Tomorrow’s pharmacy entrepreneurs shine

La Trobe University's School of Pharmacy and Applied Science, which is based at Bendigo Campus, has dominated the finals at the Pharmacy Guild of Australia's 2014 National Student Business Plan Competition.

The school was one of eighteen to participate, with three La Trobe student teams – the largest number from any pharmacy school – making the finals. Two of the teams progressed to the semi-finals and one came a very close second in the grand final.

Robert Stephenson, Head of Campus, Bendigo, said that the competition encouraged students to use their ideas, talents and energy to create innovative new business ideas in community pharmacy through the development of competitive business plans.

'The final results are a great testament to our students. Their presentations were the culmination of months of hard work developing essays, financial statements, and a presentation to potential business partners.

'That three teams made it through to the finals demonstrates the calibre of the students as well as the wider pharmacy program.'

The grand final took place on Saturday 13 September at Crown Casino in Melbourne. Students pitched their ideas to pharmacists, businesspeople and potential investors attending the Pharmacy Guild of Australia's 2014 Pharmacy Business Network event. They then met the judging panel for a question and answer session.

Dr Joy Spark, Lecturer in Pharmacy & Applied Science, said Pharmacy Business Network 2014 was one of the most important annual pharmacy business management conferences in the country.

'This was an opportunity for students to shine on a national stage, to perhaps operate outside their comfort zones while testing and extending their capabilities.'

Dr Spark thanked industry and business mentors who helped students enhance their business plans, interpreting information through spreadsheets and strengthening financial statements.

'Our students were able to draw on a network of mentors from across the state who generously donated their time, advice and guidance to the teams in the early stages of the competition.'

Students Sylvia Man Li Teh, Sumeet Khakh, and Linda Alexander's team came second in the grand final. Their proposal 'PharmCare Pharmacy' featured two innovative programs.

One would introduce a consultation program in which community pharmacists and beauty therapists would use facial scanning technology to develop skin care regimes based on individual patient needs. The other would introduce a community engagement program advocating the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

'It was an honour representing La Trobe and having our hard work recognised felt really good,' Ms Alexander said.


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