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].

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Audacious > Blog

Posted by kari.petroschmidt

A business plan must conform to the same criteria.  Vaughan Evans (“Writing a Business Plan – How to win backing to start up or grow your business”, Pearson, 2011) says a business plan must especially be clear on risks and written so as to convince potential backers and investors.  There is also no harm in really digging deep to bring all the possible positives and negatives into the light for you to evaluate again.  Writing it down makes it tangible. 

The goal of a business plan is simple: It must convince your stakeholders, investors and backers that your business should have their support, financial and otherwise.  It must be written specifically to address the needs of these people.  To do this, you need to understand your business and those that you want to get backing from.  Without the right homework, you will not be successful.  You must tailor your business plan to address the needs of the backers.  They typically want to know the following:

·         Who is the market for your output (service or product) and why would they want your offering?

·         What competition can you expect and from whom?

·         What resources will you deploy to achieve your goals?

·         What does the cost structure of your business look like?

·         How will you generate revenue and be sustainable over the long term?

·         What risks are involved in developing and delivering the offering and what is the quantified financial implications?

·         How robust are your strategies to cope with adverse events?

There is no place for arm waving.  Only facts and figures will make the grade.  Be transparent and honest, show the best case and the worst.  And if you’re not comfortable with it, why would they be?  Make sure you know how the risks will be mitigated, or mitigate them in advance.  Then read it over a few times and put yourself in the shoes of the backers and the market you are trying to serve.  Does it still make coherent sense?  If not, rework!

Finally, whether you are working for profit or not, the song remains the same: you need money to make things work, and you will only get money if your plan sounds good to those that have the cash.

Henk is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Audacious program this semester and is also working on his own business Stars-to-Stones.