We’re back for the 14th year, but this year we’ve got a new flavor – Retail Innovation.  This is a must attend event on November 17th, 2012.

Historically, the Wake Forest Elevator Competition allowed students from schools around the world to test their skills at making the perfect elevator pitch to Industry Executives and Venture Capitalist.  This hasn’t changed.  However, instead of pitching personal business ventures, this year student teams will pitch a Retail Innovation idea for a chance to win part of $40,000 in prizes.

Students will be the stars of the November 16th Retail 2020 Conference and have the opportunity network with executives from major industry players.  This is a place where the world’s best corporate retail innovators meet the world’s best student innovators.

The 20 teams with the best ideas get invited to beautiful Winston Salem, North Carolina for the conference and competition.  As a bonus, we’ll even pay for room and board.

On the day of the event, each team will deliver two separate two-minute pitches while literally riding in an elevator!  Don’t let the cameras psych you out because your pitch will be uploaded to the web in almost real-time for the online community to view.  A special prize goes to the fan favorite.

The best five innovation ideas get invited to the Board Room for a 20 minute formal presentation.  Top three ideas win cash prizes.  First prize is $40,000.   Awards will be presented at the evening gala.  Don’t forget to stick around for the after party!

What is Retail Innovation?

We are not looking for new products to put on retail shelves.  We are looking for ideas that change the way we do retail – something that disrupts the current retail model, something new and different.  Ideas could include new ways to leverage technology, mobile phones, data, or social media in today’s rapidly evolving retail environment.

Stop & Shop’s “Scan It!” or Apple’s “Aisle Buyer” are great examples of retail innovation with mobile technology.  These types of innovative solutions have a high likelihood of securing a spot in the competition.  Contrast this with a new idea for a product to put on Stop and Shop’s retail shelves – this would probably not earn a spot in the Retail Innovation Challenge.


What do I need to do to enter the competition?

  1. Get an all-star team of 2-5 students.
  2. Come up with an amazing retail innovation idea.
  3. Generate a business model.  This website may be very helpful.  Want a winning idea?  Test your model assumptions.  (http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas)
  4. Write a compelling summary of your idea and business model (must be less than 5 pages).
  5. Register for the competition by October 19th by clicking here.

Interested in competing but not fully committed yet?  Fill out this form and we’ll make sure you have the latest information on the competition.  No commitment necessary.

Check out our blog and return often for updates on the competition and tips on how to deliver the best elevator pitch.