(18 April 2013) One called it the highlight of her pharmacy career. Another discovered owning her own pharmacy was an attainable goal. And a third developed important new relationships that may someday make the difference in attaining her professional objectives.

And that was just the highlights for members of the winning team.

The MyPharmacy team of Holly Able, Aussemon Ramezani, Sarah Robbins and Crystal Allen won the First Annual Student Business Plan Competition, held April 13 by the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center (KPIC) at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy (SCCP).

By winning the competition, the team will go on to compete in the 2013 Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. If chosen as one of three finalists in that national competition, the team will present their plans at the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Annual Convention October 12-16 in Orlando.

“My ultimate goal is to become an independent pharmacy owner and the Kennedy Innovation Center and business plan competition have given me a small taste of what this dream will be like,” said Able. “The business plan competition has definitely been a highlight of my pharmacy career.”

All four members of MyPharmacy are second year pharmacy students at the SCCP’s University of South Carolina (USC) campus. The competition encouraged them to think about owning their own pharmacies when they graduate.

“At the beginning of the competition process I had considered it, but I had this perception that owning my own pharmacy seemed a bit beyond my reach,” said Robbins. “But after doing the research and planning involved with the business plan, I definitely see owning a pharmacy as an attainable goal.”

SCCP students worked in teams of up to four students to develop a business plan to either create a new community pharmacy or to purchase an existing community pharmacy. Teams were able to work with a faculty/practitioner mentor for guidance if needed. The top three written business plans were selected to compete in the final round of the competition. The finalists provided a business plan presentation before a live audience and a panel of judges. During the live presentation event, the finalists had 20 minutes to present their business plan to a panel of three judges, which included:
John Pugh, PharmD, USC College of Pharmacy alumnus, owner of Prosperity Drug Co, president of the South Carolina Pharmacy Association
Hugh Mobley, RPh, USC College of Pharmacy alumnus, owner of Mobley Drugs, member of USC Board of Trustees
Sarah Andrews, CPA, credit underwriter for the Pharmacy Vertical of Live Oak Bank, based in Wilmington, N.C.
The judges evaluated the team's plans and presentation's and selected a winner. The presentations simulated a presentation to a lending institution or group of investors. Teams were evaluated not only on the written plan, but also on their presentation skills. The goal of the Program is to facilitate the development of the business planning process, develop creative practice models for the community pharmacy setting, and ultimately result in more pharmacy entrepreneurs.

The MyPharmacy team developed a plan for a new start up pharmacy in the Carolina Forest area of Myrtle Beach, SC. The business mission is to provide comprehensive pharmaceutical services to achieve optimal health outcomes for patients living in the Carolina Forest area by delivering exceptional customer service and patient-centered care. The team developed a business model that blended a combination of traditional pharmacy services with pharmaceutical compounding, patient education, medication therapy management services, and innovative technology to enhance patient care.

Other Top Finishers
Second Place ($500 scholarship for each team member)
Hirsch Pharmacy
Team Members: Kaitlyn Bastug, Michael Scruggs, David Whittington, and Austin Simpson

A team of all second year students at SCCP's USC campus, the mission of Hirsch Pharmacy is to provide personalized pharmaceutical care to the greater Five Forks area by offering family-centered services and products, but more importantly, the presence of a knowledgeable, compassionate pharmacy staff working for the community to promote health and wellness.

Third Place ($250 scholarship for each team member)
Coastal Wellness Pharmacy
Team Members: Jen Beach, Tu Nguyen, Aaron Sloan, and David Shipp

A USC campus team of all third year students except P1 Nguyen, the Coastal Wellness Pharmacy team Coastal Wellness Pharmacy is a unique, innovative approach to community pharmacy that emphasizes continuity and comprehensive care. The goal is to not only maximize our patients’ prescription drug regimens, but also to help them achieve overall health and wellness. In order to accomplish this goal the pharmacy will focus not only on the traditional role of prescription care, but also on services such as nutraceuticals, ambulatory care, diet, exercise and other forms of healthy living. It is our belief that all of our patients truly want to achieve overall wellness, and we, as Pharmacists, have the capabilities and knowledge to be a part of the healthcare team that helps them do so. We want to empower our patients with the knowledge and resources necessary to take charge of their wellness and make positive changes for the long term.