Business development · 11 April 2016

John Lewis corporate accelerator returns for a third year and it’s in good company

Corporate-backed projects offer small firms access to larger players? global supply chains
Retail giant John Lewis has launched its third annual hunt for promising young retail technology companies with investment, mentoring and free office space on offer for successful applicants.

The JLAB accelerator is recruiting companies across four categories: health & wellbeing, simplify my life, effortless shopping and tech for kids.

under mentorship from John Lewis, JLAB startups will have a unique opportunity to hone their ideas and create a product which has a genuinely positive impact on our customers, said John Lewis IT director Paul Coby.

weve seen from previous years the value of combining an agile startup mentality with John Lewis? extensive industry knowledge, and Im personally looking forward to working with the 2016 applicants, he added.

The retailer is one of a swathe of big corporates which have recently rushed to put cash, expertise or office space up for grabs for promising young UK firms. Over ten per cent of UK accelerators are now backed by large corporations.

Microsoft was one of the first off the mark, launching a 12-week programme for startups innovating with cloud, web and mobile technology in 2013. Education company Pobble which raised 900, 000 of investment in March 2016 is a poster-child for the success of graduates of the programme.

Spanish telecoms firm Telefnica brought its Wayra accelerator programme to London after the success of the scheme in Latin America and Madrid. Some 130 young companies have since received investment through the scheme.



Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics as well as running a tutoring company.