Ross Murphy with ‘BuildSmart’ wins IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition 2016

20 April 2016

Ross Murphy with ‘BuildSmart’ wins IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition 2016

Ross Murphy with ‘BuildSmart’ wins Henley Business School and Pitmans IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition 2016

The Third Henley Business School and Pitmans IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition was won by Ross Murphy, a Business & Management undergraduate at Henley Business School with BuildSmart. 
The final which was held on 20th April 2016 saw the five finalists presenting to a judging panel that consisted of Pitmans’ managing partner John Hutchinson, Peter Doyle, Founder & CEO of Social Retail Limited, Tim Brownstone, CEO of KYMIRA, Norbert Morawetz, Lecturer at HCfE, Yasmina Siadatan, Entrepreneur and winner of The Apprentice in 2009, and Jurek Sikorski, Business Development Lead & Executive in Residence at HCfE.

Ross Murphy (right) with John Hutchinson, Managing Partner (centre) with Ese Omoarukhe (left) the first IDEAFEST winner

The competition which was held in front of a packed lecture theatre was won by Ross with his idea of Build Smart – an online platform for construction businesses to sell and bid on unwanted building materials. Being second hand, the material can be purchased at a cheaper rate, and it also reduces the amount that goes to waste.
The judges were particularly impressed by Ross and his bold vision to address a significant problem of unwanted building material going to waste when it can be traded and used elsewhere. Already there is keen interest in Ross’s idea among building construction firmsRoss will now receive mentoring from Pitmans and from the HCfE which will help him to bring BuildSmart to market.

Ross, who collects £1000 in prize money, said of his win: “I still can’t believe I managed to win, it still hasn't quite sunk in yet. It was a journey that started in October creating the idea for my Student Enterprise module, I never could have envisaged BuildSmart being as developed as it is today! This is the first entrepreneurial experience I’ve had and am learning so much all the time, I’m loving developing this business idea and am really passionate about it. I’m looking forward to seeing what will come of BuildSmart following IDEAFEST.”Second prize went to Lili Zhao, Full Time MBA at Henley and her partner Jonathon Bell with the Big Shake Co. Their business idea is a drink that acts as a healthy meal replacement, packed with all of the nutrition needed in a balanced meal. It offers people a quick but cheap solution.

Lili and Jonathan said of their second place: “Really enjoyed IDEAFEST. I recommend more fellow students participate in this event. It's a supportive environment to share your business idea. Preparing for the questions will definitely help you form a better idea of your business. Make sure you book Mr. Jurek's business clinic!

In third place was Jimmy Poh, Dingyao Wong and Emeline Xin undergraduates in Finance and Management and Business and Management with Kydra. Their idea was that of athletes’ inspired men and women sportswear that can be worn for both casual occasions and sports pursuits. 

On announcing the winner, John Hutchinson said: “The quality of the presentations was fantastic and I was blown away by the commitment and thought behind the ideas. I thought Build Smart was an extremely innovative idea and shows a clear route to commercialisation. Not only that, it also provides a great benefit for the environment by decreasing the amount of waste.

Prof Andrew Godley, Director of HCfE delivered the closing remarks and paid tribute to entrants and the quality of entries saying “The ideas are inspiring and standards of presentation becoming ever more professional”

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For more information please contact Jurek Sikorski by email at jurek.sikorski@henley.ac.uk or by phone on +44 (0)118 378 8188.