John Lewis has announced a significant expansion of its incubator programme, JLab, by welcoming established businesses with open arms for the first time as part of a wider overhaul of the scheme.
JLab, now in its fifth year, has previously focused on finding the latest start-ups to invest in.
This broadening of reach coincides with a number of new activities to shake up the scheme; it will now be laid on throughout the year rather than condensed within a brief 12-week programme with this year the pitch will be set by sister-company Waitrose on the theme on health and wellbeing.
The high-end food retailer is seeking customer facing digital propositions that can furnish customers with nutritional advice while inspiring them to lead healthier lifestyles. Successful applicants will gain access to a wealth of expert advice with both John Lewis and Waitrose serving as mentors.
John Vary, futurologist at the John Lewis Partnership, 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.”
Applications to JLab 2018 must be filed no later than midnight on 25 May.