2017 Shark Tank of Wellness Student Global Competition

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The Competition

The “Shark Tank of Wellness” competition is a unique global challenge in which university students have the opportunity to submit their most innovative, impactful idea for the wellness industry. We define the wellness industry broadly and are looking for innovations in sectors as varied as architecture/design, beauty, education, fitness, hospitality, investment, medicine, nutrition, real estate, spa, technology, travel, tourism, and more. Submissions should take the form of a written application as well as a short one to two minute video presentation of the idea. The wellness industry is currently valued at over USD $3.7 trillion, thus providing ample opportunity for people with great ideas!

The top three finalists will be flown, along with their professors, to the annual Global Wellness Summit (GWS) held October 9-11 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. Here, they will present 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 competition is open to both individuals and teams of students over the age of 18 from anywhere in the world. There is no entry fee.

The contestant(s) must be an undergraduate student (working towards a one or two year diploma, a four year Bachelor’s degree or a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification) or graduate/post-graduate student (working towards a masters, MBA, JD, MD, or PhD degree) in a university or college of distinction at the time they develop and submit their concept.

The contestant(s) must be either a full-time or part-time student at the university or college, and must have a professor or faculty advisor who serves as a mentor to them.

If a team is chosen as one of the top three finalists, the team leader will be flown to Palm Beach, Florida along with his/her professor or faculty advisor.

Rules and Criteria

Students are asked to submit a future-focused, innovative wellness idea, product or service that has the potential to become a profitable business venture.  Each individual or team is required to submit a  Concept Submission Form in addition to a one to two minute video. The video should include a presentation of the idea, focusing on why the innovation could positively impact the wellness industry and how exactly it could become a viable business.

Video Criteria
Video length: Video must be between one to two minutes.
Video submission: Video must be uploaded on the contestant’s YouTube or Dailymotion account (Please refer to YouTube’s and Dailymotion’s upload guidelines for more information).

The video must contain only original work and not be subject to any copyright restrictions. All entries become the property of the Global Wellness Summit, which retains the right to publish the entries in all media formats including but not limited to print, digital, and broadcast. Entry creators and the GWS will be acknowledged in all published versions. See Official Rules.

Important Dates

The competition begins on Wednesday, Feb.15 at 12:00 pm GMT and closes on Monday, May 15 at 12:00 pm GMT. Late submissions will not be accepted. The top three concept submissions, as decided by the judges, will be announced on Tuesday,  Aug. 1. Arrangements will then be made to fly each of the top three student finalists and the professors working with them to Palm Beach, Florida for the Global Wellness Summit, October 9-11 at The Breakers.

The “Shark Tank of Wellness” Finalist’s Competition will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 11 on stage in front of the audience of delegates and the “Wellness Shark” judges. The first-, second- and third-prize winners will be announced on-stage later in the afternoon 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.

Application Process

1. REGISTER for the contest online: Anyone interested in participating in the competition must register by completing the following Entry Form. Contestants will receive regular updates by email regarding the competition.

2. SUBMIT your innovative idea: Please complete and email your Concept Submission Form to [email protected] no later than May 15. The Concept Submission Form includes a link to your one to two minute video presentation.


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 non-cash prizes include airfare and hotel accommodations in Palm Beach, Florida for the top three student finalists (individual or team leader) and their professors. Also included is access to the three-day Summit (a $2,930 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 visionary leaders.

See 2016 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), and quality of the project presentation. Judges’ decisions are final.

Judging Process

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

For any additional information, please contact Alexandra at [email protected].

Meet some of our “Wellness Sharks”

If you are interested in supporting students by becoming a Wellness Shark, please contact Michelle Gamble at [email protected].

Tracey Chappell

Senior Vice President, Global Spa Solutions, ESPA

Internationally qualified in Wellness, Beauty, Aesthetics and Aromatherapy, Tracey has been 26 years in the industry; the last 18 have been with ESPA. In 2003 Tracey launched and managed ESPA USA out of Miami, Florida, returning to ESPA UK in 2005 to oversee the Spa Division managing 140 Spas in 55 countries, including Asia, Miami and Dubai satellite offices and a team of Operations Associates. Today, Tracey runs Global Business Development, focusing on strategic growth with a new performance based partnership model.

Andrew Gibson

Vice President, Well-Being, Luxury Brands for Accor Hotels

Andrew brings over 30 years of hospitality and spa experience as Vice President, Well-Being, Luxury Brands for Accor Hotels. He is responsible for the development and execution of the well-being strategy for Accor Hotel’s Luxury portfolio, including the definition and implementation of wellness standards globally. He has worked in Asia, America and Europe, helping to establish the reputations for Six Senses, Mandarin Oriental, Raffles and Fairmont brands.

Jane Iredale

President and Founder, Iredale Mineral Cosmetics

Jane Iredale founded Iredale Mineral Cosmetics in 1994 and serves as its CEO and president. Jane’s mineral makeup line is sold nationwide in spas, salons, clinics and specialty retail. Internationally, the line is sold in 52 countries. The company maintains an active ecommerce site. She was ISPA’s Visionary of the Year in 2014.

Sheila McCann

General Manager, Chiva-Som International Health Resort

Sheila McCann is general manager of Chiva-Som and has global experience leading destination wellness retreats and brand development in hotel and day spas in North America, the UK, Europe and Asia. Sheila began her career as a spa therapist and is passionate about wellness, professional integrity and quality standards. She holds an MBA in leisure and tourism from Oxford Brookes and serves on the IHWA ethics committee.

Jacqueline Piotaz

Founder & Developer, Jacqueline Piotaz Cosmetics AG

Jacqueline Piotaz is the creator and founder of Jacqueline Piotaz Switzerland, Timeless Swiss Skin Care. The luxury skincare brand combines nature and Swiss bio technology, based on 30 years of personal experience in the world of cosmetics and developed in a renowned laboratory in the Swiss mountains. She is the owner of VANITY Cosmetics AG, co-owner of VANITY the Art of Beauty and VANITY Medical Aesthetics. Jacqueline is an international examiner for CIDESCO since 1992.

Frank Pitsikalis

Founder & CEO, ResortSuite

As founder and CEO of ResortSuite, Frank Pitsikalis leads the company’s strategic vision to provide integrated, guest-centric technology for wellness-based hospitality operations. Prior to ResortSuite, Frank worked at global management consulting and software firms advising organizations on utilizing technology at a strategic level. Vice chairman of the ISPA Foundation, he also has served on the ISPA board of directors for the past seven years.

Michael Pugliese

Owner & CEO, Circadia by Dr. Pugliese

In 2006, Michael Q. Pugliese, BS, LE, became the third-generation CEO of Circadia by Dr. Pugliese. Under Michael’s leadership, the Circadia brand has grown to achieve international recognition and distribution. His compelling original lectures honor the tenets of modern skin science discovered by his grandfather, and add today’s application of that information in an ever-changing business and scientific environment.