Students who arrived early got the chance to visit local hotspot, Foodchain, a vegan restaurant designed for efficiency to hear about Foodchain’s unique origin and operating model from Jean-Francois Saine. Next, they stopped by Lole, where they heard from the chief operating officer, Nicholas Beetz, about the company’s culture and their focus on sustainability.
Teams met in-person at the opening ceremonies before jumping into workshops around financials, sustainability & the circular economy, as well as a crash course in presentation skills. The day also featured two executive panels:
- How large companies are pivoting toward a more sustainable future, moderated by Accenture and featuring ALDO Group and Nespresso
- Sustainability in local entrepreneurship, moderated by the Retail Council of Canada featuring YUMi Organics, Frank & Oak, and GOODDEE
A highlight of this year’s competition was our speed networking session, during which students had the opportunity to meet fellow participants, sponsors, and retail leaders. The format allowed each student a chance to learn about the different opportunities within the retail industry and sponsors were able to meet the next generation of retail talent. Sponsors also left with a resume book that showcased each student.
A field of 15 finalist teams was narrowed down to 7 teams, based on a combined semi-final presentation score added to their overall 6-week virtual coursework scores. The finalist teams, in the order they presented:
- Columbia University
- Ohio State University
- University of Calgary
- McGill University
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Florida State University
- University of Arizona
- 1st place: Florida State University, for its Garment Library which converts donated clothing and allows shoppers to take advantage of different tier memberships to “check-out” items of clothing.
- 2nd place: McGill University, for their stainless-steel mascara packaging and refillable instore stations.
- 3rd place: Columbia University, for their idea to transform discarded furniture into a new, resin-based modular furniture piece.
Learn more information on the Global Retail Challenge and opportunities to get involved here.
Take a look back at the last six weeks:
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Technology & Innovation
Global Retail Challenge