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[March 03, 2014]
Retail: John Lewis offers tech facilities to start-ups
(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) John Lewis is backing a Silicon Roundabout-style technology incubator - to be called JLab - to develop the next big thing for its stores.
Technology has become a battleground for retailers as the lines between physical and online shopping continue to blur. Others including Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Argos have invested in similar digital hubs in an attempt to harness the brain power of would-be digital entrepreneurs, as smartphones and other internet devices change the way people shop.
John Lewis's retail director, Andrew Murphy, said the group was looking for ways to better knit together the shopping experience in stores and online and for new ways to communicate with customers.
The digital workshop, which launches in June, is a partnership with technology entrepreneur Stuart Marks, who has built up and sold several technology firms and runs an investment fund investing in start-ups.
The incubation period will run until September with five start-up companies offered office space and advice from other well known tech entrepreneurs.
The search starts today with applicants invited to apply via the website jlab.co.uk.
At the end of the incubation period, JLab will select a winner and back it with a pounds 50,000 investment.
If the project is a success the idea will be introduced across its 40 stores.
Zoe Wood (c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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