Sign up for the challenge!

Boost your CV and develop employability skills such as creativity, problem-solving, innovation, public-speaking, and entrepreneurship by taking part in the University of Aberdeen’s Lightbulb Ideas Competition 2024.

What is Lightbulb Ideas Competition 2024?

Lightbulb Ideas is the University of Aberdeen’s annual entrepreneurship challenge.

On three consecutive Wednesdays on campus – February 21st (3 pm to 6 pm), February 28th (3 pm to 6 pm), and March 6th, 2024 – participants will work in small groups or individually to:

  1. Come up with ideas that solve or improve real world problems,
  2. Explore the possibility of turning these ideas into a real business or social enterprise,
  3. Create a 2-minute “infomercial” to pitch their product/solution and
  4. Convince our panel of judges why they should win.

There are five cash prizes to be won!
Participants receive a Certificate of Achievement upon completion of the competition.
Free pizza lunches and drinks will be served!


Objectives of the competition

The primary aim is to inspire entrepreneurial thinking among the student community – undergraduates, post graduate taught and research students. And also:

  • Boost your CV – participants get a Certificate of Achievement upon completion
  • Put your knowledge into practice
  • Improve your communication and public speaking skills, refine your creativity, boost your confidence
  • Network with like-minded peers and professionals
  • Get your idea validated by experts plus a chance to secure funding.

Who can take part?

Open to all University of Aberdeen current students and recent graduates (within the past two years), the Lightbulb Ideas competition offers networking, idea validation opportunities, and a chance to secure funding. Participants can apply to the ABVentures Microfinance Fund for a minimum of £1000 in funding.

It’s totally FREE to take part.
Business experience is NOT required – just an open mind, ambition and a passion for a problem you want to solve.
Students with or without an idea can apply.
Individuals and teams can apply.

Prizes to be won:

  • Participants who pitch will each receive a Certificate of Achievement
  • 1st place – £200
  • 2nd place – £100
  • 3rd place – £100
  • Impact Prize (Audience Favourite – Idea) – £100
  • Impact Prize (Audience Favourite – Pitch Finale) – £100

Prize winners have complete freedom in deciding how to spend their prize money, with no restrictions or limitations.

How to enter the competition:

Current students and recent graduates can enter the competition online by completing the online entry form which you can access at

Please read the Lightbulb Business Idea competition 2024 Terms and Conditions found on this LINK in full.



Application deadline – 18th February 2024



About the competition

The Lightbulb Ideas competition is the University of Aberdeen’s annual entrepreneurship challenge. It gives you the chance to step into the role of a start-up founder and present your idea as an entrepreneur to a panel of judges in a fun, relaxed setting.

This competition is purely educational. Whether you choose to advance your idea after the competition is entirely up to you. There are no obligations or strings attached.

Previous winners, who have gone on to success and media acclaim, include Saurabh Kumar, co-founder of Zephyrus Aerolabs, and Aysha Elsherif/Hariss Ali Gills, co-founders of AtRoom.

Who can apply?

The Lightbulb Ideas competition 2024 is open to ALL current University of Aberdeen students, whether undergraduate, postgraduate taught or postgraduate research.

We encourage all students with business or social enterprise ideas to apply. This is a perfect opportunity to validate your idea and gain practical experience in developing a business idea from concept to pitch. Open to all idea types – submit your ideas for innovative products, services, digital solutions, or community projects. We are particularly interested in hearing about net zero, life science and social enterprise ideas.

Haven’t thought of an idea yet? Apply now! The competition starts on February 21, 2024, with an ideation workshop to guide you in developing ideas. Business experience or a pre-existing business idea is NOT required—just bring an open mind and ambition. Come with your enthusiasm and creativity!

Competition stages and dates:

The competition unfolds in three stages:

  • 1st stage – Innovation Challenge on February 21, 2024, at 3 pm in Union Brew, Students’ Union Building
    After an ideation workshop, participants will work in teams or individually to come up with ideas that solve or alleviate a real world problem. The winning team, determined by participants’ votes for the Impact Prize Idea of the day, receives £100.
  • 2nd stage – Pitch-Off on February 28, 2024, at 3pm in Bishop’s Table, Crombie Halls
    Teams present a 2-minute pitch; judges announce finalists at the end of the day.
  • 3rd stage: Lightbulb Finale on March 5, 2024
    Judges select the top 3 winners. Audience members vote for their favourite pitch winner.

To participate, students can work alone or in teams of a maximum of five members. If you have a team, please sign up, and ensure each member of your team signs up too. If you don’t have a team and or you want to work alone, sign up too.

What makes a bright idea?

A bright idea for the Lightbulb Business Idea 2024 competition effectively solves or improves a real world problem. It could be:

  • Ideas around sustainable development goals – e.g. an idea around net zero, affordable and clean energy, reduced inequalities, good health and well-being etc
  • Social enterprise ideas (Ideas around social/societal impact) – e.g. An idea around reducing plastic usage, homelessness, hunger etc
  • Life science ideas – e.g. Develop biodegradable and sustainable medical products, etc
  • Tech idea – e.g. Develop an AI-powered platform that allows users to explore virtual travel destinations, etc
  • Side Hustle – e.g. Etsy craft store etc
  • Business Idea – e.g. a campus task and errand service, etc.

Anything else you can think of!

Who owns my idea?

Ownership of your idea remains with you. You are not giving up any rights to your idea by entering the competition.

Judging Criteria

  • Problem-Solving & Solution
    Does your idea solve an existing problem and how well does the solution solve this problem?
  • Innovation
    How unique is your idea? Has this been done before?
  • Presentation
    How effective was the presentation in communicating your idea’s pitch?

Support and Guidance

If you have any questions regarding the competition, or require any additional support or assistance with your application, please drop us an email at

You can watch the following recordings to obtain further support with your application.