MSDUK Innovation Challenge Award Past Winners: Where Are They Now?

05 Apr 2022

Last year, the MSDUK 2021 Innovation Challenge celebrated the best and brightest Ethnic Minority-Owned start-ups and entrepreneurs. Supporting the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), last year’s participants were encouraged to “improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests” (United Nations Department of Global Communications, 2015). 

The challenge provides opportunities for innovative, creative, and inspiring minority businesses to enter the marketplace. We hope to see even more Ethnic Minority-Owned start-ups and entrepreneurs in this year's challenge!

In this short blog, we will take a look at the past winners of the Innovation Challenge and see how the experience has impacted their entrepreneurial journey.


Social innovation and overall winner of the innovation challenge – Wai Foong Ng, (Matchable)

Who are Matchable: Matchable is a B2B platform matching companies and their teams to innovative volunteering projects at non-profits and impact start-ups.

Achievements Since the Innovation Challenge:

Following their huge win in the MSDUK Innovation Challenge in 2021, Matchable continued to accomplish remarkable success! 

  • In January, they were named as one of the B-Corp top 17 companies who deliver purpose beyond profit.
  • They delivered over £1.1 million worth of value to 223 social enterprises, charities and impact start-ups, through over 400 matches.
  • They were named in the Top 5% the Top 100 companies to escape to by Escape the City.
  • they are in the top 10 Flexa most flexible companies.

Winning the Innovation Challenge has been a great catalyst for Matchable’s journey. Check out what their CEO has to say about the programme:

"We are really grateful for all the support from MSDUK and excited by all the opportunities that this win (and all the amazing prizes!) will help springboard for us, particularly in terms of growth opportunities, not just from a networking perspective but also from a personal and professional development perspective through the Accenture mentoring programme. We're so pleased we took part and that organisations like MSDUK exist to showcase start-ups like ours!"

If you’re interested in finding out more about how your employees can upskill through Matchable’s social impact projects, Be sure to check out the website.


Advanced Digital Solutions Winner – Dhruv Ghulati, Factmata.

Who are Factmata: Factmata is an advanced media monitoring and social media listening product that uses AI to identify and track narratives online, highlighting the ones most likely to cause harm or misinform.

Their goal is to reduce online misinformation and abusive content on the internet, using unique algorithms to classify content in subtle ways.

Achievements Since the Innovation Challenge.

After winning the innovation challenge ( Digital Solutions sector) Factmata continued to accomplish a series of wins across the globe:

  • Factmata has been rated a "Top Deal" By Leading Start-up Data & Analytics Platform Kings Crowd.
  • They raised over $200,000 in crowdfunding, just two weeks after the launch of their campaign on We funder and currently standing at $401,718. 
  • In October 2021, factmata were awarded Gold at the 2021 Globe Communications Excellence Awards for Artificial Intelligence Start-up of the Year.
  • They were also awarded the £60,000 Kaust Challenge Grand Prize for Shaping the Future of Media, sponsored by Google, Microsoft, and Facebook.

If you want to understand what's really being said online, about your brand or a topic you care about, Make sure you give them a try.


Healthcare and Wellbeing Winner - Chen Mao, latchaid

Who are Latchaid: LatchAid is a pioneering app using interactive 3D animations to help women learn how to breastfeed. The app includes virtual breastfeeding support groups to provide users with personalised expertise about infant nutrition, baby feeding positions, lactation, and more, 24/7, anywhere in the world.

Achievements Since the Innovation Challenge:

  • Latchaid was shortlisted for the Health Tech Award for the Tech South West Awards 2021.
  • In October 2021, infant feeding specialists, midwives, and health visitors prescribed the premium version of the LatchAid app for free to all new mums who are iOS users in select NHS regions.
  • Since launching on the Apple AppStore in the spring, LatchAid has reached a peak of number 33 on the site’s medical category chart, which hosts more than 300,000 health apps.

If you would like to discover your way to successfully breastfeed be sure to visit their website. Make sure to check out what LatchAid users and fans have to say about their app


Smart Buildings, Energy, and Net Zero Carbon – Xiaobin Zhao, Cambond

Who are Cambond: Cambond offer a sustainable solution to one of the biggest environmental problems of our time. They are a biomaterials company that has patented plant-based resin technology for making biocomposites from resin, biomass, plastics and minerals. The technology can be used with post-consumer wastes obtained directly from stores, offering a better option than bioplastics that rely on expensive food-grade inputs

Achievements since the innovation challenge:

  • Cambond were shortlisted as one of the first particpants of the  MSDUK Accelerator 2021 as the MSDUK Innovation Challenge Winner in Smart Building Energy and Net Zero Category to receive a 3-month cost and equity-free acceleration programme aimed to support ethnic minority owned businesses in the UK. They successfully presented their pilot study to MSDUK’s corporate sponsors Unilever, Dow, WPP and Google!
  • Additionally, with the support of Innovate UK EDGE,  Cambond were able to raise £1.5 million in finance for their sustainable innovation.
  • Finally, Cambond were announced the winners of IFM sustainable packaging challenge at the Open Innovation (OI) Forum’s annual Food, Drink, and FMCG pitching competition.

Cambond is now actively seeking the opportunity to work with partners to develop a circular bio-economy and drive the ‘upcycling’ of low- and no value waste into valuable bioplastic logistics products.

If you are interested in finding out more about Cambond’s exciting future be sure to visit their website!


Could you be the next Innovation Challenge winner?

Are you an ethnic minority-owned business that can help a corporate be more sustainable?

This is your opportunity to showcase your business solution to MSDUKs corporate network who are actively looking for new diverse suppliers to work with. 

Apply to the Innovation Challenge to present your business solutions and win up to £20,000 cash prize and corporate mentoring.

Application close 31st of May don’t miss out!