Four College of Business Students Win with Idea for Mobile Health Care Clinic for Low-Income Communities
Four Impact MBA students won first place at the Corporate Startup Lab Case Competition in Pittsburgh, taking home a grand prize of $12,000 and defeating Dartmouth College and the University of Pittsburgh in the final round held Oct 20.
Partnering with Optum, a global health care service, the first CSL competition brought 10 teams from public and private business schools to complete, including teams from the University of California, Cornell University and Rutgers University. The competition challenged teams to innovate to solve a challenge facing health care equity within underserved communities.
The team, Helen Wick, Alexis Rhyner, Sohad Hammad and Maya Fischer, presented its concept to a group of panelists from Optum. It won with the winning idea of Vivetha, a mobile health care clinic for low-income populations. However, this isn’t Vivetha’s first iteration.
From Bangladeshi garment workers to mobile health care clinics in the U.S.
Wick and Fischer, who are graduating in December, found they shared an interest in sustainable fashion and the supply chain: specifically, how it impacts people working in the industry. This summer, the pair traveled to Bangladesh to perform additional market research, finding a large gap in health care access for garment workers. While they didn’t have a background in the medical space, Fischer and Wick identified access to health care as an issue with the greatest potential to improve workers’ lives. Applying their knowledge of sustainable business practices, they decided to develop a mobile health care clinic. The concept of Vivetha was born.
After Wick and Fischer’s trip to Bangladesh, they presented their fieldwork to their Impact MBA’s Social Entrepreneurship cohort and found that two other students, Josh Paiva and Sohad Hammad, were working in a similar area.
“We realized that two other team members were in Egypt during the same time frame, looking at providing primary care and mobile vaccinations in Egypt,” Fischer said.
Paiva, CEO and founder of ColoVAX, a mobile vaccination clinic in Colorado, provided beneficial insight into the U.S. mobile clinic market. In September, Wick and Fischer received the prompt for the CSL case competition. Discovering that their ventures used similar business models, they decided to join forces with Paiva and Hammad and harness each other’s strengths.
“We decided that even though we were in a different market, we saw that this might be a great opportunity to see what the U.S. market looks like,” Fischer said.
In preparation for the competition, they conducted additional research, finding that the U.S. faced a very similar problem when addressing health care in low-income communities. Their business model for the competition would reflect this research. While Paiva couldn’t travel for the presentation, his contributions beforehand helped the group develop its venture. He continues to contribute to the venture’s development.
A winning effort
Fast forward to October, the team’s prep for the CSL competition is in full swing. Knowing that having a detailed business plan would only help them in the future of their venture, the team decided to go full force into their business model. Their proposal is to create a mobile clinic that is sponsored by a corporate employer such as Walmart. The mobile clinic would provide primary and preventative health care to employees and community members at the employer site.
“I felt pretty confident in what we proposed because it is a very unique and applicable option, especially for Optum, because they already have mobile clinics,” Fischer said.
Her instincts proved right, and their efforts earned them a win.
Fischer shared that she felt the Impact MBA program provided the necessary preparation to perform well at this competition.
“I think the Impact MBA pushes you out of your comfort zone. Not into the panic zone, but into a space where you can really grow,” she said. “The program is what you make of it, and I was determined from the get-go to make the best of out of it.”
The team is invited to speak at the 2022 Corporate Entrepreneurship Forum in Pittsburgh in November. The event, which will feature 70 speakers from numerous industries, is expected to attract more than 600 attendees.
About CSU’s College of Business
The College of Business at Colorado State University is focused on using business to create a better world.
As an AACSB-accredited business school, the College is among the top five percent of business colleges worldwide, providing programs and career support services to more than 2,500 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students. Faculty help students across our top-ranked on-campus and online programs develop the knowledge, skills and values to navigate a rapidly evolving business world and address global challenges with sustainable business solutions. Our students are known for their creativity, work ethic and resilience—resulting in an undergraduate job offer and placement rate of over 90% within 90 days of graduation.
The College’s highly ranked programs include its Online MBA, which has been ranked the No. 1 program in Colorado by U.S. News and World Report for five years running and achieved No. 16 for employability worldwide from QS Quacquarelli Symonds. The College’s Impact MBA is also ranked by Corporate Knights as a Top 20 “Better World MBA” worldwide.