Navigating the Innovation Challenge 

Innovation Challenge is an annual pitching competition organised by MSDUK since 2017, aimed at championing non-white Ethnic Minority Businesses (EMBs) to showcase their innovative products and services to their network of global corporations and supplier diversity advocates. 

The Innovation Challenge 2024 has also expanded its reach into Europe (Netherlands, Germany, and France), as we work in partnership with the European Supplier Diversity Project (ESDP). Explore the four categories – Digital Transformations, ESG (Environmental, Social & Corporate Governance), Innovation Pioneers, and Entrepreneurs of Europe. The finalists will have the opportunity to pitch to a range of sourcing buyers, procurement leaders, public sector buyers, and numerous EMBs in one go. Let’s discover the doors the Innovation Challenge can open. 

Financial Recognition and Support 

The Innovation Challenge offers a substantial £20,000 cash prize for the overall winner, along with £2,500 for each category winner. The incentives associated with the Innovation Challenge are not just symbolic but have the potential to significantly impact the trajectory of the EMBs.  

Imagine the various ways this win could fuel growth, innovation, or strategic initiatives within a business. Overcome challenges, explore new opportunities, or invest in areas that align with the company’s business objectives. For a concrete example of how this financial boost can make a real difference, let’s turn to the story of Dupe Burgess, the founder of Bloomful and the overall winner of the Innovation Challenge 2023. By wisely leveraging the £20,000 cash prize, Dupe has hired an engineer and subsequently developed the next version of her product. Similarly, after winning  Innovation Challenge 2022, Sheana Yu accelerated Aergo Health’s growth by facilitating product testing and utilising the prize money to create 20 high-fidelity samples of their new product, Aerseats. Aerseat was a collaboration with the disability community who expressed the need for an adult wheelchair product that easily fits over their existing wheelchairs to provide both comfort and pain relief. They are currently available for purchase on their online platforms.  

Cultivate Creative Solutions 

The Innovation Challenges provides an environment for creative thinking. Participants are encouraged to think outside the box, pushing the boundaries of conventional problem-solving. The £10,000 video production package, generously provided by Impress Video Production, further empowers winners to visually communicate their innovative ideas, amplifying their impact.  

This recently added offering provides the winner with a professionally produced advertisement, highlighting the core features and functionality of their service or product. 

The high-quality video production not only enhances the presentation of the winners’ innovative offering but also serves as a dynamic marketing tool. In a digital age where visual content is paramount, this tailored video can significantly elevate a business’s online presence, capturing the attention of a wider audience and opening doors to new opportunities. This win can be a game-changer in terms of visibility for the EMBs.  

Elevate Your Business Pitch 

While presenting a business in front of the public may seem daunting, it is a crucial skill for any entrepreneur to hone. A compelling pitch to potential collaborators or partners can open doors for further business development and expansion in any phase of the business.  

“You get to meet some amazing people, it’s a great experience pitching in that capacity, and you just never know what’s going to come out of it.” 

Dupe Burgess, Overall Innovation Challenge winner, 2023.

Our finalists will benefit from a complimentary pitch training workshop led by an expert. After this workshop, they will have enhanced knowledge to deliver a confident, professional, and successful pitch. Every finalist will present their pitches during MSDUK’s annual supplier diversity Conference in London in September 2024. This platform offers an opportunity to showcase their ideas to a network comprising global corporates and advocates for supplier diversity. 

Fostering Collaboration and Networking 

Being selected as one of the 12 finalists opens doors to a world of networking possibilities. Each finalist will receive a full conference event pass, offering direct access to industry leaders, influencers, and like-minded professionals. This access extends beyond the competition, providing a chance to establish meaningful connections that can lead to long-lasting collaborations. 

Connect with key decision-makers who have the power to influence and shape the industry. Whether it’s forming strategic alliances, joint ventures, or partnerships, this competition serves as a catalyst for creating valuable connections that contribute to the overall success of the business. 

Apply for the Innovation Challenge 

The Innovation Challenge offers a valuable platform for EMB leaders to spotlight their innovative concepts and secure recognition in the industry. By joining, you can garner visibility, tap into support networks, and potentially secure prize money that could propel your business to new heights! 

So, what are you waiting for? Applications close on the 7th May 2024Apply now! 

This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and sponsored by Accenture, Cummins, EY, GSK, and IBM.  

“Without MSDUK it would probably be a lot harder in terms of business-to-business sales functions because MSDUK gave us access to get our first client, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and from there we were able to snowball.”

Julie Chen



An Introduction to MSDUK.

“The MSDUK Innovation Challenge not only helped me personally; but included Kapsule in a supportive community. In that community we found our assumptions challenged, ideas stress tested, and received invaluable advice. That’s the power of #Diversity!”

David Chen


Corporate Members

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.

T. +44 (0) 116 2532520

E. [email protected]

A. Studio 5, Phoenix Square,
     3 Burton Street, Leicester LE1 1TB UK

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