Two WSU teams take top honors in annual business plan competition

By Addy Hatch, WSU News

Two teams from the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences placed in the top 10 in a national business plan competition for community pharmacies.

It’s the first time WSU entered two teams in the annual Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. One team was from the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences program in Spokane and the other from Yakima.

“I don’t believe any other school has ever done this,” said Vice Dean for External Relations Linda Garrelts MacLean. “Placing two teams from WSU in the top 10 is phenomenal.”

Leaders of the two WSU teams were Megan Baker in Spokane and Minwoo Park in Yakima. Their teams were: Candice Boyd, Janet Murphy, and Lauren Powell in Spokane, and Santos Rivera and Zachary Rozinek in Yakima. Dr. Damianne Brand-Eubanks, director of student success in Yakima, coached the Yakima team, while Garrelts MacLean worked with both teams.

The competition is designed to motivate pharmacy students to create a feasible business model to either buy an independent community pharmacy or open a new one.

Said Brand-Eubanks, “In coming years community pharmacies will play an increasingly important role in primary care, especially in rural communities. So it’s just as important for students who are interested in that practice to know how to successfully operate a business as it is for them to learn about medicines and pharmacist-provided patient care.”

WSU teams have had previous success in the business plan competition, placing in the top 10 in multiple years and winning the top prize in 2006, 2010, 2011, and 2018.

“We consider our college’s success in the business plan competition a significant achievement, given that WSU’s land-grant mission is to serve all residents of the state,” Garrelts MacLean said. “It’s devastating for a community when an independent pharmacy closes. The skills our teams learn through this experience could help keep those services available.”

The Student Business Plan Competition is supported by Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Pharmacists Mutual Companies, and the NCPA (National Community Pharmacists Association) Foundation. It’s named after two champions of the independent community pharmacy, Neil Pruitt Sr. and H. Joseph Schutte.