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College of Pharmacy

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Students show creativity, determination in Business Plan Competition

It took some coaxing to convince Jacob King to take part in his third Business Plan Competition. The annual event held by the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center provides a learning opportunity for future pharmacy entrepreneurs to create a plan for buying an existing independent community pharmacy or developing a new pharmacy.

King needed a nudge from teammate Fay Hussain and KPIC Program Coordinator Pamela Hite to get back on board.

“They both knew I had previously competed in the past two business plan competitions and pushed me to compete again in hopes of bringing home first place this year,” King says.

It was also Hussain’s third time taking part in the competition.

“I enjoy challenging myself to figure out how I could open a business,” she says. “The competition challenges you to blend creativity, logic and business skills to create a feasible new business plan. It’s fun while preparing me to own my own pharmacy one day.”

The push paid off as King, Hussain and  CharLeigh Steverson took first place in this year’s competition.

When I started pharmacy school, I was not confident about owning a business ... Now, three years, three business plans, and one winning plan later, I feel excited and more prepared for a future in community pharmacy.

The team created “Blue Ridge Apothecary.” Building off King’s and Hussain’s plans from previous years and learning from their experience in prior competitions along with Steverson’s expertise in compounding and innovation, the team focused on ensuring their mission and vision of their pharmacy matched how they want to be viewed as practitioners.

“We wanted to ensure that patients and their needs were put at the forefront of our practice while still working behind the scenes to ensure profit margins and salaries of all our employees remained competitive,” says King.

Hussain believes there is no other part in the pharmacy curriculum that challenges a student’s abilities and their business and innovation skills like this competition.

“When I started pharmacy school, I was not confident about any part of owning a pharmacy business,” she says. “Now, three years, three business plans and one winning plan later, I feel excited and more prepared for a future in community pharmacy.”

KPIC executive director Patti Fabel is grateful to mentors Michael Scruggs, 2015 and Kyle McHugh, 1995 and judges Dean Kress, Darla Moore School of Business, Jarrod Tippins, 2009 and Michael Gleaton, 2009.

Each student received a $1,500 KPIC scholarship as a member of the winning team.

"Blue Ridge Apothecary” will represent the College of Pharmacy at the Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition, established by the National Community Pharmacists Association and the NCPA Foundation.

Topics: Pharm.D. program, Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center, Business Education

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