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Meet the Founders - Welfare Concepts

Improving animal welfare standards in New Zealand has been a focal point for the primary industries for many years. Huge efforts and gains have been made in this space, and one Kiwi start-up company is hoping to improve animal welfare even further.

Meet the founders of Welfare Concepts, Richard Emslie and Richard Olde Riekerink. They are one of the start-ups taking part in our three-month Sprout 2022 Accelerator in the Cohort VIII intake.

The duo are veterinarians with many years of experience up their sleeves out on farm and working in research and development and business development in the animal health industry. 

"We both have a passion for animals and agriculture and want to help farmers increase efficiency and increase animal welfare conditions. Many of the products and procedures used in animals are really quite outdated, and could be improved to have a greater focus on the wellbeing of the animals, so that's something we wanted to change," said Richard O.

They are teaming up to develop a novel medicine for use for disbudding calves, which will avoid the need for the currently used painful procedure for the animal.

"It’s (the current method) a painful process for them but often a necessary one. You normally sedate calves to make them sleepy, perform the procedure and provide pain management but often the calf has pain symptoms several weeks after the procedure.”

With their intended market being rooted in the highly complex animal pharmaceutical industry, they’ve had their fair share of moments of doubt and fear along their journey so far, but they say it's about remembering to back themselves.

“Overcoming the lack of self-confidence has certainly been challenging. We often need to remind ourselves to speak openly about what we are feeling and seek external validation that we have a good idea here,” said Richard E.

While focusing right now on the disbudding product, they have five other products they’re keeping under their cap, but for now, their main priority is getting their disbudding product under development and successfully launched in the market.

“We’ll be competing with a number of other products, so we need a successful development, registration and commercialisation of all five products, that’s what we would call success for the business.”

During their first steps into the world of being entrepreneurs, they’ve learnt a few things along the way about what it takes.

“You need to be passionate about whatever you're doing and have fun. Reach out to people as well. There is a really cool ecosystem for entrepreneurs to make the most of,” said Richard E.

Find out more about our Sprout Accelerator.