In 2004, NCPA held the inaugural pharmacy student business plan competition in which six schools submitted entries. Just nine years later, this competition has grown in popularity and participation with 40 schools entering in 2012.
The Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition is the first national competition of its kind in the pharmacy profession and is named in honor of two great champions of independent community pharmacy, the late Neil Pruitt Sr. and the late H. Joseph Schutte. The goal of the competition is to motivate pharmacy students to create a business model for buying an existing independent community pharmacy or developing a new pharmacy. The competition is supported by Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Pharmacists Mutual Companies, and the NCPA Foundation. As the number of schools competing has increased so have the quality of the business plans submitted.
NCPA will be profiling each of the three finalists on “The Dose” prior to their live competition before a panel of judges at NCPA’s annual convention in San Diego which takes place October 13-17. The live competition will take place on Sunday, October 14 at 2:30pm. [To register to attend, click here.] A profile of the winner will appear in the January 2013 issue of America’s Pharmacist magazine and receive a full length feature in the April 2013 issue.
This year, the University of Kentucky School Of Pharmacy is making another appearance in the final three since placing 2nd in the 2006 competition. NCPA caught up with Ashley Lanham of the University of Kentucky team over email. Our Q&A with her follows.
NCPA: What made you consider a career in independent community pharmacy and to ultimately enter this contest?
Ashley Lanham: My grandfather was an independent community pharmacy owner. I saw his interaction with his patients over the years and hope that one day I can impact my community in a similar way. I am also very interested in business as I am completing my MBA as a dual degree program with my PharmD.
NCPA: Can you sum up the highlights of your proposed plan to purchase or start an independent community pharmacy?
AL: We decided to purchase a pharmacy and initiate new programs to improve business flow and patient care. We used emerging ideas in the profession of pharmacy that advance patient care.
NCPA: What makes the independent community pharmacy that you propose to purchase or open stand out from other retail pharmacies in the area?
AL: We initiated new programs in an existing pharmacy, such as a Medication Therapy Management Service. We constructed patient care rooms for privacy during counseling, MTM and immunizations. We also planned to work with local physicians to work as an interprofessional team through collaborative care agreements.
NCPA: For those who are unfamiliar with the competition, can you describe the time and effort that went into writing your business plan?
AL: My team started in January. We met every week for two to three hours. We wrote the business plan in parts and then shared ideas during our weekly meeting. I was surprised at the amount of time we spent on the review process. After getting feedback from our advisor, we had many changes to make, and I wish we would have left more time in our schedule for this. We still continue to meet once a week to prepare for the live competition.
NCPA: What else would you like to tell people about the competition?
AL: I would encourage teams to make a schedule at the start of the process and try to stick to it.
NCPA: What advice would you give students who may be interested in entering the Business Plan Competition?
AL: I learned many things about writing a business plan and working with a team during the business plan process. I would encourage anyone who is interested to get more information from the NCPA website.
NCPA: Anything you’d like to add regarding your pharmacy school or NCPA student chapter?
AL: My school has a great support network for the business plan team. The faculty and staff are very supportive during the planning and review process.