During spring semester, in the chaotic early days of the pandemic, a team of UI College of Pharmacy students created a full-fledged business plan for a new community pharmacy.
The planned new business, named TrueHealth Pharmacy, was one of three to advance to the final stage of a national business competition run through the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).
Team members include Steven Landa, Aaron McDonough, Patrick McFadden, Jessica Satterfield, and Matthew Yeates. There will be a live Q&A session on Oct. 6, and the winners of the competition will be announced on Oct. 18 during the virtual NCPA Annual Convention.
We all have an interest in business development and independent pharmacy.
The team designed a logo, created products and services, and crunched in-depth financials. Because it is a competition, the teams are keeping the details of their proposed businesses under wraps for now. But they shared what made them want to participate.
“The five of us have unique skill sets and experiences that led to the creation of TrueHealth Pharmacy,” Satterfield said. “We all have an interest in business development and independent pharmacy.”
“This is my third year in the business plan competition, and I look forward to it every year,” she added. “Making the top three has been a goal of mine since first working on the business plan as a P1. As an MBA student as well, I get to flex some of those skills and work through them in a real-life scenario.”
McFadden has already gotten his MBA. He said:
I have been on the business plan competition team for two years now. I joined because I was able to combine what I learned during my MBA and during the pharmacy program. I enjoy being creative and it was a great way for me to express some of that creativity.
For his part, Landa completed Healthcare Business Leadership Program courses and enjoyed practicing the topics he learned. He said:
This competition has taught me just how much goes into a pharmacy behind the scenes. We see the clinical side most often as pharmacists but seeing what goes into the business helps develop a deeper appreciation for the work put in to developing and growing a business.
I look forward to competing as nationals and helping inspire pharmacists to develop innovative services to better serve their patients.
Yeates has always been interested in taking a non-traditional pharmacy path. He said:
The business plan competition provided me the opportunity to voice my thoughts about a new practice direction and present them to a group of established pharmacists that would tell me if they believed in my ideas or not.
McDonough said he got involved after being encouraged and inspired to do so by people fellow members of the NCPA and those who have competed previously, near and far. He shared:
I believe that students can shape their future careers by getting involved in activities while in school, however, they must push themselves to take the necessary steps toward their goals. The business plan competition pushes our team every year to learn more and think creatively. I am thankful that we were chosen as a top 3 finalist and look forward to pushing ourselves further outside of our comfort zone at the competition.
This is Iowa's fourth time competing, and first time as a top three finalist.
Clinical Assistant Professor Stevie Veach is the team’s faculty advisor. The students also got input and guidance from expert mentors with ties to the college including faculty, business coaches and pharmacy ownership specialists, community pharmacists, company representatives, and others, Satterfield said.
The goal of the founders of the 2020 Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition—in its 17th year—is to prepare tomorrow’s pharmacy entrepreneurs for a successful future.
The team’s competitors come from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy, and the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
First through Third Place prizes include $1,000-3,000 for the NCPA student chapter and the same amount contributed to the school in the dean’s name to promote independent pharmacy.