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Authentura wins IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition 2022

H Cf E

On 27 April 2022, Authentura, a cyber security service that offers mid-sized firms a software security audit report of their websites, servers, network and applications, was chosen as the winner of Henley Business School’s IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition 2022. Authentura was entered by Shlok Maheshwari, a BA Entrepreneurship student, with support from BSc Computer Science students Sebasteyn Morris and Samuel Boyden.

The IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition is led by Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship (HCfE) as an annual initiative, with the aim of finding the student across Henley Business School and the University of Reading with the best idea for a business. Over 40 audience members, both online and in person, gathered to hear the presentations from the five finalists, who were introduced by HCfE's Executive Director, Jurek Sikorski. The presentation pitches were delivered to a panel of judges, all either Henley Business School academics, business leaders, investors or former IDEAFEST winners.

After each team was given a slot to present and answer questions from the judges, ranging from specifics on pricing models to benefits for their various target markets, the judging panel spent an hour to deliberate. After reconvening, they announced Authentura as the winners of the Best Business Idea category. They won a £1,000 prize and the University of Reading's nomination for the upcoming Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards Programme 2022, with the chance to win a further £50,000.

Sharing his thoughts after being presented with his award, Shlok said, "IDEAFEST was a good way to develop and explore the possibilities of building a business idea. Winning just made it all the sweeter."

Second place was awarded to BSc Real Estate student Kolatat Phaiboonnukulkij. His business idea was Aquaverticalis, a vertical garden façade that fits to the external walls of buildings and uses phytoremediation to cleanse water waste and air pollution. He was awarded £500 of prize money.

Kolatat commented: "You don’t know anything about business until you do it - IDEAFEST has been a big help with that. I now aim to develop my phytoremediation technology and I will see you in the sustainable real estate market!"

Third place and a prize of £250 was awarded to Cassandra Renaut, a Master of Business Administration student. Cassandra’s business idea was Insight Ed, a platform to connect young people to businesses through business boot camps.

Upon receiving her award Cassandra said: "IDEAFEST has been a nurturing, safe space to take risks with my business idea and an opportunity to gain valuable experience in pitching to others. I've welcomed the chance to take the feedback of the judges and test the rigour of my start-up idea to further improve it."

The IDEAFEST Final also held awards for two additional categories. These were the Best 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. Both of these categories were won by Aquaverticalis.

The other finalists were BA Accounting and Business student Shreya Tiwari and MSc Entrepreneurship student Thatchaphol Tiranaprakit. Shreya's idea was SalonSurf, an app to allow customers to easily book salon appointments, and Thatchaphol entered with CheckL, a technology start-up that tests the graphic software skills of job applicants to help companies find the best possible candidate.

All the finalists were also granted three additional prizes. These were professional mentoring to develop their business ideas, a copy of 'Little Wins: The Huge Power of Thinking Like a Toddler' by Ella's Kitchen founder Paul Lindley and a place on the Henley Summer Start-Up Boot Camp 2022 to develop the hands-on skills needed to build a business from the ground up and begin making sales.

Wrapping up the IDEAFEST Final, HCfE's Executive Director Jurek Sikorski extended his congratulations to all the finalists:

"I applaud all the teams that presented at this year's IDEAFEST. The standard of presentations was very high, possibly the highest we've ever had, and each team showed that they were taking the steps towards validating their business idea. To succeed in the world, whatever your organisation or position, you will need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and I hope IDEAFEST has been a learning experience for you all and the first step on that journey."

Savio Kwan, the sponsor of the Best Idea for China award, added:

"I am delighted to learn that Aquaverticalis won the 2022 Best Business Idea for China and my congratulations to Kolatat for his excellent submission, which also won him the Best Innovative Idea prize. I do encourage to put theory into practice and find ways to make this happen in China and other markets moving forward!"

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
  • Professor Andrew Godley, Academic Director of Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship and Pro-Dean of Resources and Partnerships
  • John Cavill, Visiting Fellow of Henley Business School
  • Dr Norbert Morawetz, Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship at Henley Business School and co-founder of
  • Josh Moden, IDEAFEST 2021 Winner and co-founder of CryptoBusy
  • Dan Rickards, IDEAFEST Best Innovative Idea and Best Idea for China Winner 2021
  • Ross Murphy, IDEAFEST 2017 Winner
  • Jurek Sikorski, Executive Director of Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship

Additional thanks to Dr Matteo Borghi for co-ordinating the judges and compiling their scores and to Josh Moden, Stefano Ciampolini and Savio Kwan for their generous donations of the prize money.

For further information about the IDEAFEST Competition, please contact Jurek Sikorski, Executive Director of HCfE.

Published 3 May 2022
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