Retail Innovation Challenge Themes

Each year, the Bensadoun School of Retail Management at McGill University invites university students across Canada to participate in the Retail Innovation Challenge (RIC). This challenge presents 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.

4th RIC Edition Theme

Sustainability & the retail circular economy

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


3rd RIC Edition Theme

Rethinking Wellness in 2022

The third edition of the RIC took place in a hybrid format from October 20 to November 5, 2022, with a focus on the wellness sector. Our aim was to write case studies based on three local SMEs from a range of different verticals within this sector.


2nd RIC Edition Theme

The Evolving Home-Retail Sector

The second edition of the RIC took place online from March 3 to March 20, 2022, with a focus on the evolving home-retail sector. As per the first edition, our aim was to write case studies on four local SMEs across the following streams: Décor & furnishings, Construction & renovation, Hardware & materials, and Exterior / Outdoor.


1st RIC Edition Theme

Rethinking Retail Business Models in a Post-COVID-19 World

The first edition of the RIC took place online from June 3 to June 21, 2022, with a focus on the food sector. Our aim was to write case studies on three local SMEs across the following streams: Grocery, Restaurant, New Business Models.

Like most sectors of the economy and maybe even more so, retail was strongly impacted by COVID-19, especially retailers focused on non-essential goods and services with the closure of almost all physical stores, significant layoffs and a dramatic drop in demand, even for those with an on-line offering. And a 2020 study by McKinsey & Company revealed that as the economy opened up, only 20% of Canadians feel optimistic about Canada’s recovery.

The Bensadoun School of Retail Management at McGill University invited university students across Canada from different academic fields to come together and generate actionable solutions to assist the retail sector as it adapted to and emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge presented an experiential learning opportunity to mobilize the knowledge and creativity of university students and embolden them to solve real problems in collaboration with businesses during this period of economic recovery.

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