John Lewis is seeking start-ups with a health and convenience focus as it launches this year’s JLab technology competition.

JLab – which is run in association with investment fund L Marks – promises start-ups the opportunity to work with “top-level mentors” for 12 weeks, “assigned according to specific industry expertise”.

This year, the department store group is particularly keen on entries that help customers take care of themselves and simplify their lives.

Categories for entries include: health and wellbeing, ‘simplify my life’, effortless shopping and tech for kids. There is also a category for innovations that are “so out of this world they can’t be classified”.

John Lewis said: “JLab will produce a product or service that will help shape the retail experience for customers of the future.

“We’ve seen from previous years the value of combining an agile start-up mentality with John Lewis’ industry knowledge.”

Last year’s winners, Peeple, said JLab turned them into a global company.

“It took us to the next level, and helped us better understand and create a product for the international market,” said Peeple’s chief executive Chris Chuter.

John Lewis, which first launched the initiative two years ago, said technology companies at any stage of growth can apply for the programme.

Applications will close at midnight on Sunday May 8. Five start-ups will be selected to complete the 12-week JLab programme and the overall winner will be revealed at a showcase event in September 2016.

Each team will be eligible to apply for funding of up to £100,000 from the total pot of £200,000, in exchange for equity in their company.