This spring marked the 6th annual DELTA Rx Next Top Entrepreneur Competition. With 27 competitors making up 13 teams, it was the largest and most challenging competition to date.
Teams ranged in size from 1 to 3 participants and consisted of a wide variety of majors, including pharmacy to business to health sciences.
The judges, who represented both business and healthcare fields, were faced with the tough decision of selecting the top presentations each round, as well as which teams would move on to the next round. Each was incredibly impressed with the level of effort and professionalism displayed by the participants:
I am always enamored with the innovative approaches to healthcare. I also really enjoy coming in as an outsider and seeing the growth and development of those students who participate multiple years in a row. It is a great opportunity to develop presentation and communication skills. Robert Loch, MBA, CNMT
Each year it seems as if the concepts are better developed than the year before. It is apparent that time and effort is put into planning the final presentations. The students are always professional and well prepared. It is becoming harder to choose the winners as the caliber of ideas increases. The DELTA Rx Next Top Entrepreneur Competition is a great way to help the students begin to think in an entrepreneurial way. It is always an honor to be asked to judge and work with such amazing young adults. Deb Bishop, Ph.D.
During each round, the teams planned and presented innovative healthcare-related ideas. In the first round, all 13 teams had 3 minutes to present original proposals for a product or service, with the top 10 teams advancing to Round 2. In this round, each team had one hour to develop an innovative solution addressing a health care problem revealed upon their arrival. This year’s problem involved combating the growing issue of obesity in the United States. The top five teams were selected to move on to Round 3, where they refined one of their ideas from Rounds 1 or 2 and prepared a 15 minute presentation on the business plan and budget proposal. Three winners were selected by the judging panel and awarded cash prizes of $1,500, $1,000 and $500, respectively.
1st place – “Health 2 You”
Presenters: Michael Sage, Laura Vollmer, Zach Kadow
Overview: Health 2 You is a mobile device application that fosters healthy lifestyles by creating individualized health plans tailored to a patient’s specific health status. Electronic medical records would be scanned in to the app to generate health goals for a patient based on current labs, medical conditions, etc. The app, provided by insurance companies, then provides incentives such as lower premiums to encourage patients to take charge of their healthcare and make positive lifestyle changes.
2nd place – “Tech-Fitness”
Presenters: Michael Schnackenberg, Joe Brandenburg, Tom Walters
Overview: Tech-Fitness is a software program that allows parents to monitor and set up fitness goals for their children that when achieved, unlock their child’s favorite devices- televisions, computers, gaming systems, etc. The program includes a pedometer that counts the child’s steps throughout the day. When the child reaches a predetermined number of steps, the pedometer can be plugged into a control box that then uploads the data and unlocks a preset number of hours of television or gaming. This teaches the users the importance of goal-setting and rewards healthy exercise habits.
3rd place- “Finding the Step That’s Right For You”
Presenters: Holly Thurauf, Natalie Gadbois
Overview: Holly and Natalie created an online assessment of mental health status that people can take in the comfort of their own homes. The purpose of the survey is to help prevent the progression of obesity by developing individualized solutions patients can begin early on. The results of the assessment are used to create a personalized plan of action and provide suggestions on how each person can begin moving toward a healthier lifestyle. It encourages confidence in patients as they take charge of their healthcare and recognize the potential to improve.
The competition proved to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for all those involved. Feedback from the students was overwhelmingly positive:
"I loved the ability to integrate the pharmacy profession into a business perspective while challenging myself to think outside the box. The competition portrayed a variety of different ideas revolving around healthcare in a unique way by students. It helped me develop my speaking, working quickly on my feet and teamwork skills. It was great because it is something you cannot truly not learn in a classroom. Furthermore, it challenged the way I applied my knowledge from the classroom to a real-life situation. I found it great to analyze different ideas within the context of healthcare and how it would benefit the population."
- Laura Vollmer, P2
"I love this competition because it gives us science nerds the opportunity to engage in different types of thinking. We have the chance to apply our skills in a different fashion that is fun and competitive. My favorite part is sitting in on the presentations of the other competitors because their ideas are so innovative. It's exciting to see the amazing healthcare solutions that are thought of in such a short amount of time by peers. I am so thankful for this opportunity to engage as active participants in solving the problems in healthcare, instead of just reading about them."
- Michael Sage, SR HS
Congratulations to all of the participants, judges, and DELTA Rx staff who made this year’s competition such a success!