A team of students from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Pharmacy has won the National Community Pharmacy Association’s (NCPA) Good Neighbor Pharmacy Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition for the third year in a row, beating out 24 other competitors in a live competition on Oct. 1 in Kansas City.
No other college has managed to win three consecutive victories in the competition, nor has any other school won as many times as UAMS, which also had non-consecutive wins in 2012, 2015, 2017. Named in honor of two champions of independent community pharmacy, the competition is meant to motivate students to create a business model for either buying an existing independent community pharmacy or developing a new one.
“The creativity and innovation of our students never cease to amaze me,” said College of Pharmacy Dean Cindy Stowe, Pharm.D. “Competitions like this one solidly link the curriculum to the practice of pharmacy and allow our students to jump-start their careers by providing professional networking, relationship building and learning that will pay off as they enter the profession. The students and advisors put in a tremendous amount of effort in preparing the business plan and formal presentation. Both are the standard of success.”
“When they announced we won, I was extremely proud of my team,” said team captain Tanner Cooper. “We put in so many hours and to see it pay off was very reassuring. I am very glad I pursued this, and it is something I will cherish for my entire career.”
“After having the opportunity to watch the competition live last year, I knew this was something that I wanted to do,” said Hannah Howard, another member of the team. “The process of developing and writing a business plan from scratch was rigorous, but we put in lots of hard work and it paid off in the end. My teammates are some of my closest friends, and winning the competition with them was even more special.”
“The NCPA Foundation helps cultivate the next generation of independent community pharmacy owners and the Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition is our crown jewel in those efforts,” said Jerry Shapiro, Pharm.D., president of the NCPA Foundation. “Many past participants in the competition have gone into ownership and point to this experience as being an important stepping stone in achieving that goal.”
As a reward for their victory, the UAMS chapter received $3,000, and an additional $3,000 was contributed to the school in Stowe’s name to promote independent community pharmacy.