2019 Shark Tank of Wellness Student Global Competition

The “Shark Tank of Wellness” student competition is a unique global challenge that rewards students for their most innovative, impactful ideas for the wellness industry.

The 2019 Shark Tank of Wellness submission period has concluded. The top three finalists will be announced on August 15, 2019 by email to registered students. Thank you and best of luck to the 2019 student participants.

The GWS defines the wellness industry broadly and each year seeks innovations in sectors as varied as architecture/design, beauty, education, fitness, hospitality, investment, medicine, nutrition, real estate, spa, technology, travel, tourism and more. Students are to submit a concept submission form detailing their idea and a one- to two-minute video presentation of their idea. The wellness industry is currently valued at over $4.2 trillion, thus providing ample opportunity for students with great ideas!

Three finalists will be flown, along with their professors, to the annual Global Wellness Summit (GWS) being held October 15–17, 2019, at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. Here, they will pitch their business idea to the attending Summit delegates—a “who’s who” in the global wellness world. Several business leaders will act as “Wellness Sharks” and ask questions of the students, who will defend their innovation and make a business case for its feasibility. The first, second and third place winners will then be announced on stage during the Global Wellness Summit.


May 31, 2019 (12:00 p.m. Eastern Time): Competition closes. All submissions, both the Concept Submission Form and video, must be submitted by this time. Late submissions will not be accepted.

August 15, 2019: The top three concept submissions, as decided by the judges, will be announced by email to all registered participants. Arrangements will then be made to fly each of the three student finalists and their professors to Hong Kong for the Global Wellness Summit, October 15–17, at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.

October 15-17, 2019: The “Shark Tank of Wellness” finalists’ presentations will take place on stage at the 2019 Global Wellness Summit. Students will pitch their ideas to the judges (a.k.a. “Wellness Sharks”) and the Summit delegates. The first, second and third place winners will then be announced on stage, at which time, the prizes will be awarded. The winners will be listed on the Global Wellness Summit website and promoted on social media post-Summit.

2019 Wellness Sharks

The competition judging panel is comprised of the Summits’ sponsors, who play the role of “Wellness Sharks” while students are presenting their business ideas on stage. The Summit “Wellness Sharks” are leading experts in the wellness industry and this year are comprised of:

Karen Campbell, Business Development Consultant, Chiva-Som, Thailand
Karen Campbell has spent most of her career in banking and is experienced in product development, marketing and trade. She is passionate about sustainable business practices and plastic reduction—a theme amplified by a recent trip to Antarctica, where environmental risks are clearly evident. Karen recently completed the Tokyo and the Preserve Hua Hin marathons. She holds a Master’s degree from IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Mia Kyricos, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Wellbeing, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Mia Kyricos joined Hyatt as the company’s first senior vice president and global head of wellbeing in 2018. In this role, Mia oversees Hyatt’s holistic wellbeing strategy for colleagues, guests and customers around the world. With over 25 years of experience, Mia has helped to develop, operate and market wellness-related brands, products and services across 100+ countries.

Joe Magnacca, president and CEO, Massage Envy, United States
Joe Magnacca is president and CEO of Massage Envy. Joe is transforming the company from a provider of affordable, professional massage to a destination that offers services and products that support consumers’ wellness routines. Joe has spent more than 30 years in retailing and is known for his ability to reinvent businesses in the US and internationally, including Walgreens, Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws Companies.

Frank Pitsikalis, Founder and CEO, ResortSuite, Canada
As Founder and CEO of ResortSuite, Frank Pitsikalis has led the company’s strategic vision to provide integrated, guest-centric technology for wellness-based hospitality operations. Prior to founding ResortSuite in 2000, Frank worked at top international management consulting firms. He serves as Chairman of the ISPA Foundation Board and has served on the ISPA board as a director since 2008.

Michael Pugliese, Owner & CEO, Circadia by Dr. Pugliese, United States
Michael Q. Pugliese, BS, LE, an informed educator, writer and asset to the skin-care industry, became the third-generation CEO of Circadia in 2006. His dedication and leadership to the brand has helped it achieve international recognition and distribution worldwide. This global expansion has created a skin-care regime for every skin type in the world. Michael’s compelling lectures honor the tenets of modern skin science originally discovered by his grandfather.

Hugo Yu, Investor, YusumTong, China
Hugo is the former editor-in-chief and digital GM of Harper’s BAZAAR China and a reputable entrepreneur in the digital field lately. She is also a savvy in natural medicine and has been invited to visit some exclusive treatment destinations such as Clinique La Prairie etc.

Shark Tank of Wellness FAQ’s

Click here for answers to frequently asked questions about the Shark Tank of Wellness global student competition.


First Prize: One (1) first-prize winner will receive USD $5,000.
Second Prize: One (1) second-prize winner will receive USD $3,000.
Third Prize: One (1) third-prize winner will receive USD $2,000.
Total value of all prizes is USD $10,000.

Additional noncash prizes include airfare and hotel accommodations in Hong Kong for the top three student finalists (individual or team leader) and their professors. Also included is access to the three-day Summit (a $3,630 value), including all general sessions, breakout discussions and industry forums, featuring global industry leaders. A myriad of social events and a final evening gala is included. This is a priceless opportunity to meet and learn from global visionaries.

See Previous Shark Tank of Wellness Top Finalists here.

Judging Criteria

Entries will be judged on the following criteria, which will hold equal weight:
– Project innovation
– Visual appeal or design
– Relevance and importance to the wellness industry
– Viability as a business (customer/market analysis and competitors)
– Quality of the project presentation
Judges’ decisions are final.

For additional information, please review the Shark Tank of Wellness FAQ’s or contact Kate Sornson.