You will get an understanding of the realities of starting your own business, meet other students interested in starting up, network with fellow entrepreneurs and business people, attend workshops, get advice, and hear about other support and opportunities for budding entrepreneurs in Dunedin, New Zealand and internationally.

You will develop fantastic new skills, meet new people, it looks great on your CV and you’ll be in to win money and prizes to get your business off the ground. Last year, competitors shared in a jackpot of $40,000 in cash, services and other prizes to help them start-up – what have you got to lose?

How does it work?
Those entering the Audacious competition are required to submit a business idea, a detailed business plan and pitch their idea to the Dragon’s Den. Check out the Programme page for further details. Throughout the competition, students attend a range of start-up workshops and have access to a Business Coach for one-on-one advice.

Who is it for?
Audacious is for students of all disciplines at the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic – not just business students.

No matter what you study, if you are creative, energetic and keen to expand your horizons – Audacious could be perfect for you. If you are worried you lack business skills, or any other skills, we will do our very best to help you find team-mates with the skills you need.

Individual entrants must be current University of Otago or Otago Polytechnic students. If you are entering as a team, at least one member of your team must be a current student and that person must be your nominated main contact when submitting your ideas.

But you don’t even have to enter the competition, if you are thinking of starting up, you’re welcome to join the community – attend Audacious events, hang out in the Audacious space, speak to our Business Coach or simply ask for help!

To organise the wide range of ideas submitted every year, and to compare apples with apples, Audacious is split into five categories. In your Round One submission you will be required to nominate the category in which you think your idea fits, but they become more important in Round Two. As you can see, any idea can be a winner!


Don’t play safe, think long term. Bold ideas that are relatively untested and may have a long development phase, but could find worldwide success.


Get out there and make it happen. Ideas that are relatively straight forward, low risk and easy to bring to market.


Look after people and planet. Ideas that benefit society – for social entrepreneurs, not-for-profits, sustainable ventures and the like.


Think outside the box. Ideas that are innovative in the design or marketing that is leading edge and provides a competitive advantage.


Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi; engari, he toa takitini; our achievements are a collective endeavour, not a solitary effort. For Maori students and those with a Maori-focused business idea.

Read the Audacious Challenge rules 2014. Competitors must agree to these rules in the submission process. Entries can be submitted via the Challenge section of this website. Any questions regarding these rules should be directed to [email protected].

Blog archive

Audacious > Blog

Posted by kari.petroschmidt

Malcolm Gladwell wrote an interesting piece in the New Yorker on Steve Jobs[1].  In the article he calls him a “tweaker”, explaining that Steve was the sort of person who excelled at refining the great inventions of his time.   Is tweaking innovation?  Was Steve an innovator?

Often people use the word invention and mean innovation.  I like the definition of Everett Rogers (The Diffusion of Innovations, 5th ed – Kindle electronic version). He says innovation could be ideas, practices or physical objects perceived as new.  So it does not have to be new at all.  Steve Jobs did not invent the computer mouse, or graphical user interfaces, or the Unix operating system, or the smart phone.  He saw the potential of these things and packaged them in a different way that allowed the concepts and solutions to appear fresh and desirable. 

Tablet computers have been around before the iPad, but they resembled laptops in too many ways.  Smart phones looked just like the dumb phones before them in too many ways before the iPhone came onto the scene.  These days smartphones that look like the Samsung Galaxy are not seen as innovative or new, despite having bigger screens or more processing power than an iPhone. 


Bill Gates with the Microsoft Tablet in 2003

Rogers also talks about the readiness of people to adopt new things.  Many inventions sit on the shelf for many years and make no progress towards broad utility.  Sometimes they are just not perceived as friendly in their current guise.  They are not adopted because there is no real persuasive reason to do so.  

For a service or a product to be innovative, it must be perceived to be new, it must be cast in a context that is persuasive to its use and people must adopt a positive attitude towards it.  In short, they must like what they see and experience when they come into contact with the new service or product.  Even if the product is redesigned and repackaged it may still fail as an innovation, because people find no reason to like or use it.

You may have a great idea, or you may discover that something could be far more useful if it is packaged differently.  Without design that will make it desirable, the masses will not adopt it.  It will not be an innovation, and another tweaker may come along and get it right.  I think Steve Jobs was an innovator of note.  You may not like what the guy did or how he did it, but he succeeded in bringing several inventions into the mainstream through the right tweaks at the right time.  And he made a bundle of cash doing it.