£175,000 on offer for retail start-ups “of the future”

Government-backed Innovate UK is looking to find businesses tackling challenges to food waste, in-store shopping, and fitting rooms...

Government innovation agency Innovate UK has today announced the launch of a £175,000 competition to find UK retail start-ups “of the future”; businesses with solutions to major digital challenges facing modern retailers.

Ran by IC tomorrow, the ‘Future of Retail’ contest will award five of the “most innovative” digital retail businesses with £35,000 each and the chance to work with leading brands including Tesco, the London College of Fashion, Unilever, Barclays, and the Greater London Authority, for a trial period of three months.

The judges are looking to find solutions that will appeal to a wide commercial market and is targeting solutions across five categories:

  • Pioneering new ways to fight food waste – A customer focused solution to reduce waste
  • Future of fitting – A way to optimise the virtual fitting experience to combat the 20-40% return rate reported by retailers
  • Seamless shopping – A seamless system to help suppliers and retailers with the reordering of products
  • Enhancing in-store experiences – In branch solution to help customers with everyday banking needs
  • Digital enhancement of street and covered markets – New technologies by traders and operators to help London’s markets adapt and grow

Matt Sansam, digital economy and programme manager for IC tomorrow, said:

“Digital has already transformed the retail environment. The customer experience in retail has come on in leaps and bounds in the last decade with digital technology as a catalyst.

“The Future of Retail innovation contest aims to drive the evolution of this huge industry, further improving customer experience and also using technology to solve pressing issues such as food waste.”

The deadline for entries is 12pm on 23 February. You can find out more about the competition here.


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