29 June 2022

The Big Idea Competition is supported by Santander Universities UK and organised by Westminster Enterprise Network. The competition encourages students and graduates to advance their entrepreneurial skills, by developing and commercialising their ideas, or growing their business. 

The grand final took place in person on 9 June across three categories: freelance, ideation and acceleration. Student and graduate finalists pitched their business ideas and services to a live audience and panel of judges at Westminster’s Portland Hall. 

In the week before the event, all finalists competed in an additional challenge, ‘The Viral idea.’ This offered the opportunity to win an additional £750 prize within each category, for generating the most votes from the general public. All other prizes were judged and awarded by a panel of industry experts, University staff and our supporters at Santander.

Within the freelance category, Mark Fergasky from the Marketing Communications MA course and his business partner Wren Fergasky won 1st place with £2500 worth of funding for their freelance business Schparkly Creative. Claudia Cantarini from the Photography BA course came in 2nd with her freelance photography practice and was awarded £1500. Kareena Ravaliya from the Graphic Communications Design BA course got 3rd place and won £1250 towards her freelance practice. Additionally, Claudia Cantarini won £750 for generating the most public votes in the Viral Idea, in the Freelance category.

Big Idea Competition attendees watch a student pitch their business idea

Within the ideation category, Charlotte V Donivar from the Architecture (Digital Media) MA course won 1st prize with £2500 towards her business ARC-TEC. Tobias Gamper from the Biomedical Sciences BSc course and his partner Nicole Acuti won £1500 towards Science Lens. Cristina M from the MSC Real Estate Development course came in 3rd and won £1250 towards her business Aboder. Charlotte V Donivar also won £750 for generating the most public votes in the Viral Idea in the ideation category. 

For the acceleration category, Aram Tufan from the Business Management BA course won £5000 towards his business Happy Student. Evgeny Rodionov from the Professional Practice Architecture course came in 2nd and won £3000 towards his business Stroy. Thomas Capone from the BA Music Production course and his business partner Anoush Sefatzadeh came in 3rd and won £1000 for his business A&T Sound. Aram also won the £750 Viral Idea prize for generating the most public votes in the Acceleration category.

In addition, 10 students were defined as Rising Stars across the competition and won £250 awards towards their business ideas: Clara Lungu, Elizabeth Ola, Leigh-Ann Smith, Jamille do Carmo, Penny Clark, Riccardo Facciolongo, Yousef Skandari, Mohsan Mahmood, Yassine Lutumba and Olufemi Davies.

Senior Student Enterprise Manager Clelia Bevillard said: “It was our great pleasure to bring together our community of supporters for this year's Big Idea Grand Final. The nine finalists delivered fantastic pitches after months working closely with mentors. Our team is also proud to announce the eight Rising Star Award recipients who we will be supporting to reach the next steps in developing their entrepreneurial ideas.”

Find out more about the Big Idea Competition.