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IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition


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.

IDEAFEST 2023 is now open for entries! Complete your submission by using our application form and emailing it to Jurek Sikorski on

The full timetable for IDEAFEST 2023 is listed below:

20 January 2023, 1:00pm to 3:30pm, Introduction to IDEAFEST Workshop, Henley Business School building room G15, Whiteknights campus

23 January 2023, IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition Opens for Entries

27 March 2023, IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition Closes for Entries

26 April 2023, 2:00pm to 5:00pm, IDEAFEST Student Business Idea Competition Final, Henley Business School building room G15, Whiteknights campus

IDEAFEST 2022 was won by won by Authentura, a cyber security service offering firms a software security audit report of their websites, who collected £1,000 for winning the Best Business Idea category. The prizes for the Best Innovative Idea and the Best Business Idea for China categories were both awarded to Aquaverticalis, a vertical garden façade that fits to the external walls of buildings and uses phytoremediation to cleanse water waste and air pollution. Read the full news release of the IDEAFEST 2022 Final here.

In 2019 IDEAFEST also launched internationally, with finals held in Kazakhstan and Ukraine. To find out more about the first international IDEAFEST competitions, read the full stories here and here respectively.

Read below what past IDEAFEST winners have said about their experiences of participating:

Shlok Maheshwari, IDEAFEST 2022 winner and BA Entrepreneurship student: "IDEAFEST was a good way to develop and explore the possibilities of building a business idea. Winning just made it all the sweeter."

Josh Moden, IDEAFEST 2021 winner and BA Entrepreneurship and Management student: "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. 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.

Lucas Cimino, IDEAFEST 2020 winner and BA Entrepreneurship and Management student: "I'm honoured - IDEAFEST is a great competition. The process to practice pitching gives students skills they can use forever."

IDEAFEST is sponsored by both Savio Kwan, the former President and COO of Alibaba, and Stefano Ciampolini, founder and Managing Partner of Healthcare Capital Partners.


Contact us

For more information please contact Alex Baker.

Telephone: 0118 3788691