MSDUK CEO Mayank Shah will be one of 125 business leaders to be featured in a diversity exhibition. The Diversity Works’, project examines the ‘diversity proposition’ through a series of portraits and perspectives featuring; business and thought leaders, managers and agents of change.

Over a period of 3 years more than 125 business leaders, managers and agents of change, including, Sir Nicholas Serota, Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, Inga Beale DBE, John Bercow MP, Lord Browne, Vanessa Kingori MBE and Gok Wan were photographed and interviewed by Shahid Bashir. (

The project examines the value of rethinking leadership and culture to develop people, processes and systems that are inclusive and facilitate difference in the broadest sense of the word. It asks…

– How is diversity actually perceived and experienced within the context of work?
– What is the positive core of diversity and how does it relate to the positive core of an organisation?
– What are the negative stereotypes that are dismissively associated with diversity?
– What are the conditions under which diversity and inclusion can flourish in organisations?

The portraits have been taken in a particular style moving away from the happy, smiley corporate portraits we are all used to seeing. Instead, they incorporate a contemporary black and white, deadpan format as contributors are asked to draw on their lived experience and reflect on a specific moment in their lives when they were excluded and felt left.

As a business psychologist and lens-based artist, Shahid takes the white cube concept into large corporate spaces to get people to slow down, pause and ponder on their own lived experience. Creating a strong interactive element to his photographic installations, they are engagement pieces with multiple layers of meaning that facilitate self-reflection, reveal fresh perspectives and start new conversations. The aim…, is to encourage people to open up to new possibilities, to experience new ways of being and playing at work.

In his personal work, Shahid playfully interrogates the idea of the authentic self, examining the interplay between external forces and internal narratives and how this dynamic drives behaviour. His approach is informed by his roots in positive psychology and appreciative inquiry which is embedded in his practice. He is currently creating new works translating his approach to wider contexts, which can be seen at,

Flushable and biodegradable sanitary products take MSDUK Innovation Challenge title



L-R Helena Hutton, Cummins; Aaron Koshy and Olivia Ahn, Co-Founders of Polipop; Ava Vidal, MSDUK Awards Dinner host

A start-up business that makes the world’s first safely-flushable and biodegradable sanitary products has been crowned as the winner of the MSDUK Innovation Challenge, sponsored by Cummins.

Polipop received the accolade at a glittering awards ceremony in Birmingham on 26th September as part of a two-day conference celebrating supply chain diversity – MSDUK 2018.

Over 600 delegates, 200 entrepreneurs, 100 buyers, 60 exhibitors, 40 global brands and 50 supplier diversity leaders attended the event, whilst a select panel of investors and supply chain experts heard pitches from 12 exciting new businesses aiming impress them with their innovative ideas and win the MSDUK Innovation Challenge.

This year’s prizes include scholarships worth $10,000 to the prestigious Ivy League Tuck School of Business in the USA sponsored by EY and Accenture, funding opportunities, a place on Accenture’s Development programme and mentoring pitch workshops with international motivational speaker David McQueen.

Polipop have developed pads that break apart down any toilet within minutes. They are 100% biodegradable and body-safe, are plant-based and contain zero parabens or perfumes.

Olivia Ahn, Co-Founder at Polipop said;

‘We are thrilled to have won and to now be able to go to Tuck Business School next year along with RAB Microfludics and Twipes. This prize is unique amongst innovation challenges, in that the business course based in New Hampshire will enable us to not only further the start-up but also to explore the American approach to entrepreneurship.

‘’Being a London-based start-up, we have worked with many British and European mentors and advisers. We look forward to exploring the American market and audience whilst in America, and of course, putting into practice what we learn at Tuck Business School.

‘’Working with the other finalists throughout the innovation challenge showed us the calibre, talent and passion in the teams behind the start-ups. It was inspiring to learn from each other and to be announced as the winner was an incredible honour.’’

Mayank Shah, CEO of MSDUK said:

“Innovation through diversity is set to power the UK economy over the next decade and this was the mantra behind this year’s Conference and Awards. For over 10 years, MSDUK have been dedicated to improving diversity in entrepreneurship and driving inclusive procurement.

‘’We believe that supplier diversity is an economic and moral imperative. Innovation comes from a diversity of perspectives, so when we limit who can contribute, we in turn limit what problems we can solve. The calibre of the finalists this year was incredibly high and I am sure we will be hearing about all of them in the very near future but for the judges this year, Polipop was the outstanding business, along with the runners up, RAB Microfludics and Twipes.’’

This year’s finalists in full were:

– Polipop. The first safely-flushable and biodegradable sanitary products

– Twipes, which manufactures the world’s only truly flushable wipes

– RAB-Microfluidics, the company which downscales whole laboratory protocols onto a glass microchip

– ThingTtrax, which specialises in Internet of Things manufacturing machines and brings disconnected machines online

– Hello Daisy Life, which provides set top boxes and networks for the elderly

– The Cheeky Panda, which connects carbon neutral, ultra-sensitive healthy bamboo tissue products

– Medixus, a company which connects healthcare workers across Africa

– Zingr, which provides financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked in developing countries;

– Audiowings, the specialist in smart headphones for workouts

– Envirup, a company which provides insulated sidings systems for difficult-to-insulate homes

– Mother Nature’s making refreshing drinks that are inspired by flavours from a diverse range of cultures


press release by:

MSDUK announces supplier diversity award winners at 2018 Awards Dinner



Cassandra Rennie, winner of MSDUK Supplier Diversity Advocate award


The winners of the UK’s most prestigious supplier diversity awards were revealed last week (Wednesday 26th September) at a glittering ceremony at Birmingham’s Vox Conference Centre.

The annual MSDUK Conference and Awards is a must-attend event for Ethnic Minority Businesses looking to drive inclusive procurement and connect with diverse like-minded businessmen and women. This year’s event saw over 1,000 entrepreneurs, exhibitors and supplier diversity leaders gather to honour the efforts of both large corporations and ethnic minority owned businesses in making supply chains both inclusive and competitive.

The MSDUK Awards 2018 were split into six categories:

–          Scale Up Business (sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company)

–          Inclusive Procurement

–          Supplier Diversity Advocate (sponsored by AgileOne)

–          Supplier Diversity Excellence (sponsored by Gibbs Hybrid)

–          Businesswoman of the Year (sponsored by EY)

–          Entrepreneur of the Year (sponsored by EY)

Blue-collar recruitment agency Fortel Services and Clinical Research Organisation (CRO) Clintec International were named joint winners of the Scale Up Business Award, an award which recognises businesses that have shown significant demonstrable growth over the last two financial years within their specific marketplace.

The Inclusive Procurement Award, awarded to a British public or private sector purchasing organisation outside of the MSDUK network that demonstrates the strongest commitment to supply chain diversity, was handed to HS2 – the UK’s imminent high-speed railway and the largest infrastructure project in Europe.

Paul Harvey, Head of Procurement at Marsh & McLennan Companies, and Cassandra Rennie, UKI Operations and Sustainability Senior Analyst at Accenture, were named joint winners of the Supplier Diversity Advocate Award for their commitment, passion and hard work to promote diversity and inclusion within their organisation’s supply chain; while national energy supplier EDF Energy picked up the Supplier Diversity Excellence Award in recognition of its exceptional leadership in supplier diversity.

Raj Tulsiani, CEO of Interim Management and Executive Search firm Green Park was crowned Entrepreneur of the Year in celebration of his longstanding commitment to supplier diversity and for “setting a new benchmark for the recruitment industry that widens the gate without lowering the bar”.

Concluding the dazzling awards ceremony, Farida Gibbs, CEO of Gibbs Hybrid, which provides single-source integrated Talent Management Services, Programme Consultancy and Outsourcing Solutions to mid-market and FORTUNE 500 companies, received the prestigious accolade of Businesswoman of the Year in recognition of her “dynamic, creative and visionary” leadership.

Delegates enjoyed a stellar line-up of speakers including Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African American woman to build a $1bn business; Channel 4 news presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy; stand-up comedian Ava Vidal; Ebookers founder Dinesh Dhamija and Accenture CPO Kai Nowosel, before being treated to a sumptuous Awards Dinner sponsored by Barclays.

The two-day event (25th-26th September) concluded with the hotly anticipated Awards Reception sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline.

Mayank Shah, CEO of MSDUK, said: “This year’s awards were driven by the idea that innovation through diversity will be what powers the UK economy over the next decade. All of our award finalists are living proof of this principle, and long may their commitment to supply chain diversity continue.

“Our warmest congratulations go to the winners of the MSDUK Awards 2018. They deserve these awards for the outstanding and important work they do”.

Farida Gibbs, MSDUK Businesswoman of the Year and CEO of Gibbs Hybrid, said: “I am thrilled to be named MSDUK Businesswoman of the Year. I’ve never considered myself to be an ‘entrepreneur’ – I am someone who loves what they do with great passion. I didn’t do well at school, an illness at the age of 15 saw me in and out of hospitals and I left school with 2 GCSE’s. I felt like a failure. I truly believe this is one of the reasons why I push the boundaries, am tenacious, never give up, take a leap of faith (self-belief) to prove that I am successful and can be successful if I put my mind to it”.

She added: “My upbringing has taught me to be a great leader for my team, to lead by example, build a team who share the same common purpose and outlook on life. Whatever I set my mind to do, I do. Whatever we dream, our vision is all within our reach”.

The 2018 MSDUK Award Winners in full:

Scale Up Business


Fortel Services

Clintec International

Inclusive Procurement



Supplier Diversity Advocate


Paul Harvey, Marsh & McLennan Companies

Cassandra Rennie, Accenture

Supplier Diversity Excellence


EDF Energy

Businesswoman of the Year


Farida Gibbs, Gibbs Hybrid

Entrepreneur of the Year


Raj Tulsiani, Green Park




Mancunian Entrepreneur, Melissa Drummond, selected for Business Scholarship

article by Cue Marketing

  • Founder of Cue Marketing and Cliche Models has been selected for the Tuck Scholarship residential programme
  • Programme is designed for certified ethnic minority and female business owners with an ambitious growth plan and will focus on strategy and implementation to drive results.
  • Programme is led by world-class professionals from Ivy League’s Tuck School of Business and Aston Business School

Mancunian entrepreneur, Melissa Drummond, is one of the few selected in the UK to be accepted for the Tuck Scholarship residential programme delivered by the Tuck Business School and Aston University.

The exclusive scholarship programme is designed for certified ethnic minority and female business owners, who are committed to advancing their business capabilities and have an ambitious growth plan. The scholarship will be led by world-class academics and practitioners who will support these individuals through teaching them the principles of building successful businesses, focusing on strategy and implementation to drive results.

The world class academics and practitioners, Leonard Greenhalgh and Professor Mark Hart, are from Ivy League’s Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth, USA and Aston Business School, Birmingham, UK, respectively. Greenhalgh is Faculty Director of Tuck’s Minority Business Programme and co-author of ‘Minority Business Success: Refocusing on the American Dream’. Hart is Deputy Director of the Enterprise Research Centre, Professor of Small Business Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School and 2014 recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.

At just 33, Drummond has already founded two successful companies: Cliche Models and Cue Marketing.

Her journey started in 2012, when Melissa saw a gap in the market for a more culturally diverse modelling agency, Cliche Models.  Originally called Cliché Model Management, which represented commercial, fashion and promotional models from predominantly Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds.

While still running her modelling agency, she started being asked for marketing advice and support including from contacts in the property industry – so she set up CUE Marketing.  CUE now has a team of 12 staff; more than double the size of just a year ago.

When reflecting on her experience so far, Drummond states:

“I’m so proud of both of the companies I started. As any entrepreneur knows, it took a lot of dedication and a clear vision of success.

Drummond has more ambitious plans for the future

“I applied for the Tuck Scholarship Programme to learn how to further develop my business ventures from the world-class professionals. I am a firm believer in continuous learning and I am excited for this new opportunity!’

Quickfire Q&A with: 2018 Innovation Challenge finalists


We sat down ahead of the MSDUK Innovation Challenge with 5 of this year’s finalists to ask them about their mission, must-haves and mantras.

The interviewees:

VR:Calm – Provide an interactive and personalised platform for an uplifting social experience using a virtual reality app and headset for dementia sufferers

Audiowings – Nicknamed ‘The Shell’, Audiowings are creating headphones that connect directly to cloud platforms like Spotify, whilst using sensors to track our environment and the body.

Polipop – Created flushable and biodegradable products with a higher absorbability than current disposables and will disintegrate away within minutes in water.

Medixus – peer-to-peer app for healthcare workers across Africa and beyond to connect and collaborate on challenging patient case, in real time.

Twipes – the world’s first truly flushable wet wipes!



What 3 words describe your innovation?

VR:Calm: Reminiscent, Interactive, Personalised

Medixus: Simple, impactful, Scalable!

Polipop: Sustainable, Convenient, Holistic


What is the hardest bridge you have had to cross so far?

Twipes: Convincing others that our invention actually works. Considering the number of products on the market that don’t do what they say, it’s caused a lot of distrust amongst the public about “flushable” products.

Medixus: We’ve built this entire product, and business so far, bootstrapped. Making money go as far as it can and finding ways to bend time to deliver the parts of our vision we so clearly see

Audiowings: Convincing others with the right credibility and experience to buy into the vision and help develop the system

VR:Calm: Having the courage to put our idea forward and getting recognition for doing this, especially because we are three young female co-founders in a tech industry heavily dominated by males.


What is your million-dollar differentiator- what makes you unique?

Polipop: Polipop is launching the world’s first completely flushable and biodegradable sanitary products. Redesigned to have 25% greater absorbability than current disposable plastic pads, Polipop’s pads will disintegrate away within minutes down your toilet!

Twipes: Our product actually works! It breaks down in water in 3 short hours unlike any other product on the market. Others on the market claim to be flushable but can take months or even years to truly break down!


Why did you apply for the MSDUK Innovation Challenge?

Audiowings: To be a part of a diverse, multinational and global community.

VR:Calm: We wanted to be part of a community of like-minded and ambitious entrepreneurs and gain access to great opportunities and exposure. We believe in our product and want to show that technology can also be used for the good and benefit our society’s most vulnerable members.

Polipop: MSDUK Innovation Challenge is a fantastic competition to learn from other start-ups and gain advice through the training day and mentorship. We hope to gain feedback at a critical point in our timeline as we move from working prototype to manufacture ready product.


What tool/app/product can you not live without?

Medixus: Oh, this is a difficult one. It’d have to be a toss up between CityMapper and GoogleMaps (do you spot a theme?).  I blame being a city girl on my poor map reading skills – these two apps make my life so much easier, I can plan when I need to leave and what the optimal route to take is in a few clicks. It’s a great efficiency hack when your time is as limited as ours can be as we spend a lot of time commuting/travelling to meetings!

Audiowings: Spotify!

Twipes: My phone. Less about the social aspect and more about the way its used to help organise and plan my meetings and schedules to help me utilise my time efficiently.


Do you have a mantra or quote that you live by?

Twipes: No woman is an island! Get. Help.

Audiowings: My nan once said to me “Follow your dreams, and Pursue them with Passion”. That’s what I strive to do.

Medixus: With my social entrepreneur hat on: “Always stay married to the problem, not your solution” I think it’s a really key thing to live by – the solution can and will change over time as your understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve evolves. Let go of the ego of ‘my solution’ and stay focused on the problem – otherwise very quickly one may find they are sticking a square peg in a round hole.


What is next for you and your business?

Polipop: We will launch our flushable sanitary pads in 2019 with our brand Polipop. This product launch is the first product on our Polipop platform, designed to help manage your period. Every month, we deliver a complete box of sanitary products and supportive products such as wipes, heat packs and pamper products. We are starting with flushable pads and then onto flushable tampons, whilst we are working on menstrual data driven health research partnered with several universities.

VR:Calm: We are looking forward to being part of an international community after being selected for the 2018 promotion of the Women in Africa Entrepreneurs’ Club – Project 54 under the Patronage of His Excellence the King Mohammed VI. Exciting times ahead for VR:CALM, watch this space!

Audiowings: We want to prove the market for our system, and will be launching a rewards – based crowdfunding campaign in the next few months

Twipes: The next step is to launch a subscription model to promote Twipes to the general public and to make the biggest impact possible.

Medixus: Global domination of course! In all seriousness, we hope to take the pilot live across Kenya and get some useful insights into how it’s being used, where we can optimise and how best to begin scaling.


VR: Calm, Audiowings, Twipes, Polipop and Medixus will be pitching their innovations live at the MSDUK 2018 Conference & Awards at the Innovation Challenge.

Register to attend:

Judging panel revealed for Midlands Leadership Awards


The judging panel for the Midlands Leadership Awards has today been revealed. The inaugural awards are being held at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham, on Thursday, November 15. Change consultancy Curium Solutions are the headine sponsors of the awards, which are also being supported by Pertemps, MHA MacIntyre Hudson, Aston University and Future Faces Chamber of Commerce.

Alex Turner, joint managing director of, said: “Our judges, who are all leaders in their own right, bring a wide range of experience and knowledge. Their contributions will be vital in making sure the shortlist and winners represent the very best from across the Midlands.”

The Midlands Leadership Awards judging panel is:

Anita Bhalla, chair, West Midlands Combined Authority Leadership Commission

James Farrow, director, Curium Solutions

Paul Faulkner, chief executive, Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

Amanda Fletcher, managing director, The Nottinghamshire

Mayank Shah, chief executive, Minority Supplier Development UK

Mark Smith, executive director of business engagement at Aston University

Katie Trout, director, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP

Alex Turner, joint managing director,

The award categories has created the Midlands Leadership Awards to celebrate the people and organisations across the region who are role models for their teams and raise the bar for their competitors.

The shortlist will showcase the best qualities of modern leadership – of inspiration, collaboration and empowerment – and the winners will be revealed at an awards lunch which will be a celebration of the transformational impact great leaders are having in our region here and now.

The entry deadline is Friday, September 14.

The Leadership awards offer a great opportunity to recognise and showcase the achievements and success of businesses in the region. The 2018 Leadership awards are:

Best Leadership Programme
Successful companies know that leaders can be developed internally, not just hired externally. This award will go to the company or organisation that has delivered significant improvements through its successful leadership programme.

Diversity and Inclusion Leader
Increasingly organisations are embracing the benefits of having a diverse workforce at every level and in creating an environment where everyone has a voice. The Diversity and Inclusion leader of the year will be the individual who has championed diversity and inclusion, whether inside their organisation or as part of an outside group or initiative, and worked to improve the opportunities for any under-represented group.

Public and Third Sector
The public and third sectors have been under pressure in recent years, requiring its leaders to be innovative and achieve more with less. This has required leaders who can overcome challenges, often under close scrutiny, and drive cultural change in their organisation.

Professional Services
The professional services leader of the year will be the individual who is showing strong leadership and having an impact in their firm or further afield.

Transformational Leader
Delivering change requires a well-executed plan, but to deliver transformational change requires the added magic ingredient of exceptional leadership. This award will recognise the individual who has achieved that, delivering measurable success in their organisation.

How to enter

Entrants should complete the entry form and return the forms to The deadline for entries is Friday, September 14 2018.

Great leadership can also be demonstrated through roles with other bodies where the individual is championing the region, sector or under-represented groups.

Leadership happens throughout an organisation so applicants can be from anywhere in the organisation. At its core leadership is about mindset and behaviour, not always hierarchy.


The awards lunch

The awards lunch will take place on Thursday, November 15 at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham. Tickets are on sale now, priced £85+VAT each or £800+VAT for a table of 10.


original article:

NMSDC Names New President: Adrienne Trimble from Toyota


The National Minority Supplier Development Council is pleased to announce the selection of Adrienne Trimble, General Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Toyota Motor North America, as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective August 1, 2018.

NMSDC’s Board Chairman, Joseph Hinrichs, stated, “On behalf of the NMSDC Board of Directors, we are pleased to have a leader of Adrienne’s caliber join our team. This is an exciting chapter for NMSDC and I have no doubt that Adrienne’s skills and experience will help shape the future of our organization.”

In her statement, Ms. Trimble said, “I am honored to be taking on this leadership role with NMSDC and look forward to ensuring our organization and our stakeholders remain positioned for sustainable growth and success.”

Adrienne Trimble’s appointment marks a unique, significant milestone in NMSDC’s long and close relationship with Toyota. Ms. Trimble led the company’s Supplier Diversity initiative from 2005 to 2012, where she directed the development of essential supplier relationships with Toyota’s North American operations and diverse businesses across the country.

Toyota received numerous accolades under Ms. Trimble’s direction, including Corporation of the Year by the NMSDC and a number of local affiliate regional councils. Ms. Trimble joined Toyota in 2000 to establish the company’s recruitment strategy and organization design, succession planning and labor cost management efforts. Her previous experience included Human Resource leadership roles in financial services, media and healthcare industries.

“All of us at Toyota are especially appreciative that NMSDC has tapped one of our outstanding executives, Adrienne Trimble, to be its president,” said Al Smith, Group Vice President of Social Innovation, Toyota Motor North America. “This is a singular opportunity for her and for us, and as such demonstrates Toyota’s commitment to NMSDC and minority supplier development.”

Mr. Hinrichs, in his statement, thanked Ms. Trimble’s predecessor, NMSDC Interim President Louis Green, noting, “We also thank Louis Green for his service and for helping us stay on track during this important transition.”


original press release by NMSDC:

Introducing the MSDUK 2018 Innovation Challenge finalists

MSDUK is pleased to announce the finalists for its second annual Innovation Challenge, a pitching business competition that aims to provide opportunities for ethnic minority entrepreneurs in the UK with an innovative idea, product or technology. From Aberdeen to London, UK entrepreneurs submitted an impressive range of ideas within this year’s four key categories: Tech for Good, Disruptive Businesses, Sustainable Futures and Wildcard.

The final will take place at the MSDUK 2018 Conference & Awards in Birmingham on Wednesday 26th September and will provide the businesses with an opportunity to pitch their idea live to a panel of investors and a global audience of entrepreneurs and business owners.

After the live pitch, three winners will be chosen by a panel of judges who will score finalists on criteria including relevance, quality of innovation and marketing strategy.  This year’s prizes include scholarships worth $10,000 to the prestigious Ivy League Tuck School of Business in the USA, funding opportunities, a place on Accenture’s Development programme and mentoring pitch workshops with international motivational speaker and coach David McQueen.





Carl Thomas, Founding Director

Smart headphones powered by platforms like Spotify, that know how you feel to amplify the impact audio has on your life.

Innovation Sector: Smart Consumer Electronics

More details: 

Our lives are shaped by what we hear. And what we hear influences how we feel. Whether forcing us to go hard at the gym. Or helping us enjoy a journey. Music acts as our personal companion. Always there, as a shield against the hammer of reality. Helping us stay in the zone. To focus. To work out, or just to chill.

At Audiowings, we’re passionate about developing tools to help increase the impact audio has on our lives. And we’re doing that, by creating a tool for the heart. Turning headphones into intimate audio computers that use the power of music, to stay connected.

Nicknamed ‘The Shell’, Audiowings are working with an audio manufacturer, creating headphones that connect directly to cloud platforms like Spotify, whilst using sensors to track our environment and the body. We want to understand how you feel when listening to music, to create your unique soundtrack with smart recommendations. The platform powering The Shell also taps into audiobooks and podcasts. We’re all about giving you access to your favourite audio. Wherever you are. Straight in your ears. With nothing in the way.What we’re striving to develop is the iPod for the always-on streaming generation. To help you Hear how you Feel, to really Feel what you Hear.

Biggest company milestones:

  • Patent granted for a core piece of our technology
  • Concept endorsed by Sir Richard Branson, EE and others
  • A joint venture agreement signed with a global headphone company for access to manufacturing and distribution resources

LinkedIn: N/A




High performance, superior quality, rapid fit, fire test approved insulation for 2 storey homes. 

Innovation Sector: Construction

More details: 

Current technology for insulating 2 storey homes built with solid walls is failing. Envirup’s patented insulation system takes the complexity those systems into high a quality manufacturing process, resulting in high performance, fire test approved product that quicker and easy to fit. Targeting the fuel poor market, this product aims to reduce the impact of fuel poverty, where over 31,000 people die every year in the UK alone.
The system is the culmination of over 7 years work, invented by Envirup, experts building energy efficiency and supported by leaders in the sector including Eon Energy and Nottingham University’s Department of the Built Environment.

Biggest company milestones:

  • Winner of multiple Innovate UK development grants
  • Winner of ‘People and Environment’ Award 2017
  • Winner of Climate KIC Cleantech Accelerator Grant


Twitter: @Envirup



hello daisy

Hello Daisy is an internet enabling private social network, using any TV, so older people who are digitally / socially excluded, can connect with family, friends, community and their health and care providers.

Innovation Sector: Health & Care

More details: 

Hello Daisy is a private social media platform that internet enables anyTV using our set-top box, camera and remote. Family, friends, community and health and care professionals can connect and share life experiences such as photos, videos, messages, video-chat using our companion app through any smart device.

Biggest company milestones:

  • Finalist in Centrica’s Global Active Ageing Challenge
  • Featured start-up for the Winner of Innovation 2018 with The School of Engineering, London South Bank University
  • 740 pre-registered customers including BUPA Care Homes, NHS CCGS, Councils, Housing Associations, AGE UK London and consumers.


Twitter: @hellodaisylife




Nicole Kayode, Founder

Medixus is a peer-to-peer app for healthcare workers across Africa and beyond to connect and collaborate on challenging patient case, in real time.

Innovation Sector: Healthcare

More details: 

Medixus uses technology to plug the gaps in physical proximity, empowering clinicians and fostering the pan-African healthcare community. We believe that through real-time cross disciplinary collaboration, a higher quality of clinical decisions can be made leading to improved quality of patient care. At the core of Medixus is the ethos that no front-line healthcare worker should feel unsupported in her/his decision making. We aim to harness the expertise that exists on the continent, and ensure all healthcare workers can access this at the push of a button

Biggest company milestones:

  • Winner of Start Up Pitching session @ EU-Africa Business Forum, Abidjan
  • Launch of MVP in app store, play store and web version
  • Signed four pilot hospitals in Kenya


Twitter: @MedixusHealth



mother nature's

Christiana Iliya, CEO/Founder

We are individuals who are passionate about making refreshing drinks that are inspired by flavours from a diverse range of cultures from different parts of the world, whilst caring for the environment and having a positive impact on the lives of the people we work with.

Innovation Sector: Food and Drink

More details: 

Our Innovation

  • Great taste with a difference

Mother Nature’s Was born out of a desire to tackle food insecurity in a refreshing way

  • Mitigating the growing impact of food insecurity at farm level

We support small/ independent farmers; we promote sustainable farming practices, in line with the climate challenges, promoting.

  • Raising awareness of Climate Change

We are raising awareness of climate change on food security in some of the most vulnerable communities.

  • Make Ethnically varied flavours of natural drinks

to meet the growing need for more interesting choices in food and drinks in the UK and EU.

Our vision:

  • Champion Sustainability- We will continue to work with more small scale farmers to raise awareness and source their natural farm produce.
  • Become Europe’s leading sustainable ethnically diverse brand, making refreshing and healthy drinks and investing in farming techniques that combat climate change.
  • Mother Nature’s was born in July of 2017. following an intense product development process, the company started a pre- trading launch period which began in January of 2018 and distributes to independent retailers in Hertfordshire.

Biggest company milestones:

  • 3 supplier deals with Independent retailers under two months of trading
  • 70 bottles sold in food stores under 2 months of trading; Angel Investment Offer (worth up to £10,000)


Twitter: N/A


Olivia Ahn, Co-Founder

Olivia Ahn, Co-Founder

Polipop provides the markets first flushable and biodegradable sanitary products. 

Innovation Sector: FemTech

More details: 

Polipop is a new approach to periods. Our proprietary flushable and biodegradable products have a higher absorbability than current disposables and will disintegrate away within minutes in water. We deliver a personalised box through our customer’s letterbox before every period – all for just 10p more than the market leader Always.
Our platform tracks and predict our users period, while going one step further to actively recommend personalised solutions to the issues they faces every month, such as cramps or acne. These solutions are driven by our menstrual health research through our partnered universities and institutes. Creating an active loop that’s not about selling monthly products but finding the best possible period. Polipop is made by you. For you. Period.

Biggest company milestones:

  • London Mayor Entrepreneur Winner 2018
  • Partnership with Manchester University and the Indian National Government for our medical research initiatives and social impact respectively
  • Manufacture ready product with multiple products for R&D in the pipeline


Twitter: @Polipop_Care



RAB - 2

Rotimi Alabi, Founder/CEO

RAB-Microfluidics diagnose early signs of failure in lubricated heavy machinery by continously analysing the lubricating oil in realtime with our microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology, improving efficiency and increasing uptime of machinery.

Innovation Sector: Energy

More details: 

RAB-Microfluidics improve efficiency, reduce OPEX and increase the uptime of heavy rotating machinery. To do this, we diagnose early signs of failure in lubricated heavy machinery by continously analysing the lubricating oil in realtime with our microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology.
Early diagnosis of potential failure in heavy machinery is critical to operations across many industries. For this reason, industrial businesses in 2016 spent £2.01Bn on state-of-the-art Oil Condition Monitoring (OCM) techniques. These techniques however, are inefficient, expensive and environmentally unfriendly. For example, additional £2.1Bn was spent in 2016 on breakdowns, repairs and costs associated with downtime losses, highlighting the inefficiency of current OCM technologies. RAB-Microfluidics has developed cutting edge microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology to deliver real-time continuous testing and analysis of lubricating oil. Our “lab-on-a-chip” technology delivers oil analysis 1000 times faster and 10 times cheaper than the current “send the sample to the laboratory” approach. We combine our hardware technology with data computing by developing machine learning capabilities to utilise the continuous real-time machine health information (big data) generated by our hardware for smart predictive maintenance solutions.

Our technologies enable us to solve the hard-to-reach and hard-to-sense challenges of many businesses across various industries e.g oil and gas (upstream and downstream), power generation, wind sector etc., using the data we generate intelligently and innovatively to forward model machinery behaviour and immerse businesses in industry 4.0. Specifically, we offer customers real-time continuous monitoring, early problem diagnosis, rapid decision making, enhanced efficiency and cost savings. RAB-Microfluidics is looking to disrupt the current OCM status quo and drive an automated OCM market, estimated to be worth £250 million in the next four years, with our automated predictive maintenance technology. RAB-Microfluidics believe we can pioneer a £250mn automated OCM market with our technology.

Biggest company milestones:

  • Multi award-winning Scottish-based start-up, who to date have secured funding of over £900k from grants/awards and private investment
  • 1 of 10 pioneering start-up companies on the Oil and Gas Technology center’s TechX accelerator programme
  • 1 of 20 twenty selected for the inaugural Royal Society of Edinburgh Unlocking Ambition Enterprise Fellowship funded by the Scottish Government.


Twitter: @RAB_Micro



the cheeky pana

Chris Forbes and Julie Chen, Co-Founders


Making the world’s most sustainable tissue by using bamboo.

Innovation Sector: Tissue Products

More details:

The Cheeky Panda Ltd source, manufacture and offer a range of tissue products made 100% from bamboo. Our tissue is ultra-sustainable, carbon neutral and also the worlds first vegan tissue. Our tissue also has a range of health benefits, this is due to the lack of chemicals needed in the production of our tissue. The Cheeky Panda Ltd has been established since 2016, growing from strength to strength.

Now being listed with the largest retailers in the UK, we can also be found in a large selection of European countries. Save the trees with every sneeze!

Biggest company milestones:

  • We are Amazon’s choice in the toilet tissue category
  • We have had a £1m investment, to fund a marketing campaign on Channel 5.
  • We are now listed with Tesco’s, the largest UK retailer.


Twitter: @TheCheekyPanda1




Imran Shafqat, Head of Cloud; Aman Gupta, Head of Devices

ThingTrax makes factory smart, regardless of its age, size or sector by providing easy to setup devices and simple to use ThingTrax cloud platform powered by Artificial Intelligence.

Innovation Sector: Industrial IOT

More details: 

ThingTrax provides an end-to-end industrial IoT solution providing easy to setup devices and simple to use web and mobile software. ThingTrax is the Chromecast for manufacturing machines, bringing desperate disconnected machines online to provide crucial KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for every manufacturer. ThingTrax AI powered cloud continuously analyses data to provide real time actionable insights to manufacturers.

Biggest company milestones:

  • Customers in 5 different countries
  • More than 250+ connected machines, 120+ connected labours
  • Winner of Innovation award in 2017 at Interplas UK


Twitter: @thingtrax




Alborz Bozorgi and Ellenor McIntosh, Co-Founders

The world’s first truly flushable toilet wipes!

Innovation Sector: Clean Tech

More details: 

14% of the UK’s wet wipes sales are used in the bathroom, but traditional wet wipes aren’t flushable! Twipes solve this with the world’s first truly flushable wet wipes!

No more sewer blockages, no more fatberg and no more microplastics in our oceans. Follow Twipes to make our oceans and sewers more sustainable!

Biggest company milestones:

  • The Mayor of London’s Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2017
  • UK Women’s Startup Competition Winners 2017
  • Germany’s Green Innovation Forum Winners 2018


Twitter: @ace_twipes




Mansata Kurang, Co-Founder

We provide an interactive and personalised platform for an uplifting social experience using a virtual reality app and headset for dementia sufferers – reliving memories, general increase in mood and happiness.

Innovation Sector: Tech for Good

More details: 

Dementia causes memory loss, confusion and difficulties with thinking. According to the World Alzheimer Report, dementia will become a trillion-dollar disease by 2018, rising to US$ 2 trillion by 2030 in worldwide cost of treatment. 46.8 million people worldwide were living with dementia in 2015. This number will almost double every 20 years (74.7m in 2030, 131.5m in 2050). Despite Alzheimer’s being the world’s fifth biggest killer, funding levels for research have lagged shockingly behind those for both cancer and cardiovascular disease. The traditional approach draws on physical visual stimulus such as photo books, or even involves substantial investment in constructing full-scale sets that recreate nostalgic scenes.

Our solution is to provide an interactive platform for an uplifting social experience through an app and headsets through a general 360-degree film with an additional customisation feature which personalises the app where patients can upload photos and videos into app. It will include familiar and peaceful scenes such as: Hyde Park, Epping Forest, Brighton seaside, Dam flask reservoir to help alleviate stress and bring back good past memories. There will be an option for simple games such as ‘spotting the gems’ to help stimulate their brain activity. The service part of our business will involve going into care homes to deliver personalised VR sessions.

Biggest company milestones:

  •  Winner: Sky Women in Technology Award with £25,000 grant and mentorship from Debbie Forster MBE, chief executive of education technology platform Apps for Good (article) 
  • Runner Up: Foundervine and Ernst & Young Start-up 54 Hackathon


Twitter: N/A




Giselle Frederick, CEO/Founder

Zingr is the Minimum Viable Ecosystem for Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy for the Unbanked and Underbanked in developing countries.

Innovation Sector: FinTech / Financial Inclusion

More details: 

We are enabling digital payments on smart and feature phones in developing countries through a platform that makes accepting payments online and P2P seamless, fast and secure. Our remittance component uses Blockchain reduces the cost of remittances. Our Social & Digital KYC will enable anyone to have an online identity. Our AI & ML layer will allow users to gain insights into their spending and along with budgeting and financial literacy tools to help them manage their money while embedding local AML laws in algorithms. Cash-out option will be implemented through Merchants.

Biggest company milestones:

  • Signed partnership agreement with a major artisan craft marketplace in Asia.
  • Signed partnership with major bars, supermarkets and hotel chains in the Caribbean.


Twitter: N/A


Join MSDUK at their global conference on Wednesday 26th September at VOX Conference Centre, Birmingham, to watch the finalists live pitch their ideas before the final 3 winners are awarded at the MSDUK 2018 Awards Ceremony in the evening.


The Innovation Challenge is sponsored by Cummins, BMS, EY and Accenture.

cumminslogoblk            BMS-center-logo           EY_Logo5          Acc_Logo_Black_Purple_RGB

Register here

The Innovation Challenge is an annual competition- if you are interested in applying for 2019, please contact Ervin Picari.

The Contribution Of Supplier Diversity To Competitive Advantage

leonardBy Leonard Greenhalgh, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and Michael Robinson, IBM Corp

Many leading corporations have sophisticated supplier diversity programs. These exist when there is strong support from visionary senior managers who see the strategic advantage of ensuring long-term supply chain excellence. In the absence of such vision, the focus is on the next quarterly accounting report. In that context, the procurement function is judged on achievement of short-term savings, and the supplier diversity function is dismissed as superfluous and a target for budget cuts. In this article, we show that the proper role of supplier diversity professionals is to increase the competitive advantage that results from cogent outsourcing.


Read the rest of the article here

Article orginally from: MBN USA