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Next Generation Thinking

Wincanton’s W2 Labs is a ten-week programme which enables start-ups / scale-ups  or product developers to trial products at scale and receive expert mentoring and funding from Wincanton – leading supply chain partner for UK business – and L Marks, innovation solutions provider.


Applications are closed

2024 Entry Categories

Working with Wincanton

Wincanton is a leading supply chain partner for UK business. We work in industry sectors as diverse as retail eFulfilment, grocery, consumer goods and general merchandise, public sector, infrastructure, energy and defence, supporting our customers at every stage of their development and growth. Whether they are a small niche retailer, a growing brand or a multinational corporation, we add value through our supply chain expertise and our innovative approach to logistics challenges.

For almost 100 years we have entered new industry sectors, ventured into new geographies, broadened our services and used technology to manage the increasing pace and complexity of the supply chain.

Today, we are focusing on our roots in the UK and Ireland and are concentrating on what we do best – delivering market leading logistics solutions. Our aim is to bring fresh thinking to the supply chain, responding intelligently to business change and developing agile, flexible logistics solutions that respond to the needs of the supply chain for the future.

15 January 2024

Applications Open

03 March 2024

Applications Close

23 April 2024

Pitch Day

03 June 2024

Programme Live

12 September 2024

Demo Day

Our Mentors

The first class mentorship on offer means successful start-ups will have the chance to learn from experienced subject matter experts, who will be on hand to help both virtually and at relevant Wincanton sites. Each start-up will have opportunities to pitch for investment from both Wincanton and L Marks.

Carl Hanson

Managing Director, Group Transport

Mentoring on

Digital Transport

Carl is Managing Director, Group Transport, responsible for Wincanton transport business sector. Carl joined Wincanton in September 2016 as the Fleet Director and was appointed as Procurement & Fleet Director in April 2019 and Group Operations Director in 2022.

Carl has a background in both commercial and business leadership and experience across a number of market sectors, including rail, construction, highways and utilities. Prior to joining Wincanton Carl was the Fleet Director at Balfour Beatty.

Helen Flanagan

Product Director, EyeQ

Mentoring on

Digital Transport

Helen is the product lead for EyeQ, Wincanton’s digital transport control tower product. She joined Wincanton in 2023 and plays a key role in the strategic shift in the business to focus on transport services powered by digital technology. Helen brings a depth of experience across Logistics Operations, Sales, Solutions Design and Consulting and has enjoyed varied roles at DHL Supply Chain and Kuehne & Nagel.

Kieran Croucher

Head of Cyber Security and Risk

Kieran Croucher joined Wincanton in August 2023 as Head of Cyber Security & Risk.  He is responsible for defining the strategic direction and delivery of IT security, IT governance and IT risk management disciplines across the Group.

Prior to working for Wincanton, Kieran spent the previous 25 years in cyber security and technical leadership roles at the international law firm DAC Beachcroft. As technical lead, Kieran oversaw a number of high profile mergers and projects such as ISO27001 implementation.  He successfully led the winning nomination for the category “Excellence in IT Security” at the British Legal Technology Awards (2017 & 2019).

Luke Robinson

Group HSEQ and Compliance Director

Luke is responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of health, safety, environment and quality (HSEQ) as well as the Group’s operational training team for Wincanton. Luke joined Wincanton as Group HSEQ Training Manager in 2016 after a career as a HSEQ professional in work-based training and various roles in supply chain.

Recently, Luke was instrumental in the launch of the dedicated training and research facility, the Centre for Logistics Education and Research, as well is key innovative projects in wearable technology and virtual reality. He was also selected for Wincanton’s Next Gen programme which provides high potential leaders embark on an 18-month journey, developing the skills, knowledge and experiences needed to become successful senior leaders.

Rachel Gilbey

MD, General Merchandise

Mentoring on


Rachel Gilbey is the Managing Director of General Merchandise at Wincanton, and is responsible for our operations for well-known brands like B&Q and Screwfix.

Rachel’s principle objective is to deliver safe, efficient and low cost operations for Wincanton’s customers. Alongside this the team drive and support our customers growth through continuous improvement, collaboration, innovation and automation.

Rachel has worked in third-party logistics for the Retail and Consumer market for over 18 years. Joining Wincanton as a graduate, she progressed through the business to take on senior strategic commercial roles, mostly recently as Finance Director of the Retail and Consumer Sector. Having made the journey herself, Rachel is a passionate sponsor of developing internal talent, both up the ranks and across business functions.

Having made the journey herself, Rachel is a passionate sponsor of developing internal talent, both up the ranks and across business functions.


Ian Hunt

Commercial National Automation and Engineering Director

Mentoring on


An Engineering Director with over 40 years’ experience, firstly within the chemical and pharmaceutical industry and over the last 25 years food manufacture and distribution – Ian leads a team, including Facilities, Engineering and automation with a track record of delivering large complex multi temperature projects in the UK & Ireland and also France & Sweden.

Ian delivered supply chain innovation, culminating in an Industry award in 2020 at the British Frozen Food Awards for our reduction in carbon output of 27%. At Wincanton, he worked with our automation team to deliver a CO-BOT picking solution in 2022 that won two industry awards for Best use of Robotics.

Scott Merrick

Product Director, Automation and Robotics

Mentoring on


Scott became Product Director, Automation & Robotics, at Wincanton in January 2023 and is focused on ensuring our products are deployed rapidly and at scale for our customers. He was previously Chief Information Officer at Cygnia Logistics for 17 years, where he led an agile and rapid capability for customers. Wincanton acquired Cygnia in 2021. Scott was the driving force behind the recent successful implementation of Wincanton’s Automated Mobile Robotics shared user solution at Cygnia’s high-volume eFulfilment facility.

Paul Durkin

Chief Customer and Innovation Officer

Paul was appointed Chief Customer and Innovation Officer in June 2021. Accountable for Innovation, Product Development, Sales and Marketing, Paul is focussed on achieving sustainable growth underpinned by People and Technology.

Prior to this Paul led Wincanton’s eFulfilment business, responsible for developing our ‘direct to customer’ propositions for clients such as IKEA, Wickes and M&S.

Paul has a passion for developing people, chairs the Chartered Institute of Transport & Logistics ASPIRE foundation and is an active sponsor for Generation Logistics. Paul is married with two grown up children and two very lively spaniels, Ripley and Nala.

Claire Charlton

Head of W2

Claire joined Wincanton in 2004 and is the Head of our W2 Innovation Programme. Claire works alongside the W2 Labs cohort to deliver proof of value and test the products at pace.

Claire also mentors the successful businesses to help them develop and commercialise the products as Wincanton propositions. Prior to her current role, Claire spent the last 10 years in sales, business development and solution design roles across the Wincanton Group. Previously she enjoyed 10 years in retail transport operations.

L Marks is a leading global innovation specialist which has created over 90 programmes with its partners in Europe, Asia and North America. Founded in 2014 with a presence in the UK and the US, L Marks has developed and delivered results-driven corporate innovation solutions, trusted by world-leading brands including BMW, Lloyd’s of London and Sodexo.

Through their award-winning Innovation Labs, L Marks’ partners have worked with over 400 startups with a successful deployment rate of over 70%. The L Marks New Ventures unit supports its clients to create and develop new revenue-generating businesses through its Venture Studio, and transform their corporate culture within their Intra-Lab. Building on its experience in innovation delivery, L Marks is expanding its advisory and capability development support through their recent acquisition of The Inovo Group, a US-based innovation consultancy with over 20 expertise in implementing scientific research and advanced analytics to guide organisations to succeed at strategic innovation.

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