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Making ideas a reality: The Care Innovation Challenge

Excitement is growing for the Care Innovation Challenge, which is taking place in July. The National Care Forum (NCF) shares what providers can expect from the weekend and delves deeper into those all-important entry requirements.

The Care Innovation Challenge, a creative weekend of idea generation and prototype trialling, will be held on 2nd- 3rd July 2022 at Coventry University’s TechnoCentre. With cash prizes for the top spots, expert mentoring and guaranteed media coverage – this is an opportunity not to be missed.

Applications for a place at the weekend are open until 10th June. Creative thinkers, anyone who has a passion for making ideas a reality and people who want to make a positive difference to people’s lives are invited to apply at

‘We welcome anyone who wants a chance to be part of the future of care. We are delighted to have received applications from a diverse group of people, including individuals and teams from care providers, undergraduates and postgraduates from universities and people with social entrepreneurial ambitions,’ said Professor Vic Rayner, OBE – NCF’s Chief Executive. ‘With the support of Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) through their National Co-production Advisory Group (NCAG), people with lived experience will be an integral part of creating solutions to key challenges faced by the care sector.’

The Challenge, hosted by the Care Innovation Hub (CIH), was established in 2018 to create a platform for exploration and innovation in the social care sector. The CIH is now run by the National Care Forum (NCF). NCF is dedicated to developing innovation in the social care and support sector and this is a natural home to drive the CIH into the future.

Who can apply?

✓         Working professionals.

✓         Care managers and care staff.

✓         People with lived experience of care and support.

✓         University students.

✓         Entrepreneurs.

You do not need to be an expert in social care, or have any experience of social care yourself, to apply. You do not need to have any technical skills. You just need to have an intention to improve the quality of life of those receiving care in the UK.

You can apply as a team of two to three people or as an individual at

Maaha Suleiman, 2019 Runner-Up and Founder and Chief Executive of, said, ‘I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone to apply if you’re interested in care, innovation, in helping people in general, making a difference to the way care is delivered, or just networking with individuals who are doing great work.  It can change your life for the better. It did mine.’

You don’t need to have any technical skills

The Challenge is aimed at creating lots of fantastic ideas and technology is creating lots of opportunities. However, ideas do NOT have to be focused on technology.

2022 mentor Neil Eastwood, Founder and Chief Executive of, said, ‘There has never been a better time to launch a start-up focused on helping our sector. The costs of creating a prototype and scaling up are much reduced with cloud-based architecture. The pandemic has pushed us all to adopt technology and has accelerated the acceptance of technology in a traditionally paper-based social care sector.’

“I’ve just had the most amazing experience this weekend. We’ve all been inspired to believe in our ideas” Pearl Jordan, Challenge Participant 2019

What’s planned for the Challenge Weekend?

Successful applicants will be invited to attend a creative weekend of idea generation and prototype trialling on 2nd-3rd July 2022 at Coventry University’s TechnoCentre. Starting with 12 teams, the weekend will end with teams presenting their projects to a judging panel of industry experts.

Five teams with the highest-quality ideas selected to go through to the final will receive £500 funding and mentoring.

The winning team will receive £1,000 in prize money and further mentoring. On arrival, participants will be matched to form a number of small multi-disciplined teams with a range of skill sets and perspectives. Participants may have an idea that is quite well formed or they may have nothing in mind – either is great. The weekend will culminate in teams presenting their solutions to a judging panel of experts in social care.

Participants will have a chance to meet and work with leading experts from the care sector including successful entrepreneurs, investors, influencers and people with lived experience of care. Mentors will include representatives from the Challenge partners of RWK Goodman, QCS, Person Centred Software, Marrgo, Home Instead, Hilton Nursing Partners, Hallmark Foundation, Greensleeves Care, Care Management Matters, Care Friends, BRAN Investment, Borough Care and apetito.

Five teams will be selected to go to the Challenge Final at the 2022 Care Show on 12th-13th October 2022 at the NEC Birmingham to present their developed solution to the final judging panel.

The winning team will receive £1,000 in prize money, media coverage and further mentoring to develop their idea.

Good luck to everyone involved in this year’s challenge and CMM looks forward to meeting you all at the Challenge Weekend.

“The energy in the room was great, there was a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of excitement.  It was a great area to be in with lawyers, entrepreneurs and care workers. Everyone from different backgrounds coming together and really bringing innovation and change into the social care sector” Faizah Akeil, Challenge Finalist 2019

Helen Glasspool is Events and Partnership Lead at the National Care Forum (NCF).

Limited places – APPLY NOW Visit @NCFCareForum for updates.


About Helen Glasspool

Events and Partnership Lead Helen joined NCF in 2013 and has over 20 years’ experience of working in the non-profit, education and IT sector in event planning and management, partnership development, fundraising and marketing.

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