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 13 to 16 january 2024.

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 for this product      category’s vast international offer (the last edition, in June 2023, sawFF 1,300 exhibitors from over 40 countries worldwide, with attendance at 8,600 from over 100 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 the Innovation Village at Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags provides a unique opportunity to exclusively present your own 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. This know-how is turned into business built around research, experimentation and application      to meet the future challenges of retail.

With its two editions that mirror product seasonality and the purchasing cycle, the trade show itself is increasingly taking on an all-year round character, offering exhibitors and visitors an extended vision in terms of communication, visibility and      relationship building around its community that meets at the shows twice a year in Riva del Garda but also increasingly needs moments to come together and take stock in different places (e.g. virtually or at international road shows)   that complement    the in-person experience and nurture relationships and knowledge, and consequently business opportunities.

Every company that enters Innovation Village Retail actively takes part in this project, which therefore does not end with one edition but encompasses opportunities that go well beyond the four days of the individual show.

Thus, through Innovation Village, the show offers participating start-up projects opportunities to forge relationships and gain knowledge of the footwear sector, and enables projects to find their own expression and application with      potential partners, investors and buyers.

From all the start-ups that send in their applications, a selection committee will identify the award finalists, who will have the chance to become part of the Innovation Village project of Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags for two years, from January 2024   until December 2025.

The selection committee and jury for the final award will be made up of experts in the fashion sector and professionals from leading international companies in the production or trade of footwear and leather goods.  


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

The opportunities offered to participating start-ups are thus:

  • Participation within Innovation Village, with the use of a shared area set up by Riva del Garda Fierecongressi SpA and equipped with:
    - 1 furnished stand with the company name for each participating start-up (start-ups may not bring their own promotional material to be affixed/glued to the furniture or roll-ups. In the event that the start-up has specific products to exhibit,      the availability of spaces and positions must be agreed in advance with the show secretariat)
    - shared monitor for displaying 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)
    - insurance cover for Third Party Liability risks and other risks of the Exhibitor in accordance with the limits and conditions set out in Art. 19 of the General Regulations
  • A profile on the trade show’s digital platform that allows its community to maximise participation in the event thanks to a product catalogue with advanced filters and functions, the opportunity to establish new business contacts,      schedule one-to-one meetings and collect onsite contacts via barcode reading technology
  • Participation, within the Theatre - Hall D events schedule, in the Innovation Village Input talks, an opportunity to present the activities carried out in the presence of a moderator and a sector expert (presentations can then be      viewed on the show website for a year) and within the Village events schedule
  • Distribution of promotional material in the Buyers Lounge
  • Promotion in FotoShoe30, the show’s official magazine and one of the leading international magazines in the industry
  • Dedicated visibility through newsletters, press releases distributed to international trade networks and national newspapers and on the show's social media pages
  • Visibility on the show’s website, where the showcase dedicated to start-ups will remain visible for two years, i.e. until December 2025
  • 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 individual or joint entities (such as trade associations, organisations and consortia) to present their project

Start-ups will be asked to:

  • guarantee attendance at the trade show, undertaking to find solutions in the event of unforeseen accidents that might prevent participation in the 2 weeks preceding the fair, in order not to damage the project's image;
  • take part in pre-show meetings to better understand the sector and plan how to present themselves to the exhibitors and visitors they consider most appropriate for their product;
  • provide the required communication materials and complete the data as a show exhibitor in the show management system within the specified timeframe, in order to facilitate the scheduling of activities and the real-time updating of content on the digital   event platform;
  • use the show's digital platform that allows all exhibitors and visitors to make contact and schedule meetings, to maximise the business experience offered by the show;
  • if the product is being presented for the first time at Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags, mark their project with the wording “presented in Expo Riva Schuh 2024”, when they present their activities following their participation in   the Riva del Garda    trade show

All companies that innovate in the retail sector dedicated to fashion or otherwise applicable to it may apply. 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 participation. 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
  • Improvement of production and distribution processes with the aim of reducing lead times, improving efficiency, reducing environmental impact, improving product quality for end consumers
  • Warehouse management
  • Sales data analysis
  • Creation and management of e-commerce (B2B or B2C) and related problems
  • Logistics and lead times between production and retail
  • Artificial Intelligence applications
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality applications
  • Intelligent 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 retail/wholesale

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 team must also include a representative with a fluent level of English, as presentations to the jury and all promotional activities will take place in English.

2. Participation requirements, conditions and procedures

  • Start-ups are companies established no earlier than 2018, 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 by 6:00 pm on 24 November 2023.
  • By 27 November 2023, a technical committee will select the start-up finalists for the award, who will be invited to take part in Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags from 13 to 16 January 2024..
  • 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, which will be conducted in English. All finalist start-ups will take part in the event that will elect 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 exhibition stand, in the June 2024 edition of Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags, where they will have 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 attending the show; it will also have dedicated content/interview   published in the show’s official magazine, FotoShoe30, out in February 2024.

4. Contacts

For information:

13 - 16 January 202415 - 18 June 2024

Exhibition CentreVia Baltera, 20 - 38066 - Riva del Garda (TN)

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