1-day innovation problem-solving workshops for South London SMEs

What are the UO Hackathons?

Following the success of the BIG Unlocking Opportunities Accelerator programme, BIG UO Hackathons are free, 1-day collaborative workshops, helping businesses unlock innovations for revenue growth, market expansion, product development and customer engagement. The workshops are a hands-on and practical environment where SMEs can develop real, impact-making propositions to implement for growth.

They’re open to all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and not-for-profit organisations in South London and will be delivered by the innovation consultancy, Studio Zao.

Having worked with leading organisations, such as Sony Music, Pfizer, the NHS and TfL, Studio Zao brings its innovation expertise to Unlocking Opportunities to support SMEs in South London.


The workshop will give businesses/entrepreneurs the time and space to step back and work on their businesses while collaborating with like-minded organisations in the local area. Studio Zao will take them through tried and tested exercises to define a new product, service or growth opportunity, as well as provide a structured and repeatable framework for innovation.

The workshops will run from October to December 2023 and will provide SMEs with:

  • Growth consulting services worth thousands of pounds, for free
  • In-person, practical and expert-facilitated innovation workshops
  • The opportunity for 1-to-1 coaching sessions with experienced business professionals and domain experts from across industries and corporations
  • Access to a community to build relationships with other businesses, expert mentors, academia, and the local councils

Who is it for?

Any businesses who:

  • Operate in any sector or industry (including not-for-profit, charities or CICs)
  • Have an annual revenue of less than £50m
  • Are registered in Croydon, Sutton, Merton, Kingston, or Richmond


When is it?

A series of 9 Workshops will run from August to December, and businesses can participate in one of the following dates:

  • September 27th (online)
  • October 11th
  • October 12th (online)
  • November 7th
  • November 8th (online)
  • November 20th
  • November 29th
  • December 5th
  • December 6th
  • December 10 (online)

More about the programme

The day will be split into four phases, guiding participating teams through a tried-and-tested approach of innovation problem solving, creating solutions, understanding customer needs, and developing a plan to execute the initiative.

Register for your session

“Most interactive accelerator I’ve been on to date, the in-person workshops really helped me flesh out my ideas. The visual element is a keen learning style for me, which I found extremely useful when validating and making sense of my ideas.”

Previous participant

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