‘Millions for Medicine’ hit the jackpot at business model competition

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A Marshall University business team won the title of grand champion at the inaugural WV Innovation & Business Model Competition (WVIBMC) April 6 in Marshall’s Francis Booth Experimental Theater.

College teams from across West Virginia pitched their business models at the business competition, which was presented by the Lewis College of Business and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (iCenter) and focused on combating the medical debt dilemma in the U.S.

“This competition lets business students use the information and abilities that they have gained in the classroom to learn one of the most important aspects of business – how to pitch your idea,” said Bill Bissett, president and CEO of the Huntington Regional Chamber and emcee of the Competition.

Naming themselves ‘Millions for Medicine,’ a team consisting of Marshall students Kelly Leonard, Mya Linden and Sarah Moir created a lottery system to combat the problem of medical debt.

“We created a lottery system that sells lottery tickets for $1, which grows the jackpot,” Leonard said. “The jackpot is split three ways. Fifty percent of the pot goes to someone with medical debt. Forty-five percent goes to a random ticket winner. Five percent goes to cover the cost structure of Millions for Medicine.”

Leonard, a senior marketing major, said her team’s passion for healthcare fueled their solution. 

“Healthcare debt is a major problem, as there is currently over 81 billion dollars of healthcare debt in the United States,” Leonard said. “Over 64 million Americans struggle to pay that debt. In addition, healthcare debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States.”

The team, as grand champion of the business competition, was awarded $5,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to the Intuit campus in Silicon Valley. Additionally, the team was entered into the International Business Model Competition held in Provo, Utah later this year.

“We worked really hard on this project, so it was really exciting,” said Moir, a team member and senior marketing major. “It was such a great experience, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.”

Linden, another member of the team, said she was grateful to have won because she and her teammates were passionate about the work they are doing and excited that others saw potential in it as well.

“To be the first winner of the WV Innovation & Business Model Competition was very empowering,” Linden said. 

Trey Delida can be contacted at [email protected]