The DELTA Rx Institute is pleased to announce the final results of the 7th annual DELTA Rx Next Top Entrepreneur Competition. Twenty competitors participated in the competition this spring, forming 9 teams of motivated student entrepreneurs. Students representing several different majors, including pharmacy, accounting, and health sciences, competed to create innovative products and services that provide a unique benefit to society.
A panel of professionals representing the pharmacy, business, and healthcare fields judged each round of the competition. Charged with the difficult decision of selecting the top teams of each round, the judges ranked each team on the originality of their innovation and the quality of their presentation, among other criteria. Judges agreed this year’s competition produced some of the most creative ideas seen in its history:
“As the years progress the students become more and more innovative in their approaches. It has been rewarding to see them call upon their knowledge and experiences and apply them to real world issues. Notably this year, was the application of technology in the delivery of the students’ ideas. We saw PowerPoint, Prezi, and Skype. This is a testament to the students’ drive to differentiate their ideas and their styles. It is a pleasure to continue to participate in the DELTA Rx Next Top Entrepreneur Competition.”
Robert Loch, PhD, MBA, CNMT
It is an honor to be a judge each year and I look forward to participating. Over the years the presentations continue to become more polished and professional and the ideas better defined and articulated. This is a great competition format for students to present innovative healthcare solutions. As a business college faculty member it is also fun to see the increasing cross-campus collaborations.
Deb Bishop, Ph.D.
It was wonderful listening to the student’s ideas and seeing their enthusiasm. I am so glad these students took the time to challenge themselves with something a little “extra.” Hopefully the questions from the judges prompted the competitors to keep thinking, keep pushing forward, and to keep the ideas coming!
Gayle Mayer, RPh
The competition consisted of 3 rounds, each designed to help teams showcase their entrepreneurial skills. In the first round, each team presents a short three-minute healthcare-related product or service to the panel of judges. All 9 teams moved on to round 2, in which they were given 60 minutes to create a business plan for a product or service addressing a given healthcare problem. In honor of February 2014 being the 50th year of American Heart Month, teams were challenged to create an innovation addressing the growing problem of heart disease in the United States. The top five teams were selected to move on to Round 3, during which they refined one of their ideas from the previous rounds and prepared a business plan and budget proposal to present to the judges. Three winners were selected and awarded cash prizes of $1,500, $1,000, and $500, respectively.
The top teams included the following innovative ideas:
First Place: Heart Shield
Team Members: Neel Patel and Scott Morrett
Heart Shield is an implantable chip that can be used to monitor patients for various risk factors for cardiac arrest. The chip syncs with technology to measure values of substances including troponin, which are elevated in patients experiencing a cardiac arrest. This product is unique in that it works to continually monitor patients, identifying risk for cardiac arrest before it occurs.
Second Place: DiabetesSTART
Team Members: Holly Thurauf and Natalie Gadbois
DiabetesSTART (Stepwise Teaching Adherence Readiness Tool) is a child-friendly insulin dispensing system created to educate children with Type I Diabetes and promote adherence to medications. The product allows for child and parent access, helping children to gain confidence in their ability to use insulin independently as they mature. The device sinks with a child’s meter, helping to track blood glucose levels and encourage proper adherence.
Third Place: PortionPerfect
Team Members: Anna Shields and Shea O’Brien
PortionPerfect is an app that consumers can use to ensure they are eating proper food portion sizes in a fun and competitive way. The app allows consumers to take pictures of their food and compare them, using a grid overlay, to common household objects that represent the proper portion size. The app also includes a social aspect, allowing consumers to upload their photos and compete with friends for points redeemable for coupons at participating grocery stores and restaurants. This allows for both a social support system and tangible incentives to encourage healthy decisions.
The competition proved to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for all competitors:
"I particularly enjoy the second round of the competition where we are given a previously unknown healthcare problem in the United States. We have 1 hour to come up with an entrepreneurial idea that can help address it, and I love the pressure and the outside of the box thinking it inspires."
Neel Patel, PharmD/MBA Candidate 2015
"I participated in the competition last year and it was even more fun the second time! It was great to work with my partner Natalie again and see how we were able to improve from last year."
Holly Thurauf, PharmD/MBA Candidate 2015
Thank you to everyone who helped make this competition an overwhelming success, and congratulations to the finalists!