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Humans of the U: Erik Smith

“Last spring, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. Now I am a student in the Master of Business Creation program.

I started skiing when I was around three years old. My family had a tradition of going skiing together once a year. When I was in middle school, I started getting a season pass each year. Around this time, I also began snowboarding, which I have been doing ever since.

During my senior year of college, I applied to dental school and I made it all the way through interviews. From there, I just had to wait. I didn’t hear anything for about two months. It was a rough time because I just had no idea if I was going to get into school. While I was waiting, I used my downtime to go snowboarding. I wanted to try making my own wax, so I decided to do it for fun.

The wax ended up gaining some traction with others. At the time, I was a TA in a biochemistry lab. Over the course of a few months, I used all the resources I had to create the wax. Some professors in the College of Science and Department of Biochemistry helped me access some more, and I decided to go for it and create my business, Board Budder.

I had a lot of fun doing this. I was using my science degree, which was exciting, and I really liked the business side too. After all of this, I found out I was waitlisted for dental school. When that happened, I realized my business was something I would enjoy more than working in dentistry. I withdrew my application and applied to the Master of Business Creation program instead.

Through a news article, I learned that Park City was the first town to implement regulations on ski wax. Some ski wax has chemicals that don’t biodegrade and, as snow melts, it gets into the drinking water. But there aren’t many wax options that are 100% plant-based. Board Budder fills that market need. I hadn’t been planning on making this a long-term business, but as time went on, it just kept growing.

The Master of Business Creation program has been really good for me and my business. When I run into problems in my company, I can learn how my peers in different industries would solve it. Being able to brainstorm with my cohort has led to a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. This program has helped me learn all the tools that I need to be an entrepreneur.

When you have an idea, you just have to go for it. You don’t have to have the perfect solution at first. But you’re never going to get to that solution until you start. If it doesn’t work, then you start something else. The biggest step to take is the first step.”

— Erik Smith, Master of Business Creation ’24