Future Retail Lab

The future of trade is sustainable

Today, new demands are being made on businesses in the retail sector and on those at the interface between the retail, hospitality and experience sectors. This is a result of globalisation and digitalisation as well as the ongoing Corona pandemic. Factors that are contributing to changing conditions for an already severely challenged sector. For example, we are now seeing customer and consumer behaviours changing and physical and digital stores and other venues playing new roles for the customer. To meet these changing conditions and create a future and sustainable retail and hospitality industry, the need for new knowledge, digital tools and exploration of new business models is greater than ever.
The eXpression Future Retail Lab accelerator programme was launched for the first time in 2019 - 2020 and involved 12 driven companies from the creative Umeå region with the aim of creating growth and developing as sustainable businesses. 16 companies from the Umeå region participated in the second round of the programme, which ended in March 2021.
On the last of August 2021, the third and final round of the programme started with a heterogeneous group of entrepreneurs and owner-managed companies.
On Tuesday 22 March 2022, the third round of the programme was completed. The programme, whose catchment area stretched from the High Coast in the south to Piteå in the north, had 16 participating companies. The Accelerator Programme's target group has been owner-operated companies in the trade and hospitality industry. 

Through the programme, companies have been given the opportunity to develop and deepen their knowledge in various areas, ranging from business model analysis, market intelligence, branding, communication strategies, social media, consumer behaviour and sales to logistics, internationalisation, leadership and hospitality issues. During the twelfth and final meeting, companies presented their updated business plans, including implemented or planned changes such as new and/or refined business models, communication strategies and partnerships.

Together with heavy expertise in the form of researchers, industry experts and business developers, experience and knowledge in areas such as branding, digital strategies and concept development have been exchanged. 

To find out about the programme's content, structure and methods, as well as analysis and experience, please contact:

Annakarin Nyberg, Programme Manager, Business Development Future Retail Lab

Anna Wikholm Kjellberg, Business Developer Future Retail Lab

eXpression Future Retail Lab is an initiative together with the Swedish Commerce Federation via the Foundation for the Prohibition of Merchants, Umeå Municipality and is part-financed by EU structural funds.


Our experienced business coaches will be happy to help you find your next step. Contact one of them for advice. We cherish your ideas and apply full confidentiality to everything you discuss with us.

You can find our contact details here.

Participation in the eXpression Umeå programme is free of charge. What we require from you is your time and commitment*.

However, it is important that you secure an income during your time in the incubator. If you lack employment or income from your business, you can contact our business coaches for advice on financial support. You can find their contact details here.

*In the Creatives incubator programme, we charge for your office space.

In our Creatives incubator programme, you can choose between three different office locations:

  • Clean desk
  • Your own desk
  • Studio

The other programmes include a clean desk space and the possibility to rent your own desk or studio.

To get access to an office space, you must apply and be accepted to one of our programmes.

For creators who have applied and been accepted to our business development programmes, we have the opportunity to help creators in a number of ways, through workshops with experts in certain areas such as marketing, sales, manufacturing process, IPR, etc. In addition, we have so-called internationalisation vouchers with the aim of promoting international trade.

We can also help you as a creator to navigate the funding jungle and explore possible funding solutions for your idea, innovation or business.

Programme officers


Wikholm Kjellberg

Business Coach | Creatives



Business Coach | Creatives

News and articles about the programme


Exchange of experience in Norrbotten

During the pandemic, companies were faced with changing circumstances, which for many became a severe test requiring them to adapt. The new conditions meant in...


Mini and the planet lead the way for major fashion chain

Almost two years ago, Mini and the Planet opened the doors to their shop in central Örnsköldsvik. With its circular business model of selling...


eXpression Future Retail Lab accelerator programme analysed

three-year initiative to develop, establish and implement an accelerator programme for the sustainable trade of the future. The programme has been developed at the business incubator eXpression Umeå and...

Other programmes


" Customised workshops
" Financial support
" Personal business coach
" SPARK mentor and industry expert
For those who have a business and developed a prototype or finished product, proven that there is a market, working at least half-time and ready to take the next step.
Continuous intake


" 9 preparatory workshops
" Market Verification
" Makerspaces and co-working
" Templates and tools
For those who have a business idea and want to develop a prototype of a product or service and investigate the need in the market, have the opportunity to spend about 10h a week.
Contact the programme manager for more info

eXpression Design

Product Development Program
" Inspirational lectures
" Study visits to manufacturers
" Business development
" Individualised coaching
For designers who run businesses and have the will and drive to gear up their creativity with local production and entrepreneurship with enhanced profitability and new markets.
24 May - 14 Aug

Future Retail Lab

Trade & Hospitality Accelerator Programme
" Industry-specific workshops
" Knowledge & experience exchange
" Development of business models
" Inspiration
For owner-managed companies in the trade and hospitality sector who want to transform their business in response to globalisation and digitalisation.
22 Feb - 31 May

Summer eXpression

Product Development Program
" Intensive Programme (7 summer weeks)
" From idea to sale at Designtorget
" Cooperation with manufacturing companies
" Follows the design process
For students or a young designer and curious to learn the process from the drawing board to production and sales. A work sample is required for application.
14 Feb - 13 Mar