February 2017 marked the 10th annual DELTA Rx Next Top Entrepreneur Competition. This year had exceptional student participation with twelve teams comprised of twenty students representing four different colleges throughout Drake University. Individuals and teams ranging from freshman to fourth-year pharmacy students took on the challenge to create and present innovative health care solutions throughout three rounds of competition. During each round, students developed and presented their ideas before a panel of expert judges from the health care and business sectors who provided feedback regarding the students’ ideas, innovation, and presentation skills.
Throughout the learning experience, students gained insight and knowledge regarding their own health care ideas and, in the second round, efficient creativity and solutions pertaining to obesity. The competitors found the Next Top Entrepreneur Competition to expand their abilities as innovative thinkers, communicators, adaptive problem solvers, and future professionals.
This year’s winners include the following:
1st Place Presenters – Jacob Schnackenberg
2nd Place Presenters – Christina Bravos and Andrew Wagner
3rd Place Presenter – Michael Harvey and Nicholas Vollmer
The competitors concluded the Next Top Entrepreneur Competition was able to help them prepare for the future and noted the importance of entrepreneurial development as a student. Michael Harvey, a second-year pharmacy student competed for the first time this year and stated, “perhaps the most valuable component of the competition was instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in students that hadn’t explored that aspect of health care before. Throughout the few weeks of the competition, I found myself looking for every opportunity for improvement within the health care system. I started having conversations with health care professionals about very abstract but at the same time very real issues. This competition encouraged me to look at issues that exist and find solutions.”
His team member, Nicholas Vollmer also found value in the experience as a future professional, stating, “I know that this experience has benefited me as a student and practitioner. It taught me the value and power of ideas and the possibility of turning them into reality. It also taught me that it is important to voice and have confidence in my ideas because they do have backing behind them…[The competition] pushed me to think about where I can have an impact in pharmacy in an economical, humanistic, and innovative way. It is rare to be asked how you can do all these things while sitting in classes or in day-to-day life, but this competition pushes you to sit and brainstorm where health care has the biggest need while still being beneficial in all areas.”
Jacob Schnackenberg and Christina Bravos, two pharmacy students who have been strong competitors over the past three years of competition, remarked on the importance of developing their entrepreneurial skills for the purpose of moving the profession forward and practicing leadership early in their careers. Jacob noted that the need for innovation and entrepreneurship in pharmacy is overwhelming, and even as a student he believes, “it is our jobs as pharmacists to continue to push for innovation within the profession and continue to adapt and better the patient care we provide. I am a huge believer that one idea and one driven entrepreneur has the power to change the pharmacy practice.”
Christina echoed this idea, stating, “as entrepreneurial leaders, I think it is important to not only bring new ideas to the table, but also to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality. Big ideas are great; big ideas that work are even better.” She further noted the value of this competition is largely dependent upon the unique insight participants are able to glean from the judges. Competitors have the opportunity to become better innovators and well-rounded students as they evaluate their own ideas, answer questions and assess feedback, and work with team members to think quickly and stretch their creativity and imagination to apply their knowledge to design innovative solutions to real problems in today’s health care environment.
DELTA Rx would like to congratulate each of this year’s participants and extend gratitude to all of the judges who made the competition possible!
Information for the 2018 Next Top Entrepreneur Competition will be added to the DELTA Rx website in Fall 2017.