Vision of the future as eye screening tool wins national innovation challenge award

A business that “wants to make avoidable blindness a thing of the past for everyone, everywhere” has been heralded as a star of the future after winning at the annual MSDUK Innovation Challenge Awards. The awards are the culmination of the biggest event of its kind, showcasing the best of ethnic minority businesses and championing diversity in the supply chain.

VUI Diagnostics was announced as the winner after the 12 finalists spent the afternoon presenting their innovations to potential investors, buyers, and industry experts via an intensive, live online pitch (9th December) at the MSDUK Virtual Business Expo.

Four category winners and the overall winner were chosen by a panel of judges who scored the finalists on criteria including relevance, quality of innovation and marketing strategy. Over 100 award submissions were made from across the UK, including Manchester, London, Edinburgh, Bristol, and Cardiff and 43% are female founders. This year’s finalists also come from a wide spread of ethnic backgrounds including Bangladeshi, Indian, Caribbean, African, Chinese, and Arab.

Sponsored by Cummins, GSK, Accenture, EY, Digital Catapult and Eaton, this year’s theme was ‘Better Ideas for a Better World’ and entrants had the opportunity of entering any of four categories; Advanced Digital Technology, Healthcare & Wellbeing, Social Innovation, and Sustainable Futures.

VUI Diagnostics won the overall award and their category, receiving a £5,000 cash prize plus introductions to MSDUK’s global investor network and workshops. The other category winners were; Brarista (Advanced Digital Technologies category), SolarisKit (Social Innovation category) and Pip & Henry (Sustainable Futures category).

By allowing earlier and easier detection of eye diseases in primary care, VUI Diagnostics’ “ViewEye” aims to enhance opportunistic community retinal screening to promote timely patient accessibility to specialist eye care services.
Through a novel digital hardware and software symbiosis, their plug-and-play device can acquire a single, ten times larger field-of-view retinal image than the manual ophthalmoscope, at five times the speed.

CTO of VUI Diagnostics, Dr Uddhav Vaghela comments;
“1.3 billion people suffer from avoidable blindness worldwide. At VUI we have a plug-and-play imaging device and software to help doctors detect eye disease early. Winning a major award such as this is obviously a very proud moment for us as a team and a business. More importantly perhaps is the chance to spread the message about our goal of tackling this challenge with simple, affordable retinal imaging for anyone, anywhere. We thank MSDUK for the award and this wonderful opportunity.”

Headline sponsor and Challenge judge James Johnson, from Cummins, commented on this year’s finalist line up; “The innovations this year, especially from VUI Diagnostics were fantastic, and having been involved in the Innovation Challenge from the beginning I can see the growth in reach and quality each time. At Cummins we are proud to be the headline sponsor for the fourth year and long may it continue”.

MSDUK Founder and CEO, Mayank Shah, added, “MSDUK’s aim is to bring together innovative and high growth Ethnic Minority-owned businesses with global corporations who are committed to creating an inclusive and diverse supply chain. The Innovation Challenge is just one way we do this.

“The fact that we have 12 very diverse finalists is testament to the greater outreach of this year’s Challenge, as well as to the quality of the pitches and the incredible ideas that sit behind those pitches. It was a very tough day for our judges and again demonstrates the wealth of innovative ideas we have here in the UK within the Ethnic Minority-owned business community.”

The national finalists for the 2020 MSDUK Innovation Challenge were: 

  • Advatech Healthcare Europe
  • Pip and Henry – Category winner
  • SolarisKit – Category winner
  • VUI Diagnostics – Overall winner
  • Photogram LTD
  • Brarista – Category winner
  • TheConfidenceVault (Trading as The Confidence Bank)
  • SiMologics
  • eWorker Remote Limited (trading as eWorker)
  • Roomagree Limited (Trading as DadShed)

Challenge prizes include;

  • £5,000 cash prize for the Innovation Challenge winner plus introductions to MSDUK’s investor network and workshops
  • £40,000 worth of business school scholarships at Ivy League Tuck School of Business for the top four finalists
  • £100,000 worth of corporate mentoring delivered via a 12 – 18 month corporate mentoring programme with Accenture and Digital Catapult
  • £200k worth of grant-funded programmes from MSDUK partners

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Editors Notes:
MSDUK brings together innovative and high-growth ethnic minority businesses (EMBs) with global corporations committed to creating an inclusive and diverse supply chain.

MSDUK’s integrated ecosystem of innovation, knowledge and procurement hubs help EMBs bring innovative ideas to market, develop business leaders of the future and achieve sustained growth through access to corporate supply chains.
MSDUK’s 2020 ambition includes:

  •  Bringing 300 new ideas to market
  •  £250m+ of investment into new ideas
  •  Creating a network of 700 EMBs
  •  Creating a diverse partner network
  •  Extending our global network
  •  Creating a digital community of 5,000+ stakeholders
  •  Seeing 100+ entrepreneurs in leadership programmes
  •  Celebrating £250m+ worth of business won

Charter Members include Accenture, AgileOne, Barclays, Bristol-Myers Squibb, CBRE, Cummins, Dow, Enterprise, EY, Gibbs Hybrid, GSK, IBM, Intel, Loreal, MSD, Pladis and Unilever.

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