eXpression Future Retail Lab accelerator programme analysed

eXpression Future Retail Lab accelerator programme analysed

In the spring of 2022, the three-year initiative to develop, establish and implement an accelerator programme for the sustainable trade of the future was completed. The programme has been developed at the business incubator eXpression Umeå and the aim has been to create conditions for companies to develop and refine their business models, find collaboration models and grow sustainably from an economic, social and environmental perspective.

Programme eXpression Future Retail Lab

Since autumn 2019 until spring 2022, a total of 44 companies from the Norrland coast and Västerbotten inland have participated in the programme initiative. The programme has evolved from initially targeting only companies in the trade sector to include companies from the hospitality and experience sectors in the final round of the programme. Examples of sectors represented are fashion and clothing, beauty and health, handicrafts, art and crafts, other retail, gastronomy and tourism. The programme content has evolved over the years of the programme and has included topics such as: business models and environmental analysis, branding and communication strategy, consumer behaviour and sales, social media, statistics and analysis, purchasing and logistics, internationalisation and export maturity, financing models for growth, leadership and hosting.

Methodology and inntressenter

The programme has been characterised by a clear methodology aimed at moving from new inspiration and knowledge to implementation in companies. Participating companies have followed a structure that has included interaction between participating companies, business developers, industry experts and representatives from Umeå University. In addition, property owners, municipalities, destination companies and citizens have also been involved over the years and the aim has been to create a cluster of actors who together have explored the sustainable trade of the future.

Rounding up and analysis

Each round of the programme has ended with participating companies presenting and reflecting on the developments that have taken place during the programme period and what they are planning for the future. This has included, for example, highlighting new communication strategies, developing sales channels and renegotiating or establishing new supplier agreements. In concrete terms, companies have demonstrated some 20 new or refined business models and 15 collaborations under the accelerator programme. In addition, many of the companies say that they are stronger both in their business and as individuals.

- After discussing the possibility of renegotiating contracts, we reviewed one of our contracts with our subcontractors. After a moment's reflection and a phone call later, we had cut costs by 80,000 a year," says My Bergström, Pensionatet Malmgatan in Piteå.

Although the third year of the programme has now come to an end, cooperation with the companies will continue for a few more months. They will be offered further business development and a board training will be organised in the spring based on the needs expressed.

The programme was initially financed by the Swedish Retail Foundation. Subsequently, funding has come partly from Umeå municipality. Based on the accelerator programme and all the knowledge and experience gathered over the years, a learning platform has been established through a project funded by Tillväxtverket. The project aims to disseminate knowledge and experience during and after the Coronpandem. The learning platform contains 100s of guides and articles that aim to create the conditions for more companies to develop their business - even if they have not participated in a programme. The Learning Platform is also aimed at business developers and other actors in the innovation support structures who wish to reflect on and develop their business development methodology.

Digital lisplatform:

Here are all the companies that have completed the programme:


The Coffee Family
Linnaeus and Grankvist
Pia Stylist
Sisters in Law
Swedish Beauty Factory
Team Scandi
World of Boardgames


Anettes Building Care
Design by Björk
The Animal Magnet
Eljest /Maria Forsgren Real Estate
Old Salteriet
The Goldsmith
Ingmar interior
Ingrid's underwear
Malin in Ratan
Food & Event AB
Meretes eco-shop


Backpacking Light
Industrial goods
Gallery Oss
Healthy in Skellefeå
Idunn Wine
Iron stove food stall
Mini and the Planet
New Makeriet
Boarding house
Root Tavelsjö
Sofia Karolina
Tavelsjö Farm Mill
WOW Hairdressing AB

For more information:

Annakarin Nyberg, Programme Manager, Business Development Future Retail Lab

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