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Health Sciences Entrepreneurship Boot Camp – applications are due

March 22

Conductor, UAMS, BioVentures, University of Central Arkansas, and Arkansas INBRE collaborate to host boot camp for undergraduate and graduate-level students around the state.
Conductor, BioVentures, UAMS, University of Central Arkansas, and Arkansas INBRE are collaborating for the fourth year to host a weeklong camp for undergraduate and graduate students from across the state. Scheduled for May 16-22, 2021, the camp is an intensive program that focuses on innovative ways to solve healthcare problems and equips the students with the knowledge and resources to start and fund their own health science venture or begin a career in the healthcare industry. The program won an Innovations in Research and Research Education Award in 2018 from the Association of American Medical Colleges and has catalyzed dozens of students into the healthcare industry.
“The program provides such a unique learning opportunity around healthcare innovation for students in Arkansas”, said Nancy Gray, Ph.D., President of BioVentures, LLC, “By focusing on healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship, the program provides a perspective on healthcare that most students don’t have the opportunity to experience in a traditional classroom”
Learn more & apply

The University of Central Arkansas campus will be home to the camp over the week. Over five days, students from universities and colleges around the state will experience hands-on training in venture creation, intellectual property and patent filing, building an entrepreneurial team, funding a venture, and more. In addition, the curriculum includes aspects of leadership development, customer discovery, networking with industry experts, and team-building amongst the student venture teams.

“The boot camp focuses on challenging and developing student’s perspectives of problem-solving versus solution-seeking in the healthcare industry while providing high-value experiences and mentors as they prepare for a career in healthcare or position themselves to build their own healthcare companies”, said Jeff Standridge, Managing Director of the Conductor.

The 2020 camp plans were canceled due to the rising numbers of COVID-19 active cases and the safety of campers and mentors. The Health Sciences Entrepreneurship Boot Camp 2021 will follow the current CDC and Arkansas Department of Health’s guidelines on mask-wearing, social distancing, and the number of people in one room to host a safe environment for campers and mentors.

At the 2019 camp, the ideas ranged from a company to connect community hospitals to health care companies for pilot clinical studies to products for customizing electronic health records to individual users. The winning team, PAKI (Prediction of Acute Kidney Injury) Solutions, proposed a new service using in-hospital computer systems software to identify patients at risk for kidney injury and to take steps to prevent that injury from occurring. The winning team members were Selom Ayawovi Ametepe, a student at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Mahanaz Syed, a UAMS student, and Bhavya Patel, a student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

“My experience at the Boot Camp really required stepping out of my comfort zone and learning how to network with business leaders,” said Ms. Patel. “The camp teaches you how to work collaboratively with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences to solve problems facing the healthcare industry.”

Boot Camp alumni have received numerous awards in entrepreneurship; many have changed career paths and/or pursued entrepreneurial initiatives due to the camp. Two student teams that graduated from the 2017 camp went on to compete in the 2017 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup collegiate business plan competition. One team won the first-place prize of $25,000, and the other won the Undergraduate Innovation Award at the competition. Overall, four alumni have established new healthcare startup companies in Arkansas. An alumni team also participated in the Regional I-Corps program in Austin, TX, following the Boot Camp.

Students at the camp work closely with mentors and subject matter experts from the University of Central Arkansas, UAMS, and the business and entrepreneurship community. Additionally, Conway Regional Health System invites the students to come into the hospital and conduct customer discovery and research during the problem identification portion of the boot camp. The students are given access to nearly 70 mentors and experts throughout the week.

The lodging, food, and programming are at no cost for accepted students and are funded through Arkansas INBRE, BioVentures, and the Conductor. Students are accepted from a diversity of backgrounds and majors. Eligible students must have an interest in healthcare, complete at least their sophomore year of college at the time of the camp, and be a student from an Arkansas college or university. Space permitting, spots may be available for immediate graduates and graduate students.

The week-long camp will conclude with a Demo Day on May 22, during which the public is invited to attend virtually as the teams present their new venture ideas.

The application period begins on December 14, 2020, and candidates may find more information and apply at www.arconductor.org/bootcamp. The early consideration deadline for the Camp is Monday, February 15, 2021. All other applications are due by Monday, March 22, 2021.