A note about coronavirus (COVID-19)

We know the COVID-19 situation is evolving quickly. We’re as concerned as you are about keeping our staff and our community safe, and we’re tracking the situation closely with the guidance of public health experts. All RISE Up materials continue to be available online so you can use the RISE Up program remotely with your students.  View our RISE Up Online Delivery – FAQs here and access NRF’s COVID-19 resources here.

Student Challenge

2019 Student Challenge Finalists on stage at the NRF Foundation Gala

Student Challenge

The 2020-2021 NRF Foundation Student Challenge is now open.

The NRF Foundation Student Challenge isn’t an average business case competition. This unique experience gives undergraduate students at NRF University Member Schools the chance to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom in a real-world setting. Since its launch, the NRF Foundation Student Challenge has provided nearly $300,000 in scholarship funds to students across the country, and priceless career opportunities.

It’s more than an exercise. A handful of teams will earn the chance to present their pitch to leaders from retail’s biggest companies, with the top team earning a $6,000 tuition scholarship for each team member. 

Full eligibility guidelines are below, and educators and students are invited to join us for an information session on Thursday, May 28 at 2 p.m. EDT to learn more about the requirements and elements of this year’s NRF Foundation Student Challenge (Zoom meeting info: https://nrf.zoom.us/j/94903146085?pwd=OG1RWmx0VW5UUGRlcDRjWTVPNEVpZz09 password: 547841).


Submit your team

The 2020-2021 Challenge:

Collaboration between startups and large corporations is a mutually beneficial way for retailers to enter new, smaller markets and for startups to develop products and scale, with the common strategic goals of growth, improving competitive positioning and generating sustainable profitable revenue.

Teams will be comprised of two to four entrepreneurs establishing a small business venture in a retail sector of their choice. They will create a set of products and are ready to take your business to the next level by getting their line into a major retailer: Nordstrom, Target, The Home Depot or Qurate Retail Group (QVC, HSN or Zulily). Teams will collaborate on a 25-30 slide pitch presentation and a 90-second pitch video to convince their selected retailer of why and how their businesses can collaborate. Take a look at the full requirements to learn more about what's involved.

Members only

The NRF Foundation Student Challenge is exclusively open to students that attend NRF University Member schools. Each member school can submit two teams of two to four students each; interested applicants must check with their school’s NRF Advisor to see how they are selecting teams to enter. Participating students must be sophomores or above at the time the scholarship is awarded in January 2021.

To join the NRF Student Association as a student member, your school must be a member of NRF. We currently partner with dozens of colleges and universities across the United States to promote careers in retail and provide students with exclusive access to educational, networking and scholarship opportunities. All students at member schools are eligible to join the NRF Student Association for free.

To find your advisor, or for more information, contact scholarships@nrf.com.

Student Challenge 2019 top team

“This competition has inspired me to think beyond the status quo. STORY has shown me how innovative retail can be and I’m excited to take what I’ve learned during the Student Challenge and come up with my own inventive ideas.” 
- Kendall McDermott, Columbia College Chicago

  The Student Challenge enforced our idea that that retail industry is consistently evolving, especially as it relates to technology. The challenge also showed how important data is for a growing business and how said data informs retail strategists.”
University of Pennsylvania Team

Winning Student Challenge team shines on HSN
The University of North Texas team honored in the NRF Foundation’s 2016 Student Challenge Competition share their experience selling their winning product – a custom women’s handbag – on the television shopping network, HSN.
SC students on HSN
 

Other opportunities

Next Generation Scholarship
 
2019 Next Generation scholarship finalists at the NRF Foundation Student Program
The Next Generation Scholarship is the pinnacle achievement for students at NRF University Member schools.
Read more
Student Program
 
Students at the Student Program
See how a career in retail puts you on the front lines solving complex business problems.
Read more
NRF Foundation Student Ambassadors
 
Students ask questions during the Friday morning opening keynote session at NRFs Student Big Show 2017
NRF Foundation Student Ambassadors serve as the liaison between the NRF Foundation and their school.
Read more