MSDUK Innovation Challenge


MSDUK’s Innovation Challenge champions non-white ethnic minority entrepreneurs from the UK to showcase their innovative products and services. The winner will walk away with a £20,000 cash prize.

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Are you a non-white ethnic minority business determined to showcase and promote your unique and revolutionary product or service to global corporations? Apply for this year’s competition to pitch for a £20,000 cash prize and other incredible prizes. 

MSDUK’s Innovation Challenge is now in its 7th year and applications for 2023 open in February. Throughout the years, this unique opportunity has championed non-white ethnic minority entrepreneurs from across the UK. We continue to break down barriers for minority businesses and support them with their growth and development, with our Innovation Challenge just one of several opportunities on offer from MSDUK. This year’s competition is split into 4 categories: 

  • Digital Transformations: solutions that make processes more efficient and meet changing business and market requirements, including automation, data and analytics, reducing production costs, remote working, SaaS (Software as a Service). 

  • Social Impact: addressing social issues and challenges that will benefit and improve society, for example products and services within healthcare, education, skills development, diversity programmes, HR, recruitment. 

  • Sustainable Development: focusing on improving the environment/s we live in, for example generating less waste, upcycling and recycling of plastics, addressing climate change, using natural resources sustainably, working with communities to improve habitats and surroundings etc. 

  • Innovation Pioneers: open to any founder and entrepreneur who believe that they are challenging the status quo with their highly unique innovations – ethnic minority businesses who are trying to transform the sector/s they operate in, challenging traditional out-of-date methods & processes. 


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Programme Benefits
  • The overall winner will receive £20,000 cash prize 
  • Digital Out-of-Home advertising campaign, partnering with JCDecaux 

  • Corporate mentoring from Accenture 

  • 3x category winners will receive £2500 cash prize 

  • All finalists will receive 1-year free membership to MSDUK 


06 February 2023

Launch of Innovation Challenge 2023

02 May 2023

Submission deadline for applications

05 June 2023

Finalists announced

14 September 2023

Innovation Challenge Finals

Eligibility Criteria

All applicants must belong to one of the categories below: 

  1. Non-white Ethnic Minority Business: one founder of an ethnic minority origin holding a majority (51% or more) ownership 

  1. Non-white Ethnic Minority-Controlled Business: a business founded with the ethnic minority founder with majority equity stake, and currently with this founder holding 25% (or more) ownership 

  1. Non-white Ethnic Minority Freelancer: a self-employed freelancer of non-white ethnic minority origin 

  • Permanent UK Resident or Citizen – you must be a UK resident (UK citizen, Indefinite Leave to Remain, Start-Up Visa, Innovator Visa) 

  • Registered company on Companies House 

Participant Testimonials

"The MSDUK networking at the Innovation Challenge was beneficial as we could engage with many heads of departments at GSK and other supporters. It was great to meet so many minority founders. MSDUK has supported our vision to take Aergo Health to the next level. As a result, we now have more networking partners and people who share our vision and values, like our suppliers and customers."

Sheana Yu, Aergo Health MSDUK Innovation Challenge Winner 2022

"The Innovation Challenge 2022 had the theme of Corporate Sustainability. This fits our mission to reduce corporation and manufacturing waste to work towards joint societal and environmental goals rather than at odds with them. We were pleased to win the MSDUK Innovation Challenge environmental category, which in addition to receiving a prestigious award, also saw us walk away with a financial prize."

Daniel Byrd, Agave Networks, MSDUK Innovation Challenge Category Winner 2022