John Lewis sets up digital innovation hub

By Laura Higgins

John Lewis has announced the launch of a technology incubator called JLAB that will give a start-up company £100,000 in investment.

As part of the store’s 150th Anniversary celebrations, the store has teamed up with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks, and together, they hope to identify and develop the products and solutions that will give it a competitive advantage over its rivals.

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Five applicants will enter the JLAB for 15 weeks, competing for investment and a chance to supply John Lewis with their products.

The winning company selected by JLAB will get the chance to trial its products in a select number of John Lewis stores and if it is a success, it will be implemented across the rest of the stores.

IT director Paul Coby said: “The purpose of JLAB is to identify and develop technology innovations that will provide John Lewis with future strategic advantage with customers’ needs at the core of each idea."

“The John Lewis Partnership’s founder, John Spedan Lewis, was a radical entrepreneur and so adopting a novel approach to business and retail innovation is not new to JL. It’s a fundamental part of the Partnership’s DNA,” he added.

Other companies offering similar ventures include investment company TrueStart who is targeting the retail and consumer sector, as shopping is being transformed by the internet.

Tesco CEO Philip Clarke said in a statment: “I have never seen such a pace of change in my 40 years in Tesco.”

Entrepreneurs and businesses looking for investment with John Lewis should apply here by April 17.




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