New accelerator programme Iceland Innovation Lab to open doors to tech startups (Sponsored)

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Iceland plc, one of the leading supermarket chains in the UK, has launched the Iceland Innovation Lab accelerator programme to help startups grow through partnership and investment. Iceland Innovation Lab is part of an initiative to self-disrupt and embrace digital methods to future-proof business operations and enhance customer experiences.

Iceland Innovation Lab will allow successful startups to validate their business ideas with the UK’s leading frozen food specialist over the course of a nine-week partnership development programme. The programme is being run in collaboration with L Marks, a corporate innovation specialist and early stage investor, providing a number of benefits to startups:

  • Mentorship from senior leadership at Iceland and subject-matter experts from across the sector
  • Access to Iceland’s scale and network, covering over 900 stores across the UK
  • Development opportunities and product validation
  • Pilot opportunities
  • The chance to pitch for investment from L Marks and Iceland

Iceland have outlined the areas they are particularly interested in innovating through the categories set out on the Iceland website:

Seamless Customer Experience: ​Iceland is looking for startups that can improve its customers’ experience, with solutions that allows the business to communicate with its customers at the right moment, with the right offer, in the right location, through the best channel. The company is particularly interested in identifying new tools that will enable it to leverage its existing data and insights to create personalised experiences for its customers.

Optimised Supply Chain: ​This category looks for solutions that can help Iceland improve the ordering and logistics process, with a particular focus on short life products and product promotions.

Instore Processes: ​With over 23,000 employees spread across the country in over 900 locations, Iceland faces the challenge of communicating the right message to the right team members at the right time and is interested in finding solutions that will allow it to communicate more efficiently and effectively with its employees.  

Sustainability: ​Iceland is an environmentally conscious organisation, committed to spearheading initiatives that can help improve sustainability. It is the first supermarket to have pledged to eliminate ​plastic packaging from all own label products by 202. It particularly wants to hear from cleantech startups that are creating innovative solutions, which will help it to maintain industry leadership in building an eco-friendly supply chain.

Wildcard:The wildcard category allows startups to suggest how they might help Iceland innovate in an area they might not have thought of yet.

Daniel Saunders, L Marks CEO, said: “​We are delighted to have partnered with Iceland for the Innovation Lab and are looking forward to uncovering the most recent exciting startups from around the world, particularly those in the area of sustainability. Addressing the use of plastics is of crucial importance and Iceland is leading the way in their pioneering work to the eliminate plastics in their packaging. We are incredibly excited to be engaging them with startups that will help accelerate this ambition.​

Applications are open until midnight Wednesday 18 July 2018. Visit the programme’s website for more information and apply now!