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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. Prior to submitting an entry, 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 Rajani Gurung on

The winner of IDEAFEST receives a cash prize of £1,000 to spend on developing their business idea, with mentoring from HELAB and sponsors. There are also cash prizes for second and third places, with an additional cash prize of another £1,000 for the best innovative idea. On top of this, there is a special bursary open to 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 key dates for IDEAFEST 2024 are as follows:

- Introduction to IDEAFEST Workshop 2024, 24 January 2024 at 1:00pm in room G15 of the Henley Business School building, Whiteknights campus

- IDEAFEST opens for entries, 29 January 2024

- IDEAFEST closes for entries, 25 March 2024

- IDEAFEST Final 2024, 24 April 2024 at 2:00pm in room G15 of the Henley Business School building, Whiteknights campus

Entries for 2024 have closed and after some deliberation the selection panel has chosen 5 business ideas to be presented at the final which is to be held in person in Room G15 at HBS, Whiteknights campus.

The business ideas selected are:

Aimful is an AI-powered coaching app for employee personal development, offering 24/7 on-demand access to coaching sessions which can be conducted on an app via both voice and text.

Crops on Campus is an agritech business that offers a turnkey solution for universities and institutions to produce hydroponically grown microgreens, herbs, and salad vegetables on-site.

Nifty Numnahs is an equestrian business creating a fresh style of meticulously crafted numnahs in a range of quirky designs and colours.

Phytavaren Technology is a proptech startup, specialises in building thermal dynamics R&D with passive design and developing eco-friendly building materials and other low-energy construction materials by integrating architectural solution design to address thermal regulation, carbon sequestration and structural integrity in construction.

Senspore is real estate business developing a mould detection device made from PLA recycled plastic (a bioplastic made from fermented plant-based materials) with three incorporated sensors which monitor temperature, humidity and damp in walls and windows to predict mould in its early stages.

Register to join us for what will be an exciting final.

IDEAFEST 2023 was won by InvestorPro Academy, an online education platform and community that teaches beginner traders and investors about stocks, cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens, who collected £1,000 for winning the Best Business Idea category. The prizes for the Best Innovative Idea was also won by InvestorPro Academy, whilst the Best Business Idea for China categories was awarded to Fit Cookie AI, an application programming interface that uses artificial intelligence to provide personalised nutrition recommendations. Read the full news release of the IDEAFEST 2023 Final here.

IDEAFEST also launched internationally in 2019, 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."

Henley Enterprise Lab logo

IDEAFEST is kindly sponsored by Savio Kwan, the former President and COO of Alibaba, Southern Communications Group and Healthcare Capital Partners.

Healthcare Capital Partners