Sydney Pharmacy students take third at national business competition

A team of students from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Pharmacy took out third place in this year’s National Student Business Plan Competition, run by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

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The competition, which commenced in 2006, was designed to encourage innovation among pharmacy students by asking them to create competitive business plans using their ideas, talents and creative business concepts.

Elizabeth Kim (Captain), Adam Shanahan, Connie Arronis and Anthony Ayoub represented the Sydney Pharmacy School, led by mentor and former competition team captain Daniel Rifkin.

The team travelled to Canberra after sweeping through the quarter- and semi-finals to present a live investors’ pitch to a panel of judges and delegates at the Pharmacy Business Network conference.

The team’s business plan addressed childhood obesity with a pharmacist-monitored program that covered diet, exercise and education. As a highly differentiated program, it was designed to provide daily lunches, regular exercise sessions and the creation of a mobile app to promote a healthier future.

After what organizers said was the “closest contested competition in NSBPC history,” the judges finally awarded the victory to a team from the Queensland Institute of Technology, while students from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology came second.

Team Captain Elizabeth Kim said the competition was engaging and rewarding. “It was a fantastic opportunity to utilize our skills and knowledge to come up with an innovative idea and implement it in a pharmacy. As the future of pharmacy is directed at professional services, the competition allows us to better understand the importance of this. It was definitely a memorable experience.”

This year’s result continued the Faculty of Pharmacy's excellent competitive track record, with two wins (2008, 2009) a second (2011) and now three third-place finishes (2010, 2012, 2013) in the business plan competition’s relatively short history.

Eighteen teams entered this year’s competition, whittled down to six by July for the semi-finals, in which two teams from the University of Sydney featured—reinforcing the Sydney Pharmacy School's competitive strength.

The other Sydney Pharmacy School team included Michael Wu (Captain), Satwik Kamath and Daniela Eassey.

Team mentor Daniel Rifkin, who was captain of the team that won in 2008, was thrilled with the team’s performance, saying he was very proud of the students and that the competition has developed a culture of leadership among the students with a strong focus on incorporating innovative and dynamic mentoring.


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