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Frequently Asked Questions


Is my business right for JLAB?

If your business is focused on catapulting the retail shopping experience into the future then JLAB is perfect for you, no matter what stage your business is at or where you’re based. See the current theme section of our website to find out what specific kinds of innovation we’re looking for right now.

When’s the deadline for applying?

X May 2018.

What info do I need to provide in my application?

We ask you for information about you, your idea, your team and your company. Don’t hold back, let us know how great you are!

Is there a minimum age?

You must be at least 18 years old to enter JLAB.

I don’t live in the UK, can I apply?

Of course! The best innovations can come from anywhere. Bear in mind that you may need a visa to participate in the JLAB programme.

I applied to JLAB last year, can I apply again?

Absolutely. However, you’ll need to demonstrate how your business has moved on since you last applied for JLAB.

Is JLAB like other accelerators?

We believe we are different.  JLAB is an Innovation Programme that focuses on building a strong relationship between you, John Lewis and Waitrose as well as helping your business get to the next stage. Depending on the needs of your organisation, JLAB will offer you access to investment, desk space in John Lewis, Waitrose and True and access to John Lewis and Waitrose data, customers and expertise.

How many stages is the programme?

The competition has 4 stages:

  1. Apply
  2. Pitch
  3. Your JLAB idea goes into development
  4. Investment announcement. See our programme timeline for more info.

What are the terms of entry into JLAB?

JLAB provides a flexible set of benefits, based on the needs of your business. We will discuss these with you and agree our approach if you are selected following the Pitch process.

Full terms and conditions are available here [LINK TO Ts & Cs page].

When is JLAB?

Applications for our Health and Wellbeing innovation theme opens on 25 April 2018 and closes on 28 May at 23.59. This programme is due to finish in X X 2018

Where is JLAB based?

JLAB will be John Lewis’s Head Office in Victoria, London. You’ll also have satellite space at Waitrose HQ in Bracknell, near Reading and True’s office in Victoria, London.

Do I need to work from JLAB’s office space during the programme?

Being based in John Lewis Partnership’ JLAB offices is going to be the best way for you to engage with the people and resources there. If you can’t make it to London or Bracknell though, we’ll still consider your application.

I don’t live in London, do I need to find my own accommodation?

We’ve got a great team on hand who can support you in finding accommodation during the programme.

I need special equipment to develop my product, will JLAB provide it?

We’ll be in contact before kick-off to ensure that everything you need is on location in our London and Bracknell offices.

Where will the mentors come from?

JLAB mentors will be retail experts from John Lewis and Waitrose.

What does the day-to-day look like at JLAB?

JLAB’s itinerary is custom-designed to help you create game-changing products for the retail market. You’ll be working to rapidly develop your product and receiving essential guidance on key decisions in real time from your mentors.

How much investment will each company get?

Following the pitch process, we will discuss options for investment with the successful teams. Where appropriate, teams can enter into an Option Agreement with John Lewis allowing us to invest in your organisation in exchange for equity.

How will the equity stake be calculated?

Each investment will be made on a case-by-case basis, taking an agreed company valuation into account.