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The Idea Competition sparks veterinary student innovation

One contest leads three student teams to win prizes to fund ongoing development of their new industry product concepts

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It’s hard to deny a good idea when you see one.

Three teams of veterinary student teams, who competed in the first-ever The Idea innovation competition held during the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Annual Symposium held last week at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine, discovered that good ideas pay off.

VetPrep, the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA), the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) and ViralVet hosted the competition, which is to be held annually.

The contest originally kicked off during SAVMA Symposium 2016 in Ames, Iowa. More than 70 student teams across North America entered the competition during the inaugural year. A group of 20 semifinalist teams worked with personal mentors and the Texas A&M Veterinary Innovation Lab to become one of three teams to compete in the live finals at SAVMA Symposium 2017 in College Station, Texas.

The $10,000 grand prize of The Idea competition was presented to Joel Helbling and Rebecca Gibbs from Colorado State University for their Pharm Armour concept. Wendy Evans and Caitlin McDaniel from the University of Missouri were awarded $5,000 for their second-place House Collars concept. Oren Offer and Jimmy Popp from Western University were awarded $2,500 for their third-place BeatboxECG concept. Cash prizes were awarded to assist the winning teams in funding the ongoing development of their ideas.

The Idea competition organizer, VetPrep, will begin accepting applications from student innovators beginning next month. The yearlong competition activities will culminate in the season two live finals at SAVMA Symposium 2018, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

“It would be amazing to see this event grow to become one of the most anticipated annual events at SAVMA Symposium, and something that everyone in the veterinary community is excited to be a part of and see,” said Dr. Mauricio Dujowich, co-founder of VetPrep. “That would be a great indicator that our profession is collaborating, innovating, teaching and having fun.”

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Judges of the live finals included Drs. Karen Shenoy (Hill’s Pet Nutrition), Joel Parker (Veterinary Practice Solutions), Lori Teller (AVMA board of directors), Ira Gordon (VetPrep co-founder) and Stephen Shaw (VetPrep co-founder).

View the recording of the live finals at The Idea website.

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