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What’s in a knee? A great business idea

The new knee brace is being developed as part of the Master of Business Creation program.

Inundated with recovery protocols after her knee surgery, Megan Hanrahan felt the drive to help make the healing process simpler. She is now developing the solution as a founder in the Master of Business Creation (MBC) program at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business.

Hanrahan’s product—a knee brace that combines cooling and stabilizing technology in an integrated system—began to come to life through her physical therapy consulting business, Vibe Wellness.

“As a physical therapist, I see a need to help make self-care easier and more convenient,” Hanrahan said. “I just saw a solution of integrating as many tasks as I could into this knee brace.”

Hanrahan said her goal is to offer natural therapy techniques in one stand-alone product to help patients heal faster and avoid pain medications.

Through prototyping that led to bench-to-bedside testing alongside students, the brace is now in the final stages of testing as a proof-of-concept. With multiple samples, Hanrahan’s product has been demonstrated to work.

“What I need now is the MBC program to help me take it to the next level of the quality and professional-grade to commercialize it,” she said.

Alongside her own experience, Hanrahan said she received a lot of encouragement to fulfill her creative drive. After several people brought the Master of Business Creation program to Hanrahan’s attention, she thought it would aid in her journey to launch a product while mid-career.

“Once the program starts, you’re continuously working on your company and learning every day. That directed focus, with rigorous deadlines, has been really key for me,” Hanrahan said.

One major takeaway? A meticulous work ethic, backed by professional strategies to leverage company value.

“I’m learning to put extra hours in and accomplish strategic areas of learning that I wasn’t strong in before — marketing, finance, customer outreach, and industry analysis,” Hanrahan said. “I thought I had a good handle on it, but I definitely need to grow.”

By the spring of 2021, Hanrahan aims to have a clear-cut, strategic marketing and sales plan for her product established, along with finding sustainable funding.

“I am inspired to remain driven and motivated even beyond the MBC program so that I know I come out fully prepared and that I’ve explored and looked at multiple pathways of launching my business,” she said.

Within the MBC program, Hanrahan said she has found a consistent and talented network of support that is energizing.

“My classmate cohort offers collective support and an entrepreneurial mindset that reminds me of past camaraderie playing on competitive sports teams and succeeding in physical therapy school,” Hanrahan said. “Collectively, we help each other grow and tackle difficult blocks with an ‘all-in, let’s work together’ mindset. I didn’t realize how much I love and value my cohort until I was in the MBC cohort.”

Hanrahan said that the faculty within the Master of Business Creation program is part of the reason it’s so unique.

“Our MBC academic faculty, backed by experienced industry business mentors, breaks through barriers to help us budding entrepreneurs survive and compete,” she said.

Combined with her background in physical therapy, Hanrahan said that innovation came pretty naturally.

“It’s a hands-on profession, and we’re very dedicated to our patients and finding solutions,” she said. “I felt that the MBC program would give me the strength to take my product far beyond an idea … and actually get it commercialized and into the hands of those who will benefit from it.”