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UAMS Makes Its Fifth Trip to NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition Finals

by NCPA | Sep 28, 2017

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On Oct. 14, students from three pharmacy schools will make live presentations in the finals of the Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. These presentations will be held during the NCPA 2017 Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla. and are open to Convention attendees (there is still time to register!). Those who attend are treated to fresh, innovative ideas from these aspiring entrepreneurs, some of which can be replicated in existing pharmacies.

Since the inaugural competition in 2004, in which six schools submitted entries, the contest has grown in popularity. This year, 34 pharmacy schools submitted entries, and, for the fifth time in the past six years, a team from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy (UAMS) is among the three finalists, having won the competition in 2012 and 2015.

The team, comprised of Hilary Dowd, Jacob Thurlkill, Stephen Stricklin, Matt Garner, Levi Ellison, and Kanesha Day, outlined their proposal and shared their thoughts on the competition with NCPA. (Down, Strickland, Ellison, and Day will be presenting at the competition this year.)

NCPA: What made you consider a career in independent community pharmacy and to ultimately enter this contest?

UAMS: We all like that independent pharmacy is more personable and allows pharmacists to tailor their services and businesses to their patients. We decided to enter this contest to learn more about ownership and to hopefully carry on the tradition here at UAMS.

NCPA: Can you sum up the highlights of your proposed plan to purchase or start an independent community pharmacy? What makes the independent community pharmacy that you propose to purchase or open stand out from other retail pharmacies in the area?

UAMS: IntelliScript Pharmacy is set apart by our commitment to utilizing technology to its fullest extent. We plan to focus on the convenience of technology in order to find a way to combat medication nonadherence.

NCPA: For those who are unfamiliar with the competition, can you describe the time and effort that went into writing your business plan? How many hours a week? What was the most unusual or surprising thing you had to do in preparing? What about your preparations for the live presentation in Orlando?

UAMS: It was surprising how long it took us to come up with a feasible and competitive idea. Throughout the semester, we put in a lot of time and paid close attention to the details of our plan. When deadlines were approaching, we definitely put in more than 40 hours a week of work. We have kept the same focus and drive in preparing for the live presentation in Orlando and hope to do well. To prepare, we are fielding critical questions from more than just a pharmacist's point of view.

NCPA: What else would you like to tell people about the competition?

UAMS: It takes a lot of time and commitment to prepare for this competition, but it is worth it! We have had multiple opportunities to network with local pharmacists and have had a lot of time to strengthen friendships with our teammates.

NCPA: What advice would you give students who may be interested in entering the business plan competition?

UAMS: Commit early on to do your part. Be a great teammate. Don't discount the value of all members of your team. Each one brings unique perspectives and ideas that you can never produce alone.

NCPA: Anything you'd like to add regarding your pharmacy school or NCPA student chapter?

UAMS: This competition is a big deal at UAMS and we are grateful for the opportunity to represent our school. We could have never reached this far without the direction and support from our team advisors, Drs. Schwanda Flowers and Seth Heldenbrand, as well as our family and friends.

Each of the three finalists will receive an award based on where they place:

  • First Place—$3,000 to the NCPA student chapter and $3,000 contributed to the school in the dean's name to promote independent pharmacy.

  • Second Place—$2,000 to the NCPA student chapter and $2,000 contributed to the school in the dean's name to promote independent pharmacy.

  • Third Place—$1,000 to the NCPA student chapter and $1,000 contributed to the school in the dean's name to promote independent pharmacy.

As an added bonus, the winning team will be featured in an upcoming issue of America's Pharmacist.