Senior wins business award after pitching on Indianapolis Motor Speedway

BY CLARK CAHILL | APRIL 07, 2009 7:30 AM

Working more than 90 hours per week without pay probably doesn’t sound enticing to most college graduates.

But for UI senior Jared Garfield, this scenario will be reality when he joins his business partner full-time at J & J Solutions after graduating in May.

“I’ll be living the entrepreneur life of peanut butter and jelly and table scraps,” he said.

“Unfortunately that is how it’s gotta be if you want to be successful.”

Garfield recently won $10,000 in a competition sponsored by Ball State University’s Entrepreneurship Center. In the semifinal round, Garfield had 500 seconds to pitch his business idea to three judges while riding in a limousine around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The money will go to help J & J Solutions, a medical-device manufacturing company that Garfield and John Slump, a 2008 UI alumnus, began around two-and-a-half years ago.

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The duo has developed a product designed to handle hazardous drugs, providing a safer and more effective method of preparing and administering chemotherapy.

The prototype is a closed-system transfer device that facilitates the safe transmission of fluid from a vial to a syringe throughout the entire transfer and preparation process of the drugs, Garfield said.

“Right now, there is a huge prevalence of user mishandling, fatigue, needle pricks,” he said.
More than 50,000 cancer patients each year fall victim to preventable errors, Garfield noted. As a result, more than 5.5 million workers are exposed to the drugs.

Garfield and Slump have had success in several other entrepreneurial competitions, earning more than $35,000 to date in contests alone. They’ve also raised more than $120,000 in private equity from various investors.

The company has obtained letters of purchase interest and have executed contracts for beta testing.

That, along with having a strong scientific advisory board, brings credibility and validation for their product when they pitch their idea, Garfield said.

“I think that shows the judges and investors we are serious and we actually are doing this. There is actually a need,” he said. “The judges usually don’t have time to see if a product is real, and we provide that validation.”

While Garfield is in class in Iowa City, Slump travels throughout the Midwest looking to generate leads for potential customers.

“I’m not looking for them to buy,” he said. “We want their feedback on what they think about the technology and what they would like to see it do.”

Slump has piqued the interest of several companies including Cleveland Clinic, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and the UI Hospitals and Clinics, he said.

But the toughest obstacle facing J & J Solutions right now is raising enough money to fully develop their product and get it into the alpha testing sites they already have in place, Slump said.

David Hensley, the director of the UI Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, said Garfield and Slump have done an excellent job of representing the UI in competitions and has no doubt the duo will have future success.

“It’s refreshing to see young people excited about what they are doing and willing to take the risks involved to be successful,” he said.

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