CryptoBusy wins IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition 2021
The IDEAFEST final was held online by Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship on 28 April with the aim of finding the student across Henley Business School and the University of Reading with the best idea for a business.
Over 30 audience members were in attendance, eager to hear the presentations of the six student teams pitching their business idea to a panel of judges that comprised of academics, business leaders and former IDEAFEST winners.
The judges were impressed by how rapidly CryptoBusy, founded by BA Entrepreneurship and Management student Josh Moden, was scaling. It is already earning significant income and has a YouTube channel with more than 150,000 subscribers, and as such the judges were unanimous in awarding Josh the Best Business Idea category. The prize was £1,000, plus mentoring to launch his business to new heights and the University of Reading’s nomination for the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards Programme, with the chance to win £50,000.
Upon receiving the award, Josh said: "I entered IDEAFEST as I felt it was a way to show what I had accomplished through my entrepreneurial business ventures, as well as giving me a chance to test out my presentation skills in front of an expert audience. I found the whole experience to be very well executed and a great help in terms of planning and carrying out a great presentation. I will be going full time with CryptoBusy next month and the next steps will be further expansion to become a market leader. It was great to be a part of the process and I would definitely recommend anyone who is thinking of entering the competition to do so."
Second place was awarded to MSc Real Estate student Charlotte Beswick and her idea Mochi Pops, an ice-cream business that specialises in vegan gelato. A prize of £500 plus mentoring was awarded to Charlotte.
Charlotte commented: "The IDEAFEST competition has really helped my confidence and belief in both myself and my idea – I'm really excited about the future."
Third place and a prize of £250 plus mentoring was jointly awarded to BA Entrepreneurship student Kevin Hayes and MSc Management student Daniel Rickards for their business ideas ProppedUp and Alva Power respectively. ProppedUp is a real estate start-up that allows customers to invest in shares of buy-to-let student properties, whilst Alva Power works to re-purpose expired electric vehicle batteries into a green energy power supply for multiple uses, including powering digital advertising billboards.
When presented with his award, Kevin said: "I'd like to thank the organisers, judges and other contestants for making the experience so memorable. I am thankful for the opportunity to develop my pitch and for the very valuable feedback I received."
Daniel added: "I entered the competition to see what I was capable of. Having IDEAFEST as goal for curating my business idea really helped me refine it and devise a commercialisation strategy. It's been a great experience in entering and pitching and I have learnt many valuable skills that I can take forward into the business world."
Alva Power was also selected as the winner of two additional categories: the Most Innovative Business Idea prize of £1,000, awarded by sponsor Stefano Ciampolini, and the Best Business Idea for China bursary of £3,000, awarded by Andrew Gaule on behalf of sponsor Savio Kwan.
Presenting the Most Innovative Business Idea award, Stefano said: "It is my privilege and my pleasure to be back for the fifth year to present this prize. The Most Innovative Business Idea is a special award."
Andrew summarised his thoughts on why Alva Power was chosen as the winner of the Best Business Idea for China category: "This year's finalists had a great variety of ventures led by passionate entrepreneurs, but Alva Power was selected as they have shown they are developing an impressive proposition to use solar panels and reuse EV batteries. The prize and access to insights to sustainable energy from China can help the winners address the challenge of achieving a net zero carbon future."
The other finalists were BA International Management and Business Administration student Nadia Onyeje, who entered with personal styling app Wardrobe, and BA Business and Management student Kam Sharahi, whose business Cheers Beers is a company that works with micro-breweries to deliver craft beer and offer virtual and in-person tasting sessions.
To recognise their efforts in reaching the IDEAFEST Final 2021, all six finalists were awarded a place on the Henley Summer Start-Up Boot Camp 2021, where they will get the chance to learn hands-on about the skills an entrepreneur needs to build a business from the ground up.
John Cavill, a Visiting Fellow of Henley Business School and part of the judging panel, spoke highly of the quality of the presenting student teams: "I must say I was impressed by the quality of finalists this year. I have been a member of the IDEAFEST judging panel since the event was first launched and it's pleasing to see the quality of entrant has steadily improved over time. It's clear that the quality of entrepreneurship taught programmes, mentorship and events provided by Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship are having a positive impact on the career opportunities of University of Reading students studying many different disciplines."
Closing the event, HCfE's Executive Director Jurek Sikorski warmly congratulated the winners, runners up and finalists: "Participating in IDEAFEST is a fantastic experience for students with a serious intention to create and develop a business idea. It demonstrates what is important in business and that is finding new and better ways of doing things, a characteristic of an entrepreneurial mindset and at the heart of innovation."
Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship would like to extend a special thanks to the judges:
- Stefano Ciampolini, Managing Partner of Healthcare Capital Partners
- Andrew Gaule, CEO of Aimava and Visiting Fellow of Henley Business School
- Tim Brownstone, CEO of KYMIRA and Visiting Fellow of Henley Business School
- John Cavill, Visiting Fellow of Henley Business School
- Philip Huthwaite, CEO of Blackcurve
- Dr Norbert Morawetz, Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship at Henley Business School and co-founder of Potential.ly
- Lucas Cimino, IDEAFEST Winner 2020
- Jurek Sikorski, Executive Director of Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship
Thanks also go out to Dr Matteo Borghi for co-ordinating the judges and compiling their scores.
For further information about the IDEAFEST Competition, please contact:
Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship
Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship is part of Henley Business School at the University of Reading. It provides a hub for teaching and research in the subject, inspiring students from across the University to embrace, develop and apply their entrepreneurial abilities.
T: 0118 378 8188