Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship - IDEAFEST Business Idea Competition


IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition

The annual IDEAFEST Competition, open to all University of Reading and Henley Business School students, seeks to find the student with the best idea for a business. Students that enter IDEAFEST have the opportunity to present their business ideas and gain support that could lead to the business idea being commercialised.

IDEAFEST 2019 is now open for entries. To enter, please read the full background document and download our entry form. When you have completed your entry form, please email it to jurek.sikorski@henley.ac.uk by no later than 11:59pm on Friday 22 March 2019.

Students don't need prior knowledge of entrepreneurship to enter IDEAFEST - all that's required is a genuine passion for developing their business ideas. Students can enter IDEAFEST either on their own or as part of a team and prior to submitting students can also discuss their business idea with Jurek Sikorski at his Business Idea Clinic, held on Wednesday afternoons. To book a slot at the Clinic contact Alex Baker at a.j.baker@henley.ac.uk

The winner of IDEAFEST will be awarded a cash prize of £1,000 to spend on developing their business idea, with additional prizes of automatic entry to the Henley Start-Up Business Incubator and mentoring from business experts. There are also cash prizes for second and third places and an additional cash prize of another £1,000 for the best innovative idea. On top of this, there is a special China bursary open to full time MBA students for the best idea capable of being commercialised in China. This bursary is sponsored by Savio Kwan, the former President and Chief Operating Officer of Alibaba.

The schedule for the 2019 IDEAFEST Competition is as follows:

Thursday 17 January, 10:30am to 1:30pm - Introduction to IDEAFEST Workshop, room G10 of the Henley Business School building, Whiteknights campus

Friday 1 February, 9:00am - IDEAFEST opens to receive entries

Friday 22 March, 11:59pm - deadline for submitting an entry to IDEAFEST

Wednesday 24 April, 2:00pm to 5:00pm - IDEAFEST Competition Final, room G15 of the Henley Business School building, Whiteknights campus

In 2018 IDEAFEST was won by a team of MSc students with their business idea Norma, described as a new food innovation. Norma’s first product, a veggie brownie that is available as a brownie mix and a ready-to-eat veggie brownie snack, proved to be a big hit - the IDEAFEST judges got to taste a sample and were impressed by the fact that it was already on route to commercialisation. The recipe, which the team say is a trade secret, uses a combination of vegetables (but no milk or eggs) and results of scientific research to deliver a great brownie taste and a healthy snack high in fibre and minerals. "What’s not to like?" said one of the judges!


Norma collected £1,000 for the Best Business Idea category and a further £1,000 for Best Innovative Idea category, as well as an automatic selection as the University of Reading’s nomination for the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards Competition 2018. To find out more about Norma, view their application video here and read about the IDEAFEST 2018 Competition Final here.

For further information about the IDEAFEST Competition please contact Jurek Sikorski:

E: jurek.sikorski@henley.ac.uk T: 0118 378 8188

The competition is co-founded and has been sponsored by Pitmans Law (now trading as BDB Pitmans following its merger with BDB on 1 December 2018). To date IDEAFEST 2019 has been sponsored by Renal Services.