John Lewis will expand its retail technology accelerator JLab for 2018 and open the programme to include more established businesses, as well as start-ups.
JLab will run throughout the year for the first time, rather than as a one-off 12-week programme.
There will be three opportunities for businesses and start-ups to pitch their ideas to the retailer throughout the year, with the first round focusing on health and well-being.
Successful applicants will have access to investment from the JLab fund, advice and mentorship from senior John Lewis and Waitrose leaders and office space.
John Vary, futurologist at John Lewis, said: “As more and more businesses face digital disruption, it’s increasingly important for the Partnership to stay committed to the ideals of our founder, John Spedan Lewis, by experimenting and nurturing innovation both inside and outside our business. This is exactly why we have created a completely new JLab for 2018. We wanted to take the programme to the next level by launching more events but with a focus on themes we feel are most significant to our customers as well as the future of retail.”
Now in its fifth year, JLab sees the retailer find, fund and fast track retail specific businesses.
It invested £100,000 in two start-ups, intelligent addressing system Exaactly and WeFiFo, which connects chefs and paying customers, in 2017.