Schulich MMGT team wins Bob Elhart Prize for startup idea

MMGT students Shreya Ramesh, Puneet Gill, Aneetinder Saini and Vibhuti Handa

A team of Schulich Master of Management (MMGT) students has won the first-ever Bob Elhart Prize for their entrepreneurial idea BARE. Shreya Ramesh, Puneet Gill, Aneetinder Saini and Vibhuti Handa were inspired by the closure of salons and spas during the early stages of the pandemic.

“We thought of a ‘salon on wheels’ because of COVID-19,” said Saini. “That’s when we decided to narrow it down to waxing and came up with a product that caters to convenient at-home waxing.”

MMGT students Shreya Ramesh, Puneet Gill, Aneetinder Saini and Vibhuti Handa

The team decided upon a reusable applicator and cotton wax strips with organic wax at a highly affordable price. Refillable cartridges provided a mess-free waxing experience and were delivered based on the frequency set by the customer while signing up for the “Bare Wax Club,” a subscription-based service to deliver at-home wax supplies.

The team says the course’s emphasis on a bottom-up approach, the essential elements of a pitch deck and the marketing plan details helped to refine their pitch. They also found the advice and learnings from guest lectures were beneficial. They believe without the guidance of Chris Carder and Moren Lévesque, co-cirectors of Entrepreneurial Studies, BARE would never have been possible.

“In my last private coaching session with these four amazing energetic and passionate young women, they challenged me,” said Lévesque. “They said that they could get it all: win the Bob Elhart $1,000 prize and get an A-plus for their pitch grade. In my class, this is almost impossible because my grading ‘game’ requires that a team cannot simply put its best ‘pitcher’ to pitch. Well, they all pitched as a team and did an awesome job. Final result: they got it all!”

The team says they will use the prize money for product prototype designs.

“During the dotcom collapse, Bob Elhart shared the crucial key insight that saved my business and turned its fortunes around. Bob was a thoughtful and generous human being who loved guiding and inspiring young people, including myself early on in my entrepreneurial career,” said Carder, Schulich entrepreneur in residence. “So it’s a real treat for me to now be able to share his story in class each year.”