11-20-2008, 09:37 AM
The NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition (http://www.ncpanet.org/studentsvcs/competition/index.php) gives pharmacy students the opportunity to develop their entepreneurship and business planning skills by designing a formal business plan under the supervision of a pharmacist or pharmacy school faculty member. Participants must belong to an active NCPA student chapter. No business background is required. Participants have access to a sample business plan and may consult additional resources to guide them in plan development.
The top three teams are invited to give live presentations at the NCPA annual convention. Awards are as follows:
The team members and team sponsor of the 3 finalists will receive complimentary registration, travel and lodging to the NCPA Convention. After the live presentations are scored, the awards are as follows.
Third Place—$1000 to the NCPA student chapter, and $1000 in the Dean's name to promote independent pharmacy at the school.
Second Place—$2000 to the NCPA student chapter, and $2000 in the Dean's name to promote independent pharmacy at the school.
First Place—$3000 to the NCPA student chapter, and $3000 in the Dean's name to promote independent pharmacy at the school. The team members, team advisor, and Dean will receive complimentary registration, travel, and lodging to the Multiple Location Conference (formerly the Independent Chain Conference).
Team submissions are due by May 1, 2009. For more details or to view an example business plan, please visit the competition home page on the NCPA Website (http://www.ncpanet.org/studentsvcs/competition/index.php).
11-20-2008, 09:40 AM
This article about the business started by one team business plan winners appeared recently on the SDN home page (http://www.studentdoctor.net/2008/11/competition-provides-pharmd-students-with-tools-needed-to-launch-a-business/#comments).
Competition Provides PharmD Students with Tools Needed to Launch a Business
by Deleisa Johnson
Plato said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” But, just having a good idea is not enough. Transitioning an invention from idea to marketable product takes something more—an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as a little confidence.
Three Washington State University PharmD candidates have taken an idea, their entrepreneurial spirit, and the confidence gained from winning the 2006 NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition and launched a much-needed product for pharmacy students.
Flash Forward is a company that produces flash cards of the top 250 drugs. Jason Doss had the idea for the cards in his first year of pharmacy school. “I knew I was going to have to make flash cards for class and I wanted to make it easier by purchasing a set of flash cards instead,” he said. Not finding any for purchase, he realized that there was a need that was not being met.
Doss and Corinne Gavrun were members of Washington State’s winning team of the business plan competition, along with Josh Fancher and Daniela Beilic. Linda Garrelts-MacLean was the team’s advisor.
“The experience of having written a business plan convinced us that it was possible to start a business and succeed,” Doss said. So, in the fall of 2007, Doss and Gavrun joined with fellow pharmacy school student David Villeneuve to launch Flash Forward. Doss is the company’s chief executive officer. Gavrun serves as chief financial officer, and Villeneuve is the chief technology officer.
“The NCPA Business Plan Competition inspired our entrepreneurial spirit and motivated us to take action,” Gavrun said. “After our competition win, we were eager to start up a business that we could run in our spare time while completing our last two years of pharmacy school.”
The trio used lessons learned from the business plan competition in developing and launching Flash Forward. “We went through a process similar to the one we did for the competition,” Gavrun said, “brainstorming creative ideas, assessing idea feasibility, researching the market potential, developing a product prototype, and writing a business plan.”
Not wanting to just produce cards like those students make for themselves, the team spent time developing the cards and including extra features to make them stand apart. “We spent a while researching and designing the look of the cards. We wanted to make sure that the cards would be functional and easy to use for students,” Doss said. “We believe that it is important to put out a quality product that is going to help students and we wanted to get it right.”
Flash Forward is selling sets of the flash cards to pharmacy student organizations, which in turn can sell them to raise funds. The sets include cards for the top 250 drugs to account for differences in top 200 lists and to bring greater value to their customers.
Now that the team has successfully launched the business, they are not content to sit on their laurels. They continue to work to evolve the company and improve their product. “We’ve got some great ideas for the future,” Doss said. “We are developing supplemental cards for specialty areas of pharmacy, as well as updating the cards to reflect the new top 200 lists. We are also in the process of updating our Web site (www.PharmacyFlashCards.com) to get a newer look and take online orders.”
Equipped with the experience of winning the business plan competition and successfully launching Flash Forward, the trio continues to look for new opportunities where they can use their skills. In the summer of 2007, Doss began working for the Community health Association of Spokane (ChAS), a clinic for low income/no income patients in Spokane, Washington.
ChAS leadership was aware of the NCPA business plan win, Doss said. So, they asked him to write a business plan for opening an anticoagulation clinic. “I wrote it in December and January, and presented it to ChAS, and they were very happy with it. They are now in the process of training pharmacists and will be opening the clinic soon,” Doss said. For more information, visit www.PharmacyFlashCards.com.
“This article originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of America’s Pharmacist, published by the National Community Pharmacists Association, Alexandria, Va. Reprinted with permission.”
11-20-2008, 09:53 AM
For discussion purposes:
How many of you are planning to own a business after graduation? Will you be participating in the business plan competition, or have you participated in the past? What else are you doing to prepare for those responsibilities?
12-04-2008, 03:33 PM
I've written a business plan that I plan on presenting to a bank a year after graduation. I need to save up some capital to get it started.