Challenger 2.0: Shopping Centers And Retail Chains Challenge Startups

  • The Retail Institute with its partner’s support throws a challenge to startups, students, and tech experts.
  • The challenge is to think “out of the box” and offer an innovative idea that will support shopping centers and retail chains amid the COVID-19 crisis and after that.
  • Challenger 2.0 winners will get the opportunity to implement their ideas in the shopping centers and chains interested in it.

An economic shockwave, loss of confidence, factories slow down, a rise in unemployment, the stock market crash, rise of credit card debt and late payments, GDP decrease – all these prove that we are entering a time of economic recession. Decisions we make today will have a huge impact on how deep the recession will be.

Even titans and key players in retail can’t predict the long-term effects of the coronavirus epidemic on the industry. Having been enabling the development of business for other companies for nearly 30 years, today shopping centers and retail chains strive to support themselves. 

To deal with the negative effects of the coronavirus epidemic, the retail industry needs tech innovators who can help recover its losses. Shopping centers and their tenants are looking for startups, technology companies and creative teams of young scientists with unconventional approaches and unique projects. Offering your idea, you can help many companies struggling today for survival and therefore tackle the economic recession. 

Challenger 2.0 program for tech companies and startups

The Retail Institute and the NextGenLab Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Center are determined to find and implement innovative solutions in the retail industry. 

In 2020, the Center will focus on the implementation of the pioneering Challenger 2.0 program, which aims to include students and graduates of universities as well as technology companies and NGOs in the process of creating improvements in shopping centers and networks. 

The program aims to select the best innovations in products, services, processes, marketing, sales and organizational methods, and to create new models that will allow shopping centers and networks to re-enter the growth path. 

What are the benefits of Challenger 2.0?

The program’s reward is the opportunity to implement your idea in the shopping centers and chains interested in it, as well as to get support in its promotion and commercialization.

Apart from that, the Retail Institute offers startups participants a free 5-day Challenger 2.0 educational program which includes design thinking workshops and mentorship in innovation development and implementation. 

In addition, the program gives an opportunity for networking during the conference and the competition itself. 

Challenger 2.0 program winners will also receive:

  • Retail Institute support in conducting pilot projects in a selected shopping center;
  • Retail Institute supports the promotion and implementation of the created solution in selected centers participating in the program.

Who can apply for the program?

Polish, as well as foreign participants, are welcomed.

  • Students, graduates and young researchers at the age of 18-28, who are fond of working in a team and committed to their own innovative ideas. Apply!
  • Young technology companies and startups which have been present on the market for no more than 5 years, offering innovative solutions, products, technologies for shopping centers and chains. Apply!
  • Technology enterprises that have been present on the market for more than 5 years and respect the experience, knowledge and stability of companies and the know-how behind them. Apply!
  • Shopping centers will act as experts and mentors for workshop groups, supporting teams with knowledge and experience in the process of creating innovation. Apply!
  • NGOs whose knowledge, experience and know-how can contribute to the development of innovation. Apply!

Find more information about the program Challenger 2.0 here.

For the assessment, the organizers need basic information about the company, the proposed solution and its benefits.

Based on the application, the experts will pre-select participants. 

Anna Szmeja, CEO at Retail Institute

‘We invite the most interesting creators to the Challenger 2.0 program to present themselves during the Innovation Days 2020. We will support the winners in the field of promotion and commercialization,’ Retail Institute CEO Anna Szmeja shared with ITKeyMedia

What are the competition categories?

The Challenger 2.0 competition has 5 categories.

  1. Rents, operating and marketing costs – Shield

Solutions that will allow trading companies to get out of the crisis unscathed. An important element of overcoming the crisis will be the ability to quickly develop an agreement between tenants and landlords of shopping centers. It is necessary to develop solutions that will allow both sides to survive the coming months and rebuild the potential for further development. The specificity of the functioning of individual industries operating in the centers shows great differences, therefore it is not possible to develop one universal model for all. New solutions should be created based on knowledge and market analysis.

  1. Optimization and new business models – New Retail

Lack of revenues and high fixed costs are the reason for the reduction of hundreds of jobs in the trade industry. Nevertheless – after re-opening shopping centers – there will be no less, but more work. Never before have solutions in the field of robotics, automation, AI, machine learning, algorithms and solutions optimizing business processes, and in all areas of business operations, analytical tools and software been as needed as today. Soon, the word restructuring will be changed by all cases, which is why we are already looking for solutions that will support these processes. 

  1. Customer and experience.

Solutions dedicated to customers of shopping networks building their positive experiences – PropTech, FinTech, EduTech, Lifestyle, etc. The category was created to focus on finding tools and solutions for shopping centers and retail chains that will allow faster and more precise response to changing attitudes of Poles. This is one of the most important categories in the program. 

  1. Green retail

Solutions that reduce the environmental nuisance of shopping centers and chains, and support environmental and climate protection, energy, circular economy in both shopping centers and shopping networks. The category is dedicated to companies with knowledge and solutions supporting environmental and climate protection. 

  1. WooW award

If the company has a solution that does not fit into any frames and columns, you can apply for this category.  

The Challenger 2.0 program’s corporate partners are Apsys Polska and ECE Projektmanagement. Among other partners are Mayland Real Estate, Stary Browar, Cuschman & Wakefield and Lazarski University.

  • Applications are accepted until September 1, 2020.
  • The announcement of recruitment results will be revealed by September 11, 2020.

Read more about the competition stages here.

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