Future Retail Lab

The future of trading is sustainable

Today, new demands are being made for a transition for companies in the trade and for companies that are in the borderland between the trade, the visitor and experience industries. This is a consequence of globalisation and digitisation and the currently ongoing Corona pandemic. Factors that contribute to changing conditions for an already heavily challenged industry. Today we see today, for example, how customer and consumer behaviour is changing and that physical and digital stores and other meeting places play new roles for the customer. In order to meet these changing conditions and create a future and sustainable trade and hospitality industry, the need for new knowledge, digital tools and an exploration of new business models is greater than ever.

The accelerator program eXpression Future Retail Lab was given for the first time in 2019 – 2020 and participated made 12 driven companies from the creative Umeå region in order to create growth and develop as sustainable companies. Currently, 16 companies from the Umeå region are participating. The companies form a heterogeneous group of new entrepreneurs and owner-driven companies.

Together with heavy expertise in the form of researchers, industry experts and business developers, experience was exchanged in areas such as brand, digital strategies and concept development. The program is today evaluated, developed and adapted to the conditions resulting from the current pandemic. 

The business development program is unique in terms of structure and target group and how it is run through close cooperation between universities, incubators, municipalities, real estate companies, citizens, destination companies and participating companies.

Application content

    • Strategic brand targeting, communication strategy and PR
    • Business models and external analysis
    • Consumer behaviour and targeting
    • Visualization and sales on web and in-store
    • Company-made social media strategies
    • Statistics and analysis
    • Internationalisation/export maturity
    • Organization, leadership and team building
    • Sustainable production systems for tomorrow's trade, purchasing and logistics
    • Financing and investment strategies for growth
    • Hosting

Who should seek

The program is aimed at new entrepreneurs and owner-driven companies in the trade as well as to companies that are in the borderland between trade, visitor and experience industries where we see increasingly clear industry slides. The aim is to create growth, develop new business models and forms of collaboration.

Selection criteria:

Applicant Companies shall:

  • Be an owner-driven company
  • Be able to spare time corresponding to the program's structure
  • Have existing customers and sales channels (digital ly and/or physically)
  • Have established customer relationships
  • Carry out sustainability work, or have started such a
  • Be able to show growth potential
  • Have a clear target picture of why you are entering the accelerator program

In addition, the applicant should be driven, creative and open to thinking and acting in new ways and show a willingness to co-operate in relation to other participants in the group. We also strive to create a composition of participants with representatives from different industries.

eXpression Future Retail Lab is an initiative together with Svensk Handel through the Foundation Merchant's Ban, Umeå Municipality and is partly financed through EU structural funds.

Start date: 31 Aug 2021

End date: 31 March 2022


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 privacy to everything you discuss with us.

You can find our contact information here.

Program participation at eXpression Umeå is free of charge. What we demand of you is your time and commitment*.

However, it is important that you secure an income during your time in the incubator. If you have no employment or income from your company, you can contact our business coaches for financial support advice. You can find contact information here.

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

In our Incubator program Creatives you have the opportunity to choose from three different office spaces:

  • Cleandesk
  • Custom desktop
  • Studio

The other programs include a cleandesk location and the possibility to rent your own desk or studio.

To access an office space, you must search and be accepted into one of our programs.

For creators who have applied for and been accepted into our business development programs, we have the opportunity to help creators in several 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 financing jungle and explore possible financing solutions for your particular idea, innovation or business.

Programme managers

Anna Wikholm


Business Developer, Future Retail Lab

Annakarin - Wikipedia


Business Developer, Future Retail Lab Program Manager

News and articles about the program


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Other programmes

Creatives is eXpression Umeå's incubator program. The program offers you as a creator with a company help to develop this further into a sustainable company. The goal of the program is that you have developed into a sustainable creator with strong self-leadership and resilience and your company into a sustainable company with recurring revenues.
For many creators, the program is the first step towards eXpression's business support. During the program you will get tools and models to test your idea, innovation and your entrepreneurship.
eXpression Design
The program is a collaboration between eXpression Umeå and the creative network High Coast Creative in Örnsköldsvik. As a participant you get access to a platform with lectures and workshops in the process from sketch to finished product on the market.
Future Retail Lab
Future Retail Lab is aimed at new entrepreneurs and owner-driven companies in the trade as well as to companies that are in the borderland between trade, visitor and experience industries. The program helps you create growth, develop new business models and forms of collaboration.
Summer eXpression
During a summer, you as a young creator get the chance to take your design from idea to finished product in collaboration with skilled producers in the Umeå region.
3D Lab at Curiosum
Our offers
eXpression Umeå's core offering is our business development programs, but we have more to offer. Read more about our offers and environments here.