What makes a winning business?

When it comes to awards and entering them, a question we regularly get asked is – what makes a winning business, what do the judges look for?

MSDUK’s Innovation Challenge competition is challenging, with nearly 100 entries across four categories received overall. So, what do the prestigious panel of judges look for?

Mayank Shah, CEO and founder at MSDUK, says, “We have a high volume of entries, which is brilliant and shows the entrepreneurial spirit that the UK is known for worldwide.  I loved the judging process because of the exceptionally high standard and the innovation of the entries this year.

To reach the finals, entries were not only a robust application but also the entrepreneurs showed an absolute determination to change the world through innovation, the judges and I had a tough job this year.” 

From LatchAid, a device created to help mothers with breastfeeding, to Factmata, which easily helps companies identify harmful content such as racism and sexism earlier than a human can, both much-needed products across the globe.  Then looking at another area needing urgent action, The Environment, first we have Unitrove, whose mission is to create a virtuous world powered entirely by clean, reliable, and affordable energy. We also have CAMBOND® who have invented a low carbon, plant-based bio adhesive to replace oil-based formaldehyde resin in the wood panel industry.  The entries really were mind-blowing this year.

Karolina Jagodzinska, Interim Innovation Challenge Manager added “We are also pleased to report that 16 semi-finalists have raised an investment of over £15M. It is fantastic to see that 12 finalists are made up of multiple award winners from Forbes 30 under 30, Web Summit Finalists to Top 100 Asian Stars in UK tech.  They are the UK’s finest.”

MSDUK would like to thank the headline sponsor Accenture and category sponsors Cummins, Digital Catapult, EY and GSK for supporting this year’s competition. The growth and popularity of the MSDUK Innovation Challenge would not have been possible without your continuous support.

In this year’s Innovation Challenge, ‘Better Ideas for a Better World’ (aligned to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ethnic minority owned start-ups and entrepreneurs competed for prizes worth over £150K.  The Innovation Challenge aims to spotlight the best innovators across various sectors and technologies, including AI & Machine Learning, Sustainable Cities and Consumer Health.  If you would like to know more, please get in touch with us at Karolina@MSDUK.org.uk

A summary of our finalists is below, but you can also find out more about their innovations by clicking the link below.



Introducing our Innovation Challenge 2021 Finalists 

Advanced Digital Solutions 

·         10BE5 – John Kwan, Co-founder 10BE5 builds tech products that reduce to a few clicks the costly and lengthy manual drafting and review processes in capital markets transactions and periodic reporting. ·         BreatheHappy – Shiti Rastogi, CEOBreathe Happy uses Computer Vision and Machine Learning to quantify human movement for personalized at-home fitness and longevity solutions.·         Factmata – Dhruv Ghulati, Founder, Chairman & President Factmata helps companies identify harmful content such as racism and sexism earlier than a human can, enabling faster, smarter responses before toxic narratives become mainstream.

Healthcare & Wellbeing 

·         Fertifa – Tony Chen, Founder & CEOFertifa is the UK’s leading fertility and reproductive healthcare benefits provider for employers, offering solutions designed to improve employee wellbeing and inclusivity whilst breaking the fertility taboo.·         LatchAid – Dr Chen Mao, Founder & CEOLatchAid is an award-winning Femtech start-up using cutting-edge 3D technology & Artificial Intelligence to help mothers learn breastfeeding skills intuitively and access credible, personalised motherhood support 24/7.·         TechSixtyFOur – Colleen Wong, Founder & CEO Techsixtyfour specialises in communications wearables for the children and older market. 

Smart Buildings, Energy & Net Zero Carbon

·         Amphibio – Jun Kamei, CEO & Founder Amphibio is developing Amphitex™, a sustainable, 100% recyclable and PFC-free alternative to traditional Waterproof Breathable Textile.·         Cambond – Xiaobin Zhao, Founder & CEOCAMBOND® has invented a low carbon, plant based bioadhesive to replace oil-based formaldehyde resin in wood panel industry.·         Unitrove – Steven Lua, CEOUnitrove provides nano-scale, transportable, self-contained zero-emission fuelling infrastructure as-a-service that can be rapidly-deployed or relocated within minutes. The company is currently working to build the world’s first liquid hydrogen bunkering facility.

Social Innovation 

·         Matchable- Foong Wai Ng, Founder Matchable is a B2B platform matching companies and their employees with innovative skilled volunteering projects at non-profits (charities & social enterprises) and impact start-ups.·         Tuck. – Neel Thakrar and Dhruv Ranpura, Co-Founder & CEO tuck. is a mobile app that allows people to find local businesses in their area and earn cashback when they shop with them.·         Znotes – Zubair Junjunia, Founder ZNotes is a community-led online learning platform allowing students to maximise their potential by having free access to high-quality educational resources; revision notes, live videos, podcasts, and a peer-to-peer learning space – all built for students, by students.