Retail in Asia


Retail in Asia launches UPSTARTS : Asia’s first awards dedicated to the next generation of homegrown retail players

Retail in Asia, launches its own awards, UPSTARTS. UPSTARTS mission is to recognise, amplify and reward Asia’s start up brands, retail concepts, retail tech solutions, their founders, expert partners and people. UPSTARTS aims to create a community by bringing together and enabling an exchange between current retail players and the new disruptors to connect and grow, through a variety of activations.

“Ultimately, the new retail players are disrupting an entire eco-system, and what they bring to the table is key to the success of the future of retail in the region and beyond, for future generations. Asian entrepreneurship is at an all-time high. It is time to recognise their achievements, bring them into the existing retail network and reward them. But more than just reward, our aim with UPSTARTS is to build community around the concept that established and new players come together to exchange and learn from each other.” — Anne Geronimi, Director, Retail in Asia.

For its first edition, UPSTARTS is proud to introduce its sponsors, Invest HK, IWD, Alipay+ and Bluebell Group, who have been instrumental in kick starting this initiative.

“Asia is not only an important manufacturing base, it also enjoys exponential growth as a consumer market. The community is evolving at light speed with a fusion of international and regional influences at every level. Emerging brands, retailers and retail concepts created in Asia for Asia are best placed in this complex and fascinating market. InvestHK is looking forward to supporting the UPSTARTS ecosystem and to be a part of their journey to success.” — Angelica Leung, Head of Consumer Products, InvestHK.

“As the retail landscape continues to evolve and the line between online and offline blurs, it’s particularly important for emerging and established brands to have a consistent identity.  With UPSTARTS, IWD’s aim is to award brands and retail players that are building strong and coherent brand experiences across all channels. Bringing together retail industry players at this occasion is crucial to foster innovation and shape Asia’s future brand ecosystem.” — Gaelle Decolnet, APAC Director, IWD.

“The rise of the Asian consumer is creating new opportunities for brands and retailers – particularly small and medium-sized businesses – to connect with customers across the region and around the world. As these innovative businesses accelerate their growth, UPSTARTS will provide an important platform to exchange ideas and recognize successes. Alipay+ is proud to join this important community and share our digital payments and marketing solutions with the next generation of homegrown champions.” – Guoming Cheng, General Manager of Alipay+ Global Partnership.

“The Asian consumer is leading some of the major trends that are resonating globally on the larger retail scene. This is due to a combination of the consumers appetite and desire for new experiences, together with the ground-breaking regional retail technologies and the homegrown brands catering to this market. Through UPSTARTS, Bluebell Group is looking to discover and support new brands, retail concepts and retail technologies from different Asian markets and offer them a path to access the greater Asian region” – Ashley Micklewright, President & CEO, Bluebell Group.

UPSTARTS – Eligibility

UPSTARTS is focused on Asia’s emerging consumers brands, retailers, retail concepts, marketplaces, retail technology startups, new solution providers and the people who are working for these different companies within the retail ecosystem.

Open to both companies themselves and the people within the target companies, more details on eligibility criteria to enter the awards can be found here.

For companies entering the awards: the business must be founded in one of the APAC markets, have a registered trademark, be privately owned, be for profit and operating for less than 11 years.

For candidates entering the awards: the applicants must hold their position within that company in Asia for at least one year before the submission closing date.

UPSTARTS –The Award Categories for entry.

UPSTARTS boasts 3 areas and a total of 15 award categories for entry.

“BRAND”: This area is open to entry only to brands and retailers. It covers 7 categories – Fashion & Accessories, Beauty & Fragrance, Health & Wellness, Homeware & Lifestyle, Retail Gourmet, Jewellery & Watches as well as the Best Retail Concepts.

“BRAND EXPERIENCE”: This area is open for all eligible companies. It covers 4 categories – Retail Tech Breakthrough, Digital Excellence, Sustainable Concept Excellence and Pop Up concept.

“BRAND PERSONALITY”: This area is open for all eligible people or teams within the eligible companies. It covers 4 categories – Pioneers & Founders, Retail Management Role, In-store Role and Tech & Agency Team.


UPSTARTS entry submissions will open on 1st June 2022 and close on 15th August 2022.

The judges will individually review all entries to select the finalists for each category and convene together for the final winners’ selection. The finalists will be announced in October 2022 while the winners will be announced in November 2022.

The awards also have for ambition to create community by bringing together and enabling an exchange between current retail players and the new disruptors through a variety of activations from June to December 2022. The event schedule will be available here.


UPSTARTS is championed by a Judging Committee comprised of leaders, experts and players in the retail industry who will review entries, shortlist finalists as well as select the winners. UPSTARTS Judges bring their expertise to assess and recognise the achievements of all eligible players have reached in the last 18 months. The Judges will also take part in select UPSTARTS Community events. The Judging Committee will be revealed soon.

UPSTARTS – Partners

UPSTARTS is grateful to its partners support for this first edition.
Honorary partners: Branding Records & éCLAIR
PR partners: Gusto Luxe, Brandstorm Communications, Luxellence
Sustainability: The Mills Fabrica
Retail tech partners: Master Concept
Incubator programmes: Cyberport, Eureka Nova, Genlab
Media partners: The Moodie Davitt Report

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