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10 teams advance in NRF Foundation Student Challenge

By Lottie Watts
Published Nov 23, 2020

Ten teams are advancing in the 2021 NRF Foundation Student Challenge, a business competition that features the chance to present a pitch to leaders from retail’s biggest companies and scholarship awards of up to $6,000.

Undergraduates at NRF University Member schools formed teams of two to four, acting as entrepreneurs to establish a small business venture and pitch a set of products to one of these major retailers: Nordstrom, Target, The Home Depot or Qurate Retail Group (QVC, HSN or Zulily).

“Our NRF Foundation Student Challenge teams are getting important real-world experience at a time when many traditional internships have been canceled,” NRF Foundation Executive Director Bill Thorne says. “With our business case competition, students are building their skills, applying what they’ve learned in their classes and exploring the great career opportunities available in the retail industry.”

The top 10 teams include two each from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Columbia College Chicago and Georgia Southern University. Other schools represented are Marymount University, Savannah College of Art and Design – Atlanta, Southern New Hampshire University and University of Wisconsin – Madison.

The semifinalists produced pitch presentations and 90-second videos to convince their selected retailer why and how their businesses can collaborate.

Teams are now revising their pitch decks and videos to submit for another round of judging by retail executives. Each team will also participate in a Q&A call with the judges to present their pitch verbally and defend their proposal. From there, the top three teams will move to the final round of competition.

The results of the NRF Foundation Student Challenge will be announced during the virtual NRF 2021: Retail's Big Show - Chapter 1 in January 2021.

Each member of the top team will receive a $6,000 tuition scholarship, while students on the second-place team will get $3,500 each. Members of the third-place get $2,500 per student.

Since its launch, more than $300,000 in funds have been awarded through the NRF Foundation Student Challenge.

This fall, we expanded opportunities to learn about retail from the people who power the industry with NRF Foundation All Access. We encourage you to check out the full-time job and internships featured on our job listings page and view insightful conversations with retail professionals on our on-demand page.


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