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Gloucestershire Business News

National Innovation Challenge offers £150k in prizes for BAME start-ups

Innovative businesses from ethnic minority backgrounds have the chance to present their big ideas in front of global brands and investors through the Innovation Challenge.

Now in its fifth year, the challenge aims to help promote fairness and diversity to level up the corporate playing field.

In this year's Innovation Challenge Better Ideas for a Better World (aligned to UN Sustainable Development Goals), BAME start-ups and entrepreneurs will compete for prizes worth over £150k.

The Innovation Challenge aims to spotlight the best innovators across a wide range of sectors and technologies. This year's categories are:

• Advanced digital solutions

• Energy and net zero carbon

• Facilities and smart buildings

• Healthcare and wellbeing

• Social innovation

The Innovation Challenge was set up by MSDUK as part of its year-round programme of initiatives designed to fight the underrepresentation of BAME businesses in the global supply chain.

Through this challenge, MSDUK breaks down barriers to entry for young start-ups and entrepreneurs from all sectors, by providing direct access to a range of highly influential corporate sponsors. Committed to investing in a diverse supply chain, the headline sponsor is Accenture, and other sponsors include GSK, Digital Catapult, Cummins and EY.

The prizes are cash injections for the winning idea, business scholarships and mentoring, which will give the finalists the boost they need to develop their big ideas into successful businesses.

Mayank Shah, MSDUK founder, said: "We recognise that the last 18 months have been very challenging for businesses, and the Innovation Challenge is a positive step on the ladder to get back to business. We are setting the bar for this year's entrants very high because we believe that only through greater supplier diversity can our global partners find innovative solutions to the problems of tomorrow."

The deadline for entries is 30th June. The finalists chosen by the judges will take part in a live pitching final, to be held in London on 2nd September 2021.

Full details of the challenge and an entry form, can be found here.  

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