Sustainability & the retail circular economy


About the Retail Innovation Challenge

The Bensadoun School of Retail Management at McGill University invited university students across Canada to participate in the Fall 2023 Retail Innovation Challenge (RIC). This challenge presented a unique experiential learning opportunity to mobilize the knowledge and creativity of university students and embolden them to generate actionable solutions to help local SMEs succeed in the new realities of retail.

What to expect

Phase 1 —
October 18-21

Oct. 18 – 6PM (EST)
Launch of the competition and Ideation Phase; Student teams receive their respective business cases & instructions

Oct. 21 – 11:59PM (EST)
All teams are required to submit their Ideation Phase presentations.

Phase 2 —
October 22-29

Oct. 22 – Evening
Semi-finalist teams are announced; Implementation Phase instructions sent to teams

Oct. 24 – 4PM (EST)
Problem solving workshop hosted by a globally recognized management consulting firm (60 min)

Oct. 28 – 6PM (EST)
Submission deadline

Oct. 29 – 10AM-4PM (EST)
All semi-finalist teams to present online in front of a separate jury per company (representatives from the company & case writing team)

Phase 3 —
Business Plan
Oct. 30-Nov. 4

Oct. 30 – Morning
Finalist teams are announced; Business Phase instructions sent to teams

Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 - TBD
Mentoring from Ernst & Young (30-min session per finalist team)

Nov. 2nd evening & 3rd morning (EST)
Activities for in person teams & participants (TBD)

Nov. 4 – 10AM (EST)
Submission deadline for finalist presentations

Nov. 4 – 1-4PM (EST)
Finalists' presentations in front of independent jury & announcement of winners

Nov. 4 – 4:30-5PM (EST)
Closing ceremony & prize presentations

Nov. 4 - 5PM-6:30PM (EST)
Closing cocktail for those present in person

Final presentation format

The finalists, 2 teams per case study, will present in front of a live panel of judges including: business case owner, consulting firm associates, McGill professors and a senior level representative from the SAQ, our title sponsor.

Prize money

Each finalist team will win prize money. For each case study, first place team wins $2,500 while second place team wins $1,000. The overall Grand Prize-winning team receives $10,000 powered by the SAQ.

Virtual and in-person presentations will be done in front of a panels of judges who will evaluate your proposals by its impact on:

Viability of
Ideas, Solutions & Financials

Use of
Supporting Data

Quality, Clarity
& Creativity

Impact on

Impact on

This edition’s theme is Sustainability & the retail circular economy

The fourth edition of the RIC will take place in a hybrid format from October 18th to November 4th, 2023, with a focus on sustainability. Case studies will be based on three local SMEs from a range of different verticals within this theme.

Why Participate?

Get real-world experience working on real business cases

Potential for senior-level mentorship to further develop your ideas

Make an impact on the future of retail during these unprecedented times

Win prizes such as Grand Prize of $10,000!

The student teams will benefit from town halls with leading experts from our partner organizations. The finalist teams (Phase 3) will benefit from personalized coaching from Ernst & Young.

We are delighted to announce the SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec/Quebec liquor board), as the title sponsor of the RIC 2023. With their support, we will be able to reward the top teams with monetary prizes, including the grand prize of $10,000!

Other sponsors and partners include: Quebec Ministry of the Economy and Innovation, Quebec Retail Council (CQCD) and Ernst & Young.

Registration is now closed. If you have any questions, please contact us directly at bsrm.mgmt [at] mcgill.ca.

Title Sponsor



Other Sponsors & Partners

Quebec CQCD



Gold Sustainable Event certificationMcGill Sustainable Event

We are proud to announce that our event has been awarded a Gold Sustainable Event certification by the McGill Sustainable Events program run by the McGill Office of Sustainability.

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