This year, 27 teams from 19 NRF Foundation University Member schools competed in the Student Challenge case competition for a chance to earn tuition scholarships and industry recognition.
For the Challenge, teams were comprised of two to four entrepreneurs who established a small business venture in a retail sector of their choice. They created a set of products and were ready to take their business to the next level by getting their line into a major retailer: Nordstrom, Target, The Home Depot or Qurate Retail Group. Teams collaborated on a 30-page pitch deck and a 90-second pitch video to convince their selected retailer of why and how their businesses could collaborate.
Teams' pitches were evaluated by a group of retail executive judges on their research and understanding, creativity and feasibility, visual effectiveness and structure and quality. Ten teams advanced to the semifinals, which included Q&A calls with a panel of new retail executive judges.
Three teams advanced to the final round, where they pitched live to a third panel of judges in January 2021.
Each student on the top team will receive a $6,000 scholarship; students on the runner-up team will each receive a $3,500 scholarship, and third place team members will each receive a $2,500 scholarship. The top team will be named during NRF 2021: Retail's Big Show - Chapter 1.