Vedant Nahar, Ankit Macherla, Lucas Walsh – 2023
Scripps Ranch High School
“Participating in the blue ocean competition gives the participants a unique opportunity to creatively think about the day to day issues they encounter and a chance to find a solution to it.”
Below is an interview with the Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneur Pitch Competition 2021 winner for best health care pitch. These young men pitched the idea of allowing nurses to create, claim and delegate tasks in real-time and on the go. Hopefully this pitch inspires other students to compete and offer solutions to current problems.
Why did you enter the contest? What did you hope to accomplish or learn?
We entered the competition to gain more exposure in creating pitch decks as well as an opportunity to show off our achievements. We learned many things such as pivoting when the time was right, making sure the idea is viable, and understanding how our target works so we efficiently market to them. We hoped to accomplish many things such as building a functional MVP as well gaining any contacts in the nursing facilities.
How did you learn about the competition (school or teacher, Internet, recommendation from a friend…)?
We learned about the competition when trying to find potential pitch competitions where we can pitch our work and pursue our entrepreneurial passions. Additionally, it was later suggested to us by a friend.
If you learned about this from the Internet, did you find this through Instagram, Facebook, web Search…?
We learned the Blue Ocean Competition through stumbling upon the website. We saw the new progressive concepts it brought to the table and we all thought we should participate as both a business exercise and to see how far we could go.
Why this contest and not another one? What appealed to you about this competition?
Blue Ocean was one of the most popular options that came up with a few google searches. It also was available to most high schoolers. The competitions appealed to us just because of how much we could potentially learn and the fact that it was a global competition.
How or why did you pick your topic?
Medication errors have been a significant under the radar issue in medical facilities, especially nursing facilities and nurse burnout has played a significant role in this. However, as COVID-19 hit the world, this problem only worsened. With no other solutions in sight to fight this issue, we pursued our own solution in Med-Alert.
Is this a real business that you plan on pursuing?
As of now, we are planning to continue with our startup. We have accomplished many impressive things and believe that the problem is significant enough that someone needs to step up.
Do you plan on being an entrepreneur?
Ankit- entrepreneurship is a great skill to have in whatever field you pursue. While I want to pursue a career in medicine, I thoroughly enjoy entrepreneurship and would love to find a way to merge these two passions as done in our current business.
Vedant- I personally enjoy entrepreneurship. There is some risk involved, but a greater reward that comes out of it. I love computer science as well entrepreneurship so in the future I can always apply what I know to create a startup and still have a back up plan if it fails.
Lucas- I really enjoyed the experience I had at Blue Ocean, and I would love to be an entrepreneur in the future among other things! I’m really interested in the marketing side of business so I would love to get out there and sell something I believe in!!!
What were your favorite learnings from the Blue Ocean concepts (if any)?
The ERRC Grid and the Strategy Canvas were two of our favorite Blue Ocean concepts to use. It was an effective way to evaluate our current idea and view what we hope to reduce and eliminate, and what we hope to increase and create. It was a new perspective on our business features that we didn’t consider before.
How much time did you spend creating your pitch?
We spent a lot of individual time working on our respective parts of our pitch, as well as a lot of zoom calls going over everything we wanted to say during our brief spotlight!
What was easy?
Forming the team was easy. After being friends for about a year, it was very obvious that we all have complimentary talents that we can help each other with, whether that is my leadership, Lucas’s marketing skills, or Ankit’s in-depth knowledge of security and technology in the medical space.
What was hard?
Initially in our business venture, our idea had the right intention however, our solution wasn’t viable. When we realized this, we felt that it may have been too late. We had to pivot a couple of times. This was the most difficult aspect of pursuing our idea as we had to abandon some of our initial ideas and figure out and apply what we discovered through our customer validation. However, in the end we were able to successfully pivot.
Did you have fun?
I personally had lots of fun, as the Blue Ocean competition provided an experience that gave our team a lot of room to grow, learn, and prosper. Learning about the existence of Blue Ocean Markets, as well as how to capitalize on them is a really great business skill to learn, as it teaches entrepreneurs to work smart and not struggle in a market filled to the brim with competitors.
Did you find the fact that this is a virtual and global competition appealing?
The virtual and global competition was appealing. We turned in the videos on time and it was very doable with the timeline provided. It was very structured which is something the team appreciates.
If you worked as a team, how did you work together virtually during this interesting year?
As a team, we held hour long meetings on zoom three times a week on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays to discuss Med-Alert. By screen sharing when necessary and having strict schedules, we felt comfortable meeting virtually, and it was much more convenient as well considering our busy HighSchool schedules.
Did your school or teacher encourage you or did you pursue this on your own?
We pursued this completely on our own. When we saw the opportunity, we wondered how far we would get, so we reached for it! This competition made us think of some aspects of our business that we never explored before, and we are so thankful as team Med-Alert to have participated!!!
What did you learn?
I could fill up the whole document answering this, but the main things we learnt were about pivoting, project management, defining your target market, and standing out from competitors with our value proposition. Some other things that our team learned as a whole is pivoting, and working efficiently.
What would you do differently?
As a business, we would have begun our business differently in hopes to avoid the pivot we had to do in order to create a viable idea. First off, we would have done our customer validation earlier to make the pivot happen a lot smoother and quicker.
What advice do you have for future participants?
Passion is the most important aspect of business. You will make so much more headway with a product that you actually care about succeeding. Our idea’s goal is to both save lives from medication errors and help nurses with their stress and organization during the shift. We have a clear purpose to help both nurses and patients, and that end goal keeps us motivated to do whatever we can to improve our product. The same goes for your role in the company. I love doing market research and writing posts for our social media. At one point the company needed me to step up and make the company’s future goals, and although I tried really really hard, my heart wasn’t fully in it. It was a great learning experience and taught me about how to manage all the different elements of our project, past present and future, but I also learned the lesson that it’s just not the right role for me!
Any other comments that you want to make?
We would like to just say that what Blue Ocean is doing is very interesting and has a lot of potential. During our teen years, we often waste time, but it’s competitions like these that keep us busy and teaches us life skills that we will most likely apply in the future.