For the inaugural Student Challenge competition, teams of two to four students at NRF member schools each worked to create a product idea and prepare a 10-page business plan, along with a 90-second video presentation to convince the CEO of a U.S. retailer of their choice how and why their product should be brought to market.
More than ten teams accepted the Challenge. After two rounds of judging, only three teams were left standing to advance to the final round and receive a trip to Retail’s BIG Show. The teams made their final case shark-tank style on Friday, presenting to a panel of judges including HSNi Chief Marketing Officer Bill Brand, NRF Senior Vice President and Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell and STORY Founder and CEO Rachel Shechtman.
Each student on the top team received a $2,500 scholarship. Students on the runner-up team each received a $1,000 scholarship, and the third place team earned a $500 scholarship per team member.
Texas A&M University
Diandra Esparza, Allie Miller, Jamie Roy, and Christina Tharp
This team's product idea was the “Backseat Bib” — a covering that catches and prevents items from falling in a car or rolling under a seat.
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Sarah Bitticks, Amanda Gebran, Danny Lucero, Imani Steiner
This team's product idea, “The Quad,” is a compact, multi-functional piece of furniture, and earned each team member a $1,500 scholarship.
University of North Texas
Subrina Hossain, Khuyen Nguyen, Karen Saltzman, and Andriana Solis
This team's product idea as an "all-in-one shoe" for women on the go.