Frequently Asked Questions

View all our frequently asked questions about The Innovation Challenge right here.


  • Apply via the MSDUK Innovation Challenge website.
  • Complete the application form.
  • Develop Pitch Deck and upload (pdf/url) for submission.
  • Read this Guide for Applicants for what to include in your Application
  • Read the Terms & Conditions, which you and your organisation will need to sign should you be invited to join the Innovation Challenge Finalists pitch day.

You can be the inventor of your innovation, the lead for it within your organisation or simply the representative of an innovation you find compelling, and as such, wish to scale it. You should apply if:

  • The majority ownership/stake for the innovation within your organisation is held by a person ofethnic minority status in UK.
  • You are aged 18 years or above
  • You are a Permanent UK Resident/Citizen or on a Tier-1 Visa
  • Your innovation addresses one or more of the following themes: disruptive businesses, sustainable futures, tech for good, wildcard –out-of-the-box thinking!

The categories for the contest is innovation in: Disruptive Businesses, Sustainable Futures, Tech For Good and Wildcard.

Prizes include scholarships to the prestigious Tuck Business School, a one-week residential Executive Leadership Programme worth $10,000 and more.

The premise behind the MSDUK Innovation Challenge is that if we can wrap support around great individuals from ethnic minority business (EMB) communities with compelling innovations, the innovations will be taken up at pace across the sectors by our corporate members looking for supply chain diversity.

As such, the support and development provided through MSDUK will be tailored to your needs and aspirations, and your innovation.

Applications close on 15th May 2018, 5pm (GMT). Upon receiving the entries, in May 2018, an initial panel will collate the list of entries and evaluate the same based on pre-defined evaluation criteria to determine the final scores to all the qualified entries. Based on the scores that the entries would receive from initial screening, the 10 highest scored applications will proceed to the final. The finalist for the challenge will be announced on the 28th June 2018. The Finalists will be invited to attend a pitch training workshop in London facilitated by a highly sought after coach David McQueen.

What are the criteria on of which my idea will be evaluated?

Each submission will be evaluated on the basis of 5 criteria – Quality of Innovation, relevance, Marketing strategy, Business Plan & overall Quality of submission.

  • Quality of Innovation: Judges will be looking at the overall quality of innovation in the product/technology/service presented in the application- is it unique? Is it disruptive? Is it groundbreaking?
  • Relevance: How relevant is the innovation? What will be its socio-economic and commercial impact?
  • Marketing Strategy: Does the applicant have a feasible go-to-market plan to bring the innovation to the market?
  • Business Plan: Quality of business plan with clarity on product cost, market value, sales projection
  • Overall Quality of Submission: Has the applicant submitted supporting material including product brochure/videos/ test reports/marketing & business plan and overall quality of response to the questions

What is the eligibility criteria for participating in the contest?

You can access our challenge terms and conditions here (insert link For T&Cs).

The MSDUK Innovation Challenge applications will open on the 21st March and close on the  26th May 2018. The competition will take place on the 26th of September 2018 at The Vox Conference Centre, Birmingham, UK.

Yes, the competition is open to all ethnic minority owned businesses in the UK.

No, you do not need to disclose any confidential information about your business. As this is a pitching competition we do advise against it. When you apply for the challenge you only need to share information about your product or business that you consider to be in the public domain.

Support is delivered (predominantly) through the following mechanisms:

  • Access to mentorship from a range of experts and high profile mentors, representing a broad skills base
  • Regular meetings with the MSDUK core team based in the Midlands& London.
  • Peer-to-peer support from MSDUK members – corporates & SMEs enabled through an:
    1. Online forum
    2. Regular newsletters
    3. Quarterly “Meet the Buyer” events that brings corporate buyers, start-ups & enterprises together to share learnings, access specialist support, and collectively problem solve.
    4. Workshops, webinars and networking meetings with key stakeholders, e.g. corporate procurement executives, entrepreneurs, industry experts.
    5. Ad-hoc events and briefings on topics of interest; previous sessions have included; selling to a large organisation, CPO roundtables, business development workshops, specialist-leads, mentoring and coaching. ,.
  • Access to funding, scholarships & sales meetings with corporate buyers, that can be used to support the scaling of your innovation and for travel and subsistence for your participation at MSDUK events.
  • Insight​ into the changing context of corporate supply chains & procurement activity.
  • Introductions and showcasing opportunities​ to relevant business leaders etc.
  • Navigation​ of the innovation and research infrastructure both within and outside the MSDUK
  • Critical challenge and support​ to refine plans through access to expert advice
  • Branding & Certification:​ Association with the MSDUK brand, certification and its partners
  • Influencing diversity in Entrepreneurship:​ Opportunities to share experiences with senior leaders at Global Conferences to explore how to unlock systemic barriers to inclusion & diversity. One mechanism for this is via the MSDUK Innovation & Knowledge Hub.

Please contact the Innovation Challenge team at info@msduk.org.uk