Sunday, 16 January 2022

Birmingham wins race to host to UK’s largest supplier diversity conference

BIRMINGHAM is set to enhance its credentials as a centre of diversity in business as it prepares to host the MSDUK Conference and Awards next month (September).

Birmingham has this year been chosen ahead of London to play host to the UK’s largest supplier diversity conference, with VOX Conference Centre set welcome a worldwide audience from 25-26 September.

The two-day MSDUK Conference and Awards, which has been running for six years, is a must-attend event for Ethnic Minority Businesses looking to drive inclusive procurement and connect with diverse like-minded businessmen and women.

This year’s stellar line-up of speakers includes news presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Ava Vidal, stand-up comedian, Dinesh Dhamija, founder of Ebookers and Kai Nowosel, CPO of Accenture. They will be joined by over 600 delegates, 200 entrepreneurs, 100 buyers, 60 exhibitors, 40 global brands and 50 supplier diversity leaders.

Mayank Shah, CEO of MSDUK says: “Innovation through diversity is set to power the UK economy over the next decade – this is the mantra behind this year’s Conference and Awards. It’s great to bring the event outside of London this year, and Birmingham is the perfect place for us. For over 10 years, MSDUK have been dedicated to improving diversity in entrepreneurship and driving inclusive procurement. We believe that supplier diversity is an economic and moral imperative. Innovation comes from a diversity of perspectives, so when we limit who can contribute, we in turn limit what problems we can solve.

“We look forward to welcoming both established and new entrepreneurs to the MSD Conference and Awards this year as we strive for greater diversity in supply chains.”

A highlight of the two-day event is the eagerly-awaited awaited finale of the MSDUK 2018 Innovation Challenge, with 12 of the most innovative entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to investors and supply chain experts.


This year’s finalists are: 

  • Polipop (formerly Withlula), makes the first safely-flushable and biodegradable sanitary products
  • ThingTtrax, which specialises in Internet of Things manufacturing machines and brings disconnected machines online
  • RAB-Microfluidics, the company which downscales whole laboratory protocols onto a glass microchip
  • Hello Daisy Life, which provides set top boxes and networks for the elderly
  • The Cheeky Panda, which connects carbon neutral, ultra-sensitive healthy bamboo tissue products
  • Medixus, a company which connects healthcare workers across Africa
  • Twipes, which manufactures the world’s only truly flushable wipes
  • Zingr, which provides financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked in developing countries;
  • Audiowings, the specialist in smart headphones for workouts
  • Envirup, a company which provides insulated sidings systems for difficult-to-insulate homes
  • VR:Calm offering virtual reality app for dementia sufferers
  • Mother Nature’s making refreshing drinks that are inspired by flavours from a diverse range of cultures

The winner of the Innovation Challenge will be crowned at a glittering ceremony night on 26 September which will celebrate supply chain diversity and best of ethnic minority businesses combined with food and entertainment from across the world. This year’s prizes include scholarships worth $10,000 to the prestigious Ivy League Tuck School of Business in the USA, funding opportunities, a place on Accenture’s Development programme and mentoring pitch workshops with international motivational speaker David McQueen.

The winner will be crowned as part of a wider awards ceremony which will honour the efforts of both large corporations and hugely-talented ethnic minority-owned businesses in making supply chains inclusive and competitive.

Other must-attend events at the MSDUK Conference and Awards 2018 include; a full-day business exhibition with Meet the Buyer and silent workshops; a Knowledge Forum to help procurement professionals share best practice; and an International Day which will welcome overseas delegates with a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon to experience the life of William Shakespeare.

To register and find out more about the huge range of events at MSDUK Conference and Awards 2018, please visit

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