News & Media

Retail Concept Competition 2016-17

Date Published: December 15, 2016

Why Retail?

Retailing is the largest sector in Canada in terms of employment and contributes 6% to Canadian GDP. It is growing and becoming more interesting due to technological disruption, which is reshaping the retail landscape.  Stores are experimenting with new formats and products and using technology at every level. Entrepreneurial Canadian retailers such as Lululemon Athletica, Frank & Oak, Indochino, Shoe.Com and Hillberg & Berk have done extremely well. New business models have emerged in retail – for instance, the subscription model. Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club (sold to Unilever for $1 billion!) are among the leading subscription-based online retailers. Customization is another major trend.  Shoes of Prey and MixmyOwn (make your customized cereal) are examples.  Shopify, a Canadian company that offers an e-commerce platform for startup retailers, has made it easy for entrepreneurs to launch their retail business.  Young entrepreneurs now see retail as a space for disruption.

It’s now your chance to become a retail entrepreneur.

What is required?

  • An innovative retail concept – you can either sell products made by others or offer your own creation.
  • The store can be online, brick-and-mortar or both
  • You can choose a traditional location or something unique

The bottom line is that it cannot be one more store doing the same thing that others are doing.  There has to be something unique.

What are the deliverables?

Submit business plan by March 10th and presentation on March 17th. More details on the specific requirements will be provided at the orientation session on January 20th, 2017. 

Key Dates

  • Registration – by January 18, 2017
  • Orientation – January 20, 2017
  • Business Plan Submission – March 10, 2017
  • Business Plan Presentation and Judging – March 17, 2017



  1. Participants must work in teams of 4 or 5 students
  2. The competition is open only to Business students
  3. Winning team must commit to running the retail business for at least 6 months
  4. All teams must attend the orientation session on January 20th, 2017



Fill out application form and send to 



Contact the coordinator, Tony Birch, at or 902-496-8272 with any questions or concerns.

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