Startup Competition Call for Participation



1. Preface

Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags is the leading international trade show dedicated to volume footwear, and will be held in the Riva del Garda Exhibition Centre from 14 to 17 January 2023.
Organised by Riva del Garda Fierecongressi SpA, Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags has for years been the point of reference for the world of volume footwear, and is recognised by the world's major manufacturing areas as an ideal meeting place owing to this product category’s vast international offer (in the last edition in June 2022, there were 1,002 exhibitors from more than 40 countries, and 8,000 buyers from 131 countries).
The backdrop of Lake Garda further enhances Expo Riva Schuh’s product range, which is integrated into the region’s excellence. This suggests a different way of doing business: through meetings and exchanges that combine business and leisure.

Within the show, Riva del Garda Fierecongressi and its partner Retail Hub organise Expo Riva Schuh Innovation Village Retail, a project dedicated to start-ups and innovation.
Being part of Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags’ Innovation Village provides a unique opportunity to exclusively present a start-up project at the largest international event in the footwear sector.
The innovative projects presented by companies at each edition are a source of inspiration, growth and motivation for this audience of professionals. The knowledge they acquire can be turned into business built around research, experimentation and application, to face the challenges of the future of retail.
In its two editions that follow products’ seasonality and purchasing cycle, the trade show itself is  increasingly taking on the character of an annual milestone, providing exhibitors and visitors with a comprehensive vision in terms of communication, visibility and relationship-building around its community, which comes together at the trade shows twice a year in Riva del Garda, but that increasingly also needs opportunities to gather and talk in different places (for example, virtually or at international road shows) that complement the in-person experience by fostering relationships and knowledge, and consequently business opportunities. 

Every company that enters Innovation Village Retail plays an active role in this project, which therefore does not end with one edition, but embraces opportunities that go well beyond the four days of each individual show.
The show therefore makes available to start-up projects that take part in Innovation Village opportunities to create relationships and gain knowledge of the footwear sector, where projects can be explained and find the potential partners, investors and buyers necessary for their application.

From all the start-ups that apply, a selection committee will identify the award finalists, who will have the opportunity to be part of the Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags Innovation Village project from January 2023 and for two years, that is until December 2024.
The selection committee and the jury for the final award will consist of experts in the fashion sector and professionals from leading international manufacturing or trading companies in the footwear and leather goods sector.

The aim of the award is to help all new businesses contributing to innovation in the footwear sector to make contact quickly with industrial partners that can support them on the market.

To do this, the show offers participating start-ups the following opportunities:

  • Participation in Innovation Village, with the use of a lounge area equipped by Riva del Garda Fierecongressi SpA with:
    - small lounges shared with all participating start-ups
    - monitors with content provided by the start-ups
    - graphics with start-up logos
    - wifi
    - inclusion in the Guide Map (distributed in paper form copy at the show entrances)
    - exhibitor pass (2 passes per company)
    - third-party liability insurance and cover for the Exhibitor's other risks in accordance with the limits and conditions set out in Article 19 of the General Regulations
  • A profile on the show’s digital platform that enables its community to maximise participation in the event, through a product catalogue with advanced filters and functions, the possibility of establishing new business contacts, set up one-to-one meetings and collect contacts onsite via barcode reading technology
  • Participation, within the schedule of events at the Theatre - Hall D, in the Innovation Village Input talks, an opportunity to present the activities carried out in the presence of a moderator and an industry expert (presentations can then be watched on the show’s website for a year)
  • Distribution of promotional material in the Buyers Lounge
  • Promotion in FotoShoe30, the show’s official magazine and one of the sector’s leading international publications
  • Dedicated visibility through newsletters, press releases distributed to international industry networks and national publications and on the show’s social media
  • Visibility on the show website, where the showcase dedicated to the start-up will remain visible for two years or until December 2024
  • Opportunity to take part in networking sessions with buyers from official delegations and the show’s Scientific Committee
  • Opportunity to take part in roadshows or meetings with individuals or consortia (such as trade associations, organisations and consortia) to present your project

Start-ups will be asked to:

  • attend pre-show meetings to better understand the industry and plan how to present themselves to the exhibitors they consider most relevant to their product
  • provide the required communication materials and compile the data in the trade show management system within the specified timeframe, in order to facilitate the scheduling of activities and the real-time updating of content on the show’s digital platform
  • use the show’s digital platform that enables all exhibitors and visitors to create contacts and schedule meetings, to maximise the business experience offered by the show
  • indicate on their project the wording “presented in Expo Riva Schuh 2023”, when they will present their activity after attending the trade show in Riva del Garda.

Any company introducing innovation into the retail fashion sector, or in any case one applicable to it, may apply. In particular, preference will be given to innovations that:

  1. can guarantee product component and/or production process traceability and transparency to retailers and end consumers; insofar as they involve the entire production chain, these innovations will be assessed in light of their impact on the distribution system and end consumers.
  2. present solutions applicable to B2B or B2C e-commerce for small and medium-sized trading companies and aimed at marketing strategies, digital promotion, payment and delivery management, product catalogue organisation, sales data analysis, and the structuring of low-investment digital commerce systems.

Preference will also be given to the presentation of innovations (product or service) specifically applicable to retail in the footwear, leather goods and accessories segments, but this is not essential for participation in the call for proposals. However, it is essential that the innovation (product or service) is also applicable to these product segments.

The innovation project presented must therefore concern one or more aspects of the fashion retail system, both in the B2B and B2C segments. Innovations (products and services) on all topics related to management, product movement, sales data analysis for strategy, the creation and management of relations with B2B and B2C customers, communication and transparency in relation to the product and its production process will therefore be eligible.

For example, projects may be submitted on the following topics:

  • traceability of product components and production processes and transparency for retailers and end consumers
  • warehouse management
  • sales data analysis
  • logistics and lead times between production and retail
  • Artificial Intelligence applications
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality applications
  • smart customer management (B2B or B2C) on multiple platforms
  • systems to improve the strength of the sales outlet offer in relation to fashion/commercial trends
  • integration of distribution formats in omnichannel systems
  • management of hybrid (physical/digital) sales systems
  • management of multi-brand wholesale/retail

From the projects submitted, innovations will be selected dedicated to both large/medium-sized retail and small independent retail or small fashion chains, or in any case applicable to the footwear, leather goods and accessories segments.

Participants are also invited to clearly define the specific problem(s) the project submitted is intended to resolve and the results (measured quantitatively, when possible) it is intended to achieve for retailers.

The presence within the team of a representative who speaks fluent English will also be a prerequisite, as presentations to the jury and all promotional activities will take place in English.

2. Participation requirements, conditions and hpw to take part
  • Start-ups are companies based in the European Union and established no earlier than 2017, whose main activity is strongly marked by innovative features.
  • Expo Riva Schuh Innovation Village Retail is open to all start-ups offering innovative solutions applicable to the fashion sector and specifically to the footwear, accessories and leather goods segments.
  • Start-ups wishing to compete for the prize must apply by filling in the form published on the show website; all material must be sent in both Italian and English.
  • Applications must be received no later than 6:00 pm on 15 November 2022.
  • By 18 November 2022a technical committee will select the start-up finalists for the award, who will be invited to exhibit their services and products at Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags from 14 to 17 January 2023.
  • During the candidacy, start-ups are expressly requested to be present at Expo Riva Schuh Innovation Village Retail, should they be selected as finalists. Willingness to be in attendance for the show’s entire duration is a prerequisite to enter the prize final.
  • Start-ups are not required to make any financial contribution.
  • During the event, each of the finalist start-ups will take part in pitches and presentations to the jury and the public, given in English. All finalist start-ups will take part in the event that will choose the winning start-up of Expo Riva Schuh Innovation Village Retail.

3. Prizes
The start-up that wins the Jury Prize will have the opportunity to take part with a free corner at the June 2023 edition of Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags, with the same visibility opportunities guaranteed for the current edition (digital platform, promotion through the show’s official channels, participation in networking events with buyers, the Scientific Committee and other trade bodies or associations taking part in the show); it will also have content/an interview published in the show’s official magazine, FotoShoe30, out in March 2023.

4. Contacts
For information on how to take part

For information on the show: