BMW Financial U.K. Expands Scope of Innovation Lab

After deeming its first Innovation Lab in 2016 a success, BMW Group U.K. is expanding the focus of its startup accelerator for its 2018 cohort.

BMW Group Financial Services launched the Innovation Lab in the U.K. in 2016 as an opportunity for early-stage startup companies to partner with the company.

Now, the company is expanding to allow its own employees to join through its “intrapreneur” program. The intrapreneur program provides a series of workshops and residential courses, at which initial ideas are developed with the help of academics, business mentors, and BMW’s own leadership team, according to a press release. Eight teams will then be selected to embark on a 12-week structured mentoring program to complete a business plan describing how to turn their idea into commercial reality.

Meanwhile, the traditional entrepreneur program will accelerate startups through a 10-week course. Participants will have access to mentorship from the BMW Group’s U.K. leadership team, the company’s U.K. headquarters, vehicles and other resources, a business education program, and access to investors. The entrepreneurs will also receive an unknown fundraising amount from L Marks, a corporate innovation specialist and investment fund, which is working with BMW on the accelerator. TIL Ventures, a specialist at building a culture of corporate innovation, is also partnering with Innovation Lab.

BMW Group Financial Services UK did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

“The Innovation Lab provides a great opportunity for us to get a different perspective on our business and generate new ideas more quickly,” Mike Dennett, chief executive of BMW Group Financial Services U.K., said at the time of the launch in a 2016 press release.

The startups will be able to enter into four different categories, including “Seamless Customer Experience,” looking at where startup technology can add value to both the online and in-person retail process; “Enhancing Business Processes,” focusing on where companies have solutions for automating existing operations; “Access versus Ownership,” looking at new business models to give existing and new target customer groups greater access to mobility solutions; and “RegTech Wildcard,” focusing on new solutions focused on the affordability, compliance, and regulatory environments.

Applications from external entrepreneurs, startups, and early-stage growth businesses to participate in the BMW Innovation Lab 2018 must be submitted through the website by Oct. 16, 2017.

For more content like this, check out the 17th annual Auto Finance Summit, which will take place on Oct. 25-27 at the Wynn Las Vegas. To learn more about this year’s event — or to register — visit the Summit’s homepage here.

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