Last week, the first edition of the Gran Premio Retail, the Spanish version of the Grand Prix Commerce Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, came to an end with its final ceremony rewarding three start-ups that will have the opportunity to open a store in one of the Group’s shopping centres in Spain: Fittest Freakest, Wai Wai and Button Watch.
Following the success of thirteen editions of the Grand Prix Commerce Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield in France, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield decided to replicate this contest by launching a Spanish version for young retail entrepreneurs: the Gran Premio Retail. This initiative aims at promoting innovation, spotting and supporting the most promising concepts by helping them open a physical point of sales in one of the Group’s assets in Barcelona, either La Maquinista or Gloriés.
Since its creation in 2007, the Grand Prix Commerce Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has become a not-to-be-missed event for retail entrepreneurs, and a growth accelerator for the most innovative concepts in the sector. Over 40 startups such as Marlette, Faguo, Jimmy Fairly, Tediber, Laboté, Les Raffineurs, Big Mamma, Persillé, and Caval have already been awarded since the first edition, and all demonstrated a strong identity and the ability to offer a unique experience to their customer.
A successful first edition in Spain with promising companies
For this first edition of the Gran Premio Retail, the start-ups featured came from a very wide range of sectors: beauty, fashion & sportswear, dining experience, footwear, jewelry & accessories, etc. At the end of 2019, after a preselection phase, eight Spanish start-ups were selected for the final phase out of 16 semi-finalists:
- Tropic Feel: a sustainable brand of sneakers ;
- Fittest Freakest: a brand of sports clothes and accessories adapted to CrossFit ;
- Button Watch: a start-up offering watches with interchangeable and customizable bracelets ;
- Bigoi: a fast food restaurant making traditional fresh Italian pasta with high-quality products ;
- Pislow: a fashion renting box with clothes, accessories and bags ;
- UO: a brand that offers cool and original products and accessories, great for gifts ;
- laagam: an online fashion retailer for millennials ;
- Wai Wai: a concept of organic and natural cosmetics.
Then in the last few months, these eight finalists received coaching sessions from mentors to define more accurately how they see their concepts translated into physical points of sales and get ready for their final pitch.
On January 30th, the first edition of the Gran Premio Retail ended with a full-day event, the final pitched given in front of a high-profile final jury (gathering ten members of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, start-ups and retailers) and the final award ceremony hosted in La Maquinista, Barcelona.
The winning start-ups will receive a total endowment of 300,000€ to finance their store opening in a flagship destination in Spain. Not only will these winners get financial support from Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield in order to open a point of sales, but they will also benefit from professionals’ mentoring and the Group’s expertise to develop their activities. Three start-ups were rewarded:
- The project that came first is Fittest Freakest, a clothes and accessories brand for CrossFit, gathering this community around experiences and events,
- The second prize was won by Wai Wai, a concept of high-quality organic and natural cosmetics,
- The third start-up rewarded is Button Watch, that creates watches with interchangeable and customizable bracelets.
With the Gran Premio Retail, the Group reinforces its commitment to reinvent and reshape the future of retail by giving young brands access to the most attractive locations and by bringing its expertise to contribute to accelerating their growth.
As leaders of the sector, we have the responsibility to support retailers and to introduce new concepts that offer better experiences to our shopping centres. Thanks to this first edition of the Gran Premio Retail, we have discovered many innovative projects and entrepreneurs that will for sure shape the retail of tomorrow.Benoit Dohin