Pharmacy Careers
Volume 0

StaffWriter, Pharmacy Times

The National Community PharmacistsAssociation (NCPA) Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competitionis tough. In the end,however, the participating pharmacystudents learn the importance ofhard work, leadership, and dedication.

The goal of the competition is tomotivate pharmacy students to createa blueprint necessary for buying anexisting independent communitypharmacy or to develop a new pharmacy.?It motivates students andteaches them more than they everrealized when the competition isdone,? commented Jackie Lopez,PharmD, associate director of managementand student affairs at theNCPA.

?The Pruitt-Schutte Student BusinessPlan Competition provides atremendous learning opportunity forpharmacy students to get hands-onexperience in creating solid businessplans in today?s extremely difficultreimbursement environment for prescriptiondrugs,? said Bruce Roberts,RPh, NCPA executive vice presidentand chief executive officer. ?By givingthese students the chance to developand implement their business modelsand receive valuable feedback frompharmacy professionals, NCPA isable to better prepare tomorrow?spharmacy entrepreneurs for a successfulfuture.?

The 2007 student business plansencompass many segments of independentpharmacy ownership. Theplans range from women?s healthissues to wellness programs with corporatebusinesses to pharmaceuticalcare service that incorporates Easternand Western medicine for the Chinesecommunity.

In its fourth year, the competitionhas seen the number of applicantsgrow. This year, the competition has32 applicants, compared with 16 in2004. In addition, 6 new pharmacyschools are participating in the 2007competition, according to Dr. Lopez.

Each business plan is graded onspecific criteria worth a total of 200points. The criteria include a summaryof the loan request, description ofthe business, marketing plan, andfinancial documentation. The 2 maincomponents of the business plan arefeasibility/ability to implement (35points) and originality and creativity(25 points). For the feasibility/abilityto implement, the information presentedmust be applicable to the currentpharmacy marketplace andattempt to accurately predict futureperformance. A core purpose of thecompetition is to encourage pharmacystudents to think about how theywould go about structuring theirown pharmacy business and, ultimately,result in becoming a pharmacyentrepreneur. Therefore, the originality and creativity portion shouldprovide new, innovative services tothe community pharmacy marketplace.

The business plans are scored by aseries of judges that include independentpharmacy owners, pastpresidents of NCPA, bank owners,and wholesalers. The top 3 finalists,who were announced at the AmericanAssociation of Colleges of Pharmacyannual meeting on Orlando onJuly 15, will present their plans orallyto a panel of judges at the NCPAAnnual Convention in October. Thisyear?s finalists hail from schoolsacross the country:Washington StateUniversity, University of Buffalo, andUniversity of Washington. TheWashington State University team,including David White, JacquelineEide, Iris Kim, and Andrew Yancey,who are all in their third professionalyear, with Advisor Linda GarreltsMacLean, is building a plan entitled,?Rxtra Care Pharmacy BusinessPlan.? The plan entitled ?Isabella?sApothecare LLC Business Plan? hasbeen developed by Alexandra Centeno,Kathryn Jones, Liliana Yohonn,Christina Ramsay, and Advisor ProfessorKarl Fiebelkorn from the Universityof Buffalo. All team membersfrom Buffalo are in their third professionalyear. The team from theUniversity of Washington has developeda plan entitled, ?East MeetsWest Pharmacy, LLP.? The teammembers from the University ofWashington include Marlo Murray,Janelle Wilde, Ellen Smith, as well asAdvisor Jacqueline Gardner. Thewinning team will be announcedduring the NCPA convention.

Whereas only 4 members of a teamare allowed to participate in the livepresentation competition for finalists,teams may apply with <4 members.In 2004, the third place finalistwas a student who submitted a planalone and today owns his own pharmacy,according to Dr. Lopez. Eachteam must have 1 team advisor that isan NCPA member or who is a fulltimefaculty member at the team?sschool of pharmacy.

Dr. Lopez said that student feedbackon the competition has beenpositive. She said some students havecommented that ?it?s hard work andthey don?t know what they?re gettinginto until they finish the project,? or?it?s the best thing they?ve ever done.?

The competition is supported by 2champions of independent pharmacy?Neil Pruitt, Sr and H. JosephSchutte?the NCPA Foundation, andMallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.

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