News: UK retail giant is offering mentoring and money to innovative retail start-ups.
John Lewis has opened applications for a start-up accelerator focused on companies innovating in the retail space.
JLAB 2016, run in association with L Marks, will expose start-ups to the inner workings of John Lewis, providing them with mentoring for 12 weeks. The mentors are drawn from John Lewis’s commercial, retail, online and IT directors.
Start-ups participating will be able to apply for funding of up to £100,000 from the total pot of £200,000. They will also have access to public feedback through customer panels.
The winner will get six months of office space free and will aim to produce a product or service with JLAB that will help the retail experience.
The accelerator focuses on five main areas, with all of them having some focus on using technology to enhance the shopping experience.
"JLAB is about bringing disruption and innovation to the retail industry, said Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis.
"To do this, it’s essential that we work collaboratively with fast-growing businesses to add value to their operations.. We’ve seen from previous years the value of combining an agile startup mentality with John Lewis’ extensive industry knowledge, and I’m personally looking forward to working with the 2016 applicants."
Stuart Marks, technology entrepreneur and Chairman of L Marks, said that "working closely with John Lewis over an intense 12-week period will see them gain traction within the organisation at a much faster pace than through traditional channels."
Applications close at midnight on 8 May, at which point five start-ups will be chosen. They will begin the programme in July 2016 and the winner will be announced in September.