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John Lewis opens applications for retail startup accelerator programme

Department store John Lewis has announced that it is ready to start receiving applications for its ecommerce startup accelerator programme, JLAB, which supports and develops innovative ideas in the retail industry.

Jointly run with L Marks, an innovation consultancy that works with startups and corporates, the programme will help to hasten the growth of retail startups by providing micro-funding of £200,000. Finalists will also get an opportunity to forge a commercial partnership with John Lewis.


JLAB will allow selected startups to understand how John Lewis works by exposing them to different areas of its operations. It will also offer retail startups 12 weeks’ worth of mentoring from top-level experts, who will be assigned based on specific industry expertise.

Commenting on the programme, John Lewis IT Director, Paul Coby, said: “JLAB is about bringing disruption and innovation to the retail industry – we want to develop ideas and technology that really excite John Lewis shoppers.”

“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.”


L Marks Chairman and technology entrepreneur, Stuart Marks, said: “JLAB is a fantastic opportunity for startups to get access to the UK’s leading omnichannel retailer, and 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.”

Applicants have until 8pm on Sunday 8th May to submit their entry, after which John Lewis will select five startups from five different categories, from which the final winner will be selected.

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