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Sign up for the challenge!

The Lightbulb Business Idea competition 2024 opens for entries December 4th, 2023.

Gain real world experience over the course of three consecutive Wednesdays in February 2024 as you work in teams with other students to develop and pitch impactful business ideas that solve or improve real world problems.

Open to all current University of Aberdeen students, the Lightbulb Business Idea competition 2024 is the perfect opportunity to gain employability skills such as business awareness, innovation, public-speaking, entrepreneurship, teamwork amongst others. It’s a valuable opportunity to bolster your CV before graduation and evidence your proactive, opportunistic mindset to employers.

Participants will work in teams over three consecutive Wednesdays to come up with ideas that solve/improve real world problems which they will pitch to a panel of judges.

There are cash prizes to be won and skills to be developed in this fast-paced and fun programme.

How to apply?

  1. Please read the Lightbulb Business Idea competition 2024 Terms and Conditions found on this LINK in full.
  2. Complete the online application form found on this LINK
  3. Applications close by 23:59 (Midnight) on Sunday February 18, 2024.
  4. Submitting the application form indicates your acceptance of the Terms and Conditions for the Lightbulb Business Idea competition 2024.


About the competition

The Lightbulb Business Idea competition is the University of Aberdeen’s annual entrepreneurship competition. 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 Business Idea 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!


The prizes are:

  • Each student who pitches will receive a Certificate of Participation/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 the prize money, with no restrictions or limitations.

Competition stages and dates:

The competition unfolds in three stages:

  • 1st stage – Innovation Challenge on February 21, 2024, at 2 pm in Union Brew, Students’ Union Building
    After an ideation workshop, participants will work in teams to come up with ideas that solve/improve real world problems. 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, teams of a minimum of two members are required. 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, sign up, and we’ll pair you at the competition.

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!

Judging Criteria

  • Problem-Solving & Solution
    Does your idea solve an existing problem and how well does the solution solve this problem?
  • Innovation (20%)
    How unique is this team’s idea? Has this been done before?
  • Presentation (15%)
    How effective was the Presentation in communicating the project 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.