We follow a process with phases. Currently we are in the Finalists announcement phase. We have selected and announced the best ideas for this challenge.
153 ideas
120 final ideas
38 final ideas
38 final ideas
38 final ideas
16 final ideas


Join the conversation:

Photo of Carlos Escobar

Dear All,
hope this message find you all well.
any update on this?
I’ve not heard anything about but the announced deadline was for end of March (for the first step).
kindly keep all of us posted.

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