Retail Innovation Challenge

Retail Business Models
for a Post-COVID-19 World






2020 Retail Innovation Challenge Winners

2nd Place Winners/Company

Team McToronto

Team Business Model Streams

Cafe Barista
Team Covideate

Team Renegades



1st Place Winners/Company

Team Revenue Optimizers

Team Ivey Digital Disruptors

Cafe Barista
Team W2E

Team MaLa Chai

Best Undergraduate Presentation

Team Business Model Streamers

Grand Prize Winner

Team Mala Chai



About the Retail Innovation Challenge

Like most sectors of the economy and maybe even more so, retail has been 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 recent study by McKinsey & Company reveals that as the economy opens up, only 20% of Canadians feel optimistic about Canada’s recovery.

The Bensadoun School of Retail Management at McGill University invites university students across Canada from different academic fields to come together and generate actionable solutions to assist the retail sector as it adapts to and emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The challenge presents 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.

Your Mission & Schedule

Phase 1 — Ideation

June 3-7

June 3 - Evening
Instructions sent to student teams

June 4 - 8PM ET
Launch of the Retail Innovation Challenge & student teams receive their respective business cases

June 7 - 8PM ET
Ideation submission deadline


Phase 2 — Implementation

June 8-14

June 9
Announcement of the top 5 teams per company for phase 2 with the new instructions

June 11 - 8PM ET
Lightspeed: Moderated Q&A with Lightspeed Hospitality Leads

June 13 - 11:59 PM ET
Implementation submission deadline

June 14
Semi-finals online presentations in front of separate jury per company (members of company & case writing team)

Phase 3 — Business

June 15-21

June 15
Announcement of the finalists

June 17
Mentoring from McKinsey & Company (30mins)

June 17 - 8PM ET
Canada Post: Moderated Q&A with Mélanie Béland, Senior Development Manager, eCommerce Eastern Canada

June 19
Mentoring from McKinsey (30 mins)

June 20 - 3PM
Submission deadline

June 21
Finals online presentations in front of independent jury & winners announcement

Presentations will be presented in front of a virtual panel of judges who will evaluate the proposals by its impact on:


Viability of

Use of
Supporting Data

Quality, Clarity
and Creativity

Impact on

Impact on


The winning teams per company and overall will receive monetary and other exciting prizes!

This edition’s theme is The Food Sector. 

Teams will be allocated evenly across companies in the following three streams in the food sector and make use of data sets provided from the partner companies. Teams will have the opportunity to express their preferred stream in the registration form and we will try our best to accommodate their choices.




New Business Models




Why Participate?


Get real-world experience working on a real business case

Potential for senior-level mentorship to further develop your ideas

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

Win prizes like monetary gifts and internship opportunities


McGill Reporter

COVID-19 Q&A: Jennifer Ronholm on staying safe while shopping for groceries
Read Now

Retail Insider

Special Edition 12:
The Slow Road to Retail Recovery - Expert Interview with Charles de Brabant
Listen Now

McKinsey & Company

A global view of how consumer behavior is changing amid COVID-19
Read Now

The Bensadoun School of Retail Management

What can we learn from China as we prepare to open up the retail sector?
Read Now

McKinsey & Company

Global surveys of consumer sentiment during the coronavirus crisis
Read Now


How will COVID-19 change the consumer?

Read Now

How to Record a Power Point presentation

Read Now

Power Point Presentation Template

Download Now


Frequently Asked Questions

How and when do we submit our presentations?

Only one submission from each team should be sent. Team leaders are expected to submit the files via e-mail to us at bsrm [at]

The subject of the e-mail should follow this format: Retail Innovation Challenge - Submission - [Insert Team Name]

Is using the Powerpoint template provided mandatory?

No, the template we provided is not mandatory. You are free to use any platform and presentation structure you like. That said, if you’d like help with your presentation structure, you can access our template here.

One of our team members dropped out, can we add a new one?

Yes, you can replace a team member. Please ensure that they fill out the pre-registration form.

What platform should we use to record our presentations?

You can use any platform of your choosing. We have provided instructions on how to use Power Point to record audio for your presentations. However, you are free to use a software like Zoom, Quicktime, Premiere, Google Slides, etc. 

Are all members of the team expected to be featured in the recording?

No, you can structure your recording however you'd like. 


Partners & Sponsors



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