Harlequin Shopping Centre, Watford
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Intu has launched its latest search for the UK's retail innovators with L Marks

Shopping centre owner intu has launched its latest search for innovative startups that have the potential to disrupt the retail and leisure sector with its new intu Accelerate programme.

The initiative, which forms part of a wider innovation push at the organisation, is inviting applications from disruptive startups to take part in its 10-week incubation programme where the chosen few will benefit from expert insight, networking and the opportunity to test and pilot their products.

Based out of intu’s central London office, the selected startups will be exposed to experts from across the business and tech spheres and the shopping centre operator has hinted that ‘potential investment’ could be on the cards if it sees potential in their innovations.

The firm’s Chief Executive, David Fischel, said that the rate of change at intu, which has seen a focus on both disruptive technologies and sustainable approaches, as well as in the retail sector as a whole was driving its latest search for innovative startups.

He commented: “Our business is moving at pace and, to help us answer many of the questions that face us and our industry, we’re looking for the smartest minds out there and the best talent we can find.

“We’re looking for businesses to work together with us to help achieve our purpose of making our customers smile and helping our retailers flourish.”

The programme will focus on four key category areas designed to tackle some of the biggest challenges retailers currently face.

These include enhanced retail services, which will looks for companies that can improve anything from sustainable waste management and predictive maintenance, to customer service experiences and facilities management.

Other categories include boosting retailer activity, or ways in which technology can be utilised to boost sales and productivity, and the future of shopping, which will look at ways in which tech can help retailers adapt to the changing needs and wants of consumers.

The accelerator is also the latest to be run in conjunction with accelerator group L Marks, which has previously cooperated with big name brands including John Lewis and International Airlines Group on their own accelerator programmes.

The group’s Chairman, Stuart Marks, commented: “I know there’s room for some game-changing innovations here; tech that really will make a difference to the retail experience. intu works internationally alongside some huge names.

“This is an incredible opportunity for start-ups to partner with intu and gain true validation for their product. I am very excited that L Marks are on board to help find the next generation of retail innovators.”

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