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2022 Idea-cation Tourism Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition at IFTM

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

This November, IFTM has given the second edition of the Idea-cation under the theme ‘Innovative Recovery Strategies amidst Adversity’. The Idea-cation competition was inaugurated last year by IFTM, aiming to stimulate entrepreneurial thinking in Macao. Idea-cation gathers talents to build a platform for innovation and creativity, with the aim of helping the tourism industry seek new business opportunities and find innovative and viable solutions. Following last year’s success, this second edition calls for community input on innovative recovery strategies amidst adversity which can help Macao’s local retail brands to transform or seize new opportunities under Macao’s economic turbulence caused by the prolonged pandemic.

The edition of the competition aims to mobilise the community to generate innovative ideas to help local businesses survive and grow, and, in particular, to support the local brands that are housed at the IFTM iRetail Lab. The competition is organised in five tracks: 1) cultural and creative products; 2) fashion jewellery; 3) fashion apparel; 4) health and skincare products; and 5) open track.

A total of 26 teams, including 3 teams from other Greater Bay Area cities, with 85 participants were shortlisted. The competition was preceded by a series of seminars in October conducted by industry professionals surrounding topics of marketing and branding, brand design, entrepreneurship, doing business in GBA, and the new media of Douyin (TikTok), so as to better prepare the teams for the competition. Then, contestant teams worked with mentors from the industry and brand representatives to develop innovative business proposals. Lastly, contestant teams presented their proposals in front of a judging panel consisting of brand representatives, elites from the industry and IFTM faculty members. Eventually, one champion team was selected by the panel for each track. The winners of the 2022 competition are v-culture studio from Jinan University (cultural and creative products), Eunoia from IFTM (fashion jewellery), MS from IFTM (fashion apparel), 同班同學 from the industry (health and skincare products), and 探途小組 from Macau University of Science and Technology (open track).

President Dr. Fanny Vong Chuk Kwan presented the awards (MOP 5,000 and trophy) to each winning team and congratulated all the participating teams for their efforts. She also took the opportunity to thank the mentors and judges for their valuable support. ‘Thanks to the great success of Idea-cation held last year, as well as the promotions by different media, it’s no surprise that the awareness and social presence of the competition has increased. This year, we can see the growth in the number of participants from other cities within the Greater Bay Area, which allows fostering regional collaboration in tourism education and helps in constructing a cross-boundary talent hub,’ she remarked.

Li, a student of IFTM, who is in one of the winning teams expressed their gratitude towards such a valuable opportunity and platform in meeting with local brands in Macao. ‘Being identified as a potential team in providing ideas for business enhancement is thrilling and we feel sincerely grateful. This made our efforts appear to be worthy of recognition!’ Li stated. She also claimed that by joining the Idea-cation, she was allowed to get in touch and communicate with local brands and to learn their actual needs from their perspectives, which she would not be able to look into through book knowledge. Hence, she and her team may seize the opportunity for further collaboration and adoption of their ideas and proposals in the future via this hybrid mode event.

Another interviewee of the winning team, Chen who is working for the purchasing department, would like to thank IFTM for the opportunity offered, which allows her to take part in 2022 Idea-cation along with various workshops and seminars series. ‘During the event, there were instructors who gave us suggestions in parts that we felt confused and lost, kept guiding us and provided assistance in unleashing our imagination, so that we can enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after successfully pitching innovative ideas to the panel of judges,’ she says. Most importantly, she and her team can get to meet entrepreneurial peers, yet sharing experiences and exchanging ideas upon tourism innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mr. Harry Lai, president of Macao Youth Greater Bay Area Development Association, appreciated the proposals raised by the participants of this year which he thought were very innovative and impressive in bringing technology and tourism together. ‘This is the second year for IFTM in organising such an event, I do see many potential participants showcasing their brand new ideas and thoughts to not only the judges, but also to the local brands in Macao,’ he added. By using big data to create an app specifically in promoting Macao’s local tourism, he believes this can boost innovative thinking and build up the entrepreneurial mindset of the participants.

The seminar series included a broad range of professional speakers from various sectors, Mr. Mann Lao who is the Creative Director of CHIII Design, shared his insights related to commercial brand design and how he promotes Macao designs to different markets around the world. Mann stated that, ‘Adapting to a sensitive and changing market environment, other than those common marketing strategies and business models, the way how participants combine creativity and innovation in Macao’s local brand promotion has impressed me a lot!’. He thinks the Idea-cation provides a good opportunity for participants to obtain hands-on experiences in which they can put ideas and knowledge into real practice, from having ideas in mind, to writing proposals, to realising their business plans. ‘Despite highlighting the creative ideas and skills in selling the products of the brands, participants can put more emphasis on the benefits and goodwill of local brands in Macao and at the same time stress more on the distinctiveness of the features of the brands rooted in Macao,’ he added.

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