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IDEAFEST 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.


With cash prizes up to £1,000 and expert mentoring up for grabs, students that enter IDEAFEST have the opportunity to present their business ideas and gain support that could lead to the business idea being commercialised. You don't need prior knowledge of entrepreneurship or business experience to enter IDEAFEST - all that's required is a genuine passion for developing a business idea.

IDEAFEST comprises of two rounds, with the first round involving submitting your idea to a panel of judges. The best entries will move onto the second round, where students get the chance to pitch their idea to the judging panel in front of a live audience.

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 to help refine their idea. To book a slot at the Clinic contact Alex Baker on

The winner of IDEAFEST receives a cash prize of £1,000 to spend on developing their business idea, with mentoring from HCfE 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.

The important dates for IDEAFEST 2021 are outlined below:

22 January 2021 - 'Introduction to IDEAFEST' Workshop, held online via Microsoft Teams (register your place here)

25 January 2021 - IDEAFEST 2021 opens for entries

26 March 2021 - IDEAFEST 2021 closes for entries

28 April 2021 - IDEAFEST 2021 Final

IDEAFEST 2020 was won by video production company Duke Media, who collected £1,000 for winning the Best Business Idea category. The prize for the Best Innovative Idea category and the Best Business Idea for China categories were both awarded to INAP, an accommodation information platform for international students and accommodation owners. Read the full news release of the IDEAFEST 2020 Final here, watch a recap here and see the videos of the final below:

Winners Announcement

TLK Music Presentation

Duke Media Presentation

INAP Presentation

Smiling Buddha Presentation

Bandmates Presentation

Entire Event Video


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.

In 2019 IDEAFEST also launched internationally, with a Kazakhstan IDEAFEST Final and a Ukraine IDEAFEST Final. To find out more about the most recent international IDEAFEST competitions, read the full stories here and here respectively.

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


Contact us

For more information please contact Alex Baker.

Telephone: 0118 3788691