This year was the 7th edition of The Mark Challenge, a prestigious luxury business competition which allows students with an entrepreneurial spirit to pitch a luxury or premium business idea to a professional panel of potential investors and community leaders. Hosted by the International University of Monaco (IUM) on the 8th July 2020, this year’s event was held digitally – for the first time ever – due to COVID-19 restrictions. Despite not being in-person, The Mark Challenge was still a real success!
The Mark Challenge 2020: Here’s What You Missed
The challenge kicked off with a brief introduction by the Master of Ceremony, Matthew Ciaccio (Bachelor student), by the General Director of IUM, Dr. Jean-Philippe Muller, who explained the purpose of the event, welcomed the participating groups, and noted the hotly-anticipated prizes and by Dr. Annalisa Tarquini, Director of the MSc in Luxury Management and of the Mark Challenge, who introduced some numbers of the participating teams and thanked all the jury members of the competition’s previous steps.
The Mark Challenge has two categories of entrants – one for the 3rd-year-Bachelor and Master’s students, and one for MBA students, experienced professionals and Alumni from International Universities and Business Schools.
The President of the Final Jury was Duncan Bannatyne OBE, a Scottish entrepreneur famous for his appearance as one of the ‘business angels’ on the famous BBC programme Dragons’ Den. Bannatyne was introduced to The Mark Challenge by Relevance CEO Rumble Romagnoli, who has acted as a member of the Final Jury two years in a row and is the donor of one of the competition prizes. Rumble also hosted an interesting interview with Bannatyne, in which they discussed startups, business plans and ideas, with Rumble sharing some valuable advice from his experience as a business owner.
Then came the presentations from the finalist groups, who had already had to win previous stages of the competition to get here. The final participants had to face the jury of business professionals and pitch their innovative business plans.
At the end, the jury voted for the best projects and assigned all the amazing prizes:
- A branding kit worth €6,000 and a homepage design concept package worth €3,000, offered by Relevance.
- A strategic mentoring package worth €3,000, offered by Networking For Leaders.
- A value proposition and sales optimisation package worth €3,000, offered by Neos Chronos.
- A special award for the best innovative project in yachting – project selected and awarded by the Monaco Yachting Cluster’s board.
- A special award for the best innovative project in fashion – project selected by fashion professionals and awarded by one of the sponsors, Modex Technologies, the Blockchain Database Company.
- Special prizes and awards from the Acquera group for the Corporate Challenge.
The final winners of the competition were:
- The branding kit – BC:CB LUX
- Skin-care facial masks made from seaweed fibre, which are reusable up to 150 times.
- A digital software which takes a mobile 3D body scan to show its user exactly how clothes would fit and move on their body.
BC:CB LUX and BIGTHINX won the strategic mentoring package, the branding kit and the proposition and sales optimisation package
- Special Award in Yachting – Moi Composites
- First and only European tech start-up to offer a better, efficient, and more affordable way to 3D print on-demand, advanced composite objects.
- Special Award in Fashion – TwinOne
- Italian tech company, TwinOne, is capable of digitising and creating a perfect virtual copy of any given clothing item based on your scanned body shape. It can be used by tailors who need to create bespoke clothing for their clientele remotely.
- Yachting Corporate Challenge – Monayacht
- SYGN Super Yacht Gastronomy Network. App to provide an ultra-personalised gastronomic experience on board luxury yachts.
The jury wasn’t the only group to choose a winner at the event, the audience had the opportunity to vote on their favourite pitch using an interactive poll created by Relevance and featured on our website. Their chosen pitch was Moi Composites.
Despite taking place virtually, this year’s Mark Challenge was another incredible competition featuring some highly talented and entrepreneurial groups. We can’t wait to see how their businesses flourish in the future.