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


Everyone goes through low periods. And when you’re trying to start a business, the highs and lows can be particularly pronounced. There is obviously more risk in starting up, more doubt and fear. When you’re trying to strike out into the universe and taking all the responsibility for your venture, it can be scary. Lows are likely inevitable. 

A good first step (related to me by Mary Lemmer, one of the Entrepreneur-in-Residence applicants for this year) is to ask oneself the question, what is this low trying to teach me? You feel this way for a reason. Identify it. Learn from it. Sometimes you will just have to ride a low through – perhaps it’s not immediately obvious what the problem is or how to fix it. This is possibly the most frustrating aspect of the low, but there are still mechanisms for dealing with it. 

Get some perspective. Try and step outside of the present moment and see the whole picture, holistically. I remember talking to Logan Elliot of Highly Flammable, who emphasized the often bipolar nature of starting up. In one day he can go from tortured low to elated high, and often does. One Friday morning he was certain Highly Flammable couldn’t work. He’d crunched the numbers, it looked impossible. By that afternoon he’d seen a bigger vision for the business that has seen him through. The important thing, whether you’re bored, over-worked or depressed, is to take a step back. Breathe. Have a break. And come back to it.

From a philosophical point of view, life is all about perspective. As lost as we can feel sometimes, there’s always worth in it and whether you believe this or not, you’re probably right (at least, in terms of how you feel). Maybe you’ll have a friend who will support you in your time of need. You’ll have four orgasms in a row, or find yourself in that beautifully timeless, infinite space of working on something you love. A great conversation will emerge out of nowhere. You’ll listen to a lecture or talk where someone says something really awesome and true. Experience some great piece of art. We can complain forever, but at least we have options. You can stop what you’re doing, make a drastic change. Or go harder than ever before. Yes, sometimes it is a necessary and inevitable that we’ll have to wallow in our own self-pity. But in the words of Henry David Thoreau, “the cost of a thing is the amount of… life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.” Every moment spent whining is a moment where you’re wasting it.

Get some advice. Talk it through. This can help you identify the problem, the solutions and how to get your low into perspective. In saying this, advice can only go so far. The only person who can really decide what to do with your life, is you. As Justin Ryan Scott state’s in this post – everyone has a perspective. Yours is unique to you. Only you really understand what you want and who you are, based on your own particular experience and disposition.

Finally, if everything else fails, DO SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. The great musician Paul Simon is a perfect example. After an approximately decade-long period of just sort of muddling along post Simon & Garfunkel, his album Graceland was a “shot at redemption”. And in the most random way possible – going to South Africa and collaborating with African mbaquanga and isicathamiya artists (who can almost hear the Music Exec’s exclaiming ‘WHAT THE FUCK?’). And just like that, life completely turned around.

A ‘low’ is a complex beast. Maybe it’s just a moment in time. Maybe you’re just over-worked. Your brain needs some oxygen, you need to go for a run, have a laugh, get back to nature.  Maybe there’s something in your life that’s more fundamentally wrong, and you need to take a big step to change that. Whatever the reason, DON’T FREAK OUT. Lows are a part of life, providing it with the dynamism and meaning that makes it what it is. Experience it. Learn from it. Don’t let it beat you.