N Brown emulates John Lewis in launching start-ups programme with L Marks

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Manchester-based omnichannel etailer N Bown has launched an innovation programme called JDWorks with L Marks.

The etailer is on the hunt for eight start-ups to shake up the business and is offering a 10-week partnership programme, mentoring, office space and investment in return, according to Drapers.

The news comes a day after department store chain John Lewis selected five retail tech start-ups for JLAB 2016, its accelerator programme that is also run in association with innovation partner L Marks.

Similar to N Brown’s program, from July 4 the five finalists will spend 10 weeks embedded in John Lewis’ head office, fully immersed in the operations of its omnichannel retailers.

The start-ups will glean valuable commercial insights, boost product development and will be eligible to receive funding of up to £100,000 from John Lewis and L Marks.

At the end of the programme, John Lewis will then decide which start-ups to invest in. It could select all of them, some of them, or none. In last year’s JLAB, all start-ups were invested in.

While N Brown – which owns brands like JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo – is still searching for start-ups to be part of its JDWorks programme, according to Drapers it was looking for start-ups that “focus on innovation in product fit, ways to shop, customer experience, customer loyalty, supply chain and using new data”.

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