The Innovation Challenge is MSDUK’s flagship pitching competition designed to showcase ethnic minority entrepreneurs’ innovative sustainable solutions, to a range of global corporations. The challenge breaks down barriers to entry for early-stage ventures, entrepreneurs, and high-growth Ethnic minority businesses (EMBs) from all sectors by providing exposure, connections, and access to a range of prestigious corporate sponsors. This year’s Innovation Challenge theme was corporate sustainability and how our EMBs can help corporates with this through their solutions. This year’s competition offered a staggering 20,000 cash prize and a place on the Accenture corporate mentoring programme. Additionally, all the finalists will receive a 1-year free MSDUK premium membership.
The Innovation Challenge was possibly the most competitive and thrilling competition yet, with over 100 entries with great representation in the gender and ethnicity of applicants. We were incredibly impressed by the variety of innovative ideas on offer and the tenacity shown by our finalists. With the focus on ‘Sustainable Solutions for a Better World’, we were delighted to see how sustainability is a key component of their business solutions.
It was extremely difficult to narrow down the pool of submissions to just 9 companies. Our innovative EMBs presented their sustainable solutions to the MSDUK’s corporate and EMB network. They gained exposure and opportunities to share their business visions with companies from around the world. These companies have truly showcased their disruptive technologies, fresh perspectives, and cutting-edge solutions. We are excited to see how our finalists and their companies develop and progress.
“We recognise that the last 18 months have been very challenging for businesses, and the Innovation Challenge is a positive step on the ladder back to business. We set the bar very high for this year’s entrants because we believe that only through greater supplier diversity can our global partners find innovative and sustainable solutions to solve the problems of tomorrow.”MSDUK Founder, Mayank Shah
After an intense and unbelievable set of pitches from our finalists, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2022 Innovation Challenge.
This category focused on solutions that promote health, safety, and well-being for employees, customers or communities of a corporate.
Congratulations to the social category & overall winner Sheana Yu, Founder & CEO of Aergo Health!
Sheana Yu is an award-winning Design Engineer with a passion for delivering social impact and change through design; this has been partly influenced by her own experience of scoliosis (curvature of the spine). Sheana founded Aergo Health with the core business focus of developing smarter postural management solutions for wheelchair users affected by neuromuscular disorders. Aergo Health has created a smart wheelchair seating system, Aergo PS, designed to dynamically support wheelchair users affected by neuromuscular disorders.
“Thank you so much to MSDUK for hosting such an amazing event and selecting Aergo Health as your winner in the Social Category and as your overall Innovation Challenge Winner! Being the winner of the Innovation Challenge provides us with the opportunity to show the world how we are supporting the wheelchair community and improving people’s quality of life through our air cell technology”Sheana Yu, Founder & CEO of Aergo Health
This category focused on helping corporates increase business efficiencies through sustainable practices. Our category finalists were:
Congratulations to the economic category winner Gori Yahaya, Founder of UpSkill Digital!
Gori Yahaya is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, CEO and Founder of UpSkill Digital, a leading organisation in the world of digital education and inclusion. UpSkill Digital is a leading organisation in the world of digital education and inclusion, delivering flexible learning solutions that support those who need it most to get the skills to thrive in the digital age. Working with many of the largest multinational organisations such as Walmart, TikTok, Google, and HSBC, they’re dedicated to minimising the global digital skills gap, driving sustainability across SMEs, and building inclusive and equitable workplaces where all employees are valued and contribute to the success of an organisation.
This category focused on products, services, or solutions that can help corporates be more environmentally conscious
Our category finalists were:
Congratulations to the environmental category winner Daniel Byrd Suárez, Co-founder of Agave Networks!
Daniel is on the mission of creating the first machine learning platform enabling SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) manufacturers and construction businesses to exchange their excess materials and products. Agave Networks is an online marketplace platform that enables manufacturing industries and building owners to achieve zero avoidable waste by identifying excess products and materials in their systems and matching them with local reusing opportunities.
For this year’s competition, we also had a special award prize, where each of our sponsors provided a challenge statement for our applicants to try and address.
Congratulations to Navjot Sawhney founder of The Washing Machine Project for winning the special award in the social category of this year’s innovation challenge competition!
The Washing Machine Project has partnered up with some of the most prominent international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Save The Children, Oxfam, Care International and Plan International. They have successfully carried out pilots in Iraq and Lebanon and received orders from multiple countries for over 3,000 washing machines. In 2022 The Washing Machine Project’s plans are to fulfil these orders and scale up across numerous countries.
The Innovation Challenge winners were announced at the MSDUK Awards on the 8th September 2022! The Innovation Challenge was not possible without the amazing support from our sponsors. A big thank you to Accenture, our headline sponsor, Cummins, EY and GSK for sponsoring this year’s competition. We would also like to thank J.P. Morgan, who this year have sponsored our Innovation Lounge – a dedicated space for our Innovation Challenge Finalists to exhibit during our Business Show on Friday 9th September 2022. Finally thank you to all the 2022 Innovation Challenge applicants, who are all incredibly dedicated to improving the environments we all live in and who are a shaping a brighter future for us all.
FOUNDER & CEO
THE CHEEKY PANDA
Since 2006, we have been at the forefront of driving the supplier diversity movement in the UK. Align with organisations dedicated to supplier diversity and become a part of the MSDUK community. As a member, you will connect with a network of corporate leaders who, are committed to empowering ethnic minority businesses. The companies below represent just a glimpse of our extensive corporate network.
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