We've all been there: shaving at the sink or in the shower and battling with globs of shaving cream that have dripped in every direction. This annoying predicament has led many to abandon their cream altogether, but not entrepreneur Nick May. The Carleton University student was recently named 2013 Student Entrepreneur National Champion by Enactus Canada for his shaving cream alternative, REMAY.
I was in the shower and gazed at a new razor blade's lubricating strip, he explains. I thought to myself ÔÇÿwhy isn't there a massive lubricating strip that would make my razor feel like it is always new, and at the same time replace the use of messy shaving cream?'
Only 14 at the time of his cosmetic epiphany, May did not yet have the knowledge needed to develop what would become Vanilla Shower Time, a solid, water-activated shaving bar with his trademarked Natraglide formulation. After hundreds of hours of work, all it took was an accident in the kitchen for it to all come together.
With the formula created, May employed focus groups to determine a viable audience. I discovered that women were looking for a more efficient way to quickly shave, either in or out of the shower, he explains, adding that on average we spend approximately two months of our lives shaving. I wanted to make those months healthier and more enjoyable for my friends, family, and those around the globe.
After a friend asked him to mentor a project through Enactus Canada, May became hooked on the organization that connects students with communities and businesses to progress their entrepreneurial ventures. I signed up online and, before I knew it, their extremely friendly staff welcomed me in, he says.
Designed to facilitate and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in students, Enactus annually runs the Student Entrepreneur National Competition. Through partnerships and initiatives, Enactus Canada and community businesses were able to create 110 full-time and 189 part-time positions this past year. The competition was founded in 1997 and focuses on full-time Canadian university and college students that are simultaneously running their own businesses. Other stipulations include owning at least 50 per cent of their company and having been operational for at least six months prior to registration. Regional champions receive a $1,000 cash prize as well as paid travel and lodging costs to attend the Enactus conference. The student entrepreneur champion is awarded $10,000 on top of travel and accommodation costs.
Having recently won first place, May moves forward with not only financial support, but knowledge gained from networking with other Enactus members.
I have realized that there is a slight variation in business practice in different communities, he says. Some people just like to help; some people just want a piece. Both ways are great and part of the game. You just have to know which audience you are working with to help respect everyone's time and to build meaningful relationships.
As for other young entrepreneurs starting out, May advises that they start their businesses early, while still in school. Using learning environments to build connections with professors and students is not only socially advantageous, but may give you an unexpected leg up with future endeavours. Ask the business professors about student entrepreneur programs or competitions, which may be available at your university, he says. Whether or not you win or are accepted into the programs, it will force you to begin your business plan. Follow the path of least resistance and everything will come your way.