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.

The deadline for IDEAFEST has now been extended to 3 April 2020. To submit an entry, download our entry form here.

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 it's recommended that students arrange an appointment at the Business Idea and Start-Up Clinic, held on Wednesday afternoons, to help refine their idea. To book a slot at the Clinic contact Alex Baker on a.j.baker@henley.ac.uk

The winner of IDEAFEST receives a cash prize of £1,000 to spend on developing their business idea, with mentoring from Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship and sponsors. 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 all 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.

In addition, Dr Lebene Soga led an IDEAFEST Promotional Video Competition to showcase that IDEAFEST can be entered by any students, whatever their course or background, and has lasting benefits. The Promotional Video Competition was won by Lucas Cimino, a BA Entrepreneurship and Management student. You can read the full story here and Lucas' winning video can be viewed here.

The schedule for IDEAFEST 2020 is outlined below:

23 January 2020 - IDEAFEST Introduction Workshop (held at 10:00am in room 230 of the Edith Morley building, Whiteknights campus)

31 January 2020 - IDEAFEST opens to receive entries

3 April 2020 - IDEAFEST entry deadline

3 April 2020 - IDEAFEST Finalists to be selected by judging panel

29 April 2020 - IDEAFEST Final (held at 2:00pm in room G15 of the Henley Business School building, Whiteknights campus)

IDEAFEST 2019 was won by Sswap, an innovative matchmaking platform for students looking to swap or cancel their tenancy agreement in university halls accommodation. Sswap collected £1,000 for winning the Best Business Idea category. To view their application video click here and to read the full news release of the IDEAFEST 2019 Final please click here.


The prize for the Best Innovative Idea category, decided by judging panel member Stefano Ciampolini, went to Elizabeth Wilden, Yan Yang and Fabian Cardozo who submitted their business idea called WakeSense, a device aiming to reduce fatigue related motor and machine operation accidents by monitoring brainwaves to check how awake the wearer is.


WakeSense achieved further success at the Final, as they were announced alongside Thousand Years Tea as the joint winners of the Best Business Idea for China from MBA Students. This award was judged Prof Andrew Godley, the Academic Director of Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship, Andrew Gaule, the founder and CEO of Aimava and a Henley Business School alumnus, and Savio Kwan, the former COO of Alibaba.


IDEAFEST has also launched internationally, with the first Kazakhstan IDEAFEST Final held in April 2019 and the first Ukraine IDEAFEST Final held in May 2019. To find out more, read the full stories here and here respectively.

For further information about IDEAFEST please contact Jurek Sikorski:

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

IDEAFEST is sponsored by both Savio Kwan, the former President and COO of Alibaba, and Renal Services.