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IKEA has announced ist innovation incubator program, in which startup companies can apply to spend three months in one of the company’s labs in Sweden. Each company will get $22,400, three months of free housing, and access to IKEA’s prototype shop, a test lab and hands-on access to the expertise of scientists working in the lab.
Why? IKEA says that it wants to focus the resources of its incubator on eight key areas: food innovation, disruptive technologies, customer experience, disruptive design, sustainability, manufacturing, the supply chain and analytics.
This is smart – and not only to uncover the next big ideas. As the company says on its website, IKEA is eager to work with startups looking to hack urban farming, using virtual reality to do food tastings, the invention of new ingredients, sustainable sourcing, conservation efforts and healthier eating. “We do not take equity in your startup,” the company says on its site. “We are looking to collaborate or co-create with you. We may end up being a customer.”