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


So where were we… right, okay so you have an idea for a business, a burning little nucleus of uncertain fate smoldering away in the back of your mind.  Only, it’s fate is certain if you do nothing about it, CERTAIN DEATH; and certain regret, and the “woulda, shoulda, couldas” that inevitably come months, years later when you see that very same idea being taken to the bank by some smarmy prick who “stole your idea.”

If your curiosity has been piqued by a business idea to the extent that you are reading this page then I cannot encourage you enough to take the next step.  If you are younger, relax, you can afford to hit and miss and will inevitably gain priceless experience at the very least, and if you happen to be older, well what’s left to lose?  So let the lesser lights swill their SoGo’s murmuring in quiet desperation about how they thought of Facebook first and invented the Ahh-Bra years ago, you are deserving and fortunate enough to have had your flash of brilliance now and with a potent cocktail of confidence, good advice, timing, dedication and a little luck, you can transform even the barest vision into a thing of shape and contour.    

Starting up a new venture in the warlike conditions of the modern business environment you will be traversing a minefield of highs and lows, joys, sorrows, illusions, fear, hope, anxieties and excitement but the process, regardless of the outcome, is a rite of passage, and on the other side you will have gained an experience and a voice that can come from nowhere else.  The attainment of your ambitions through the perfection of your craft, whatever that may be, is the ultimate reward, and one that you can win if you are willing.

Of course the flip side to this blind optimism is that the odds are horribly, horribly against you.  The actual numbers vary across industry sectors but roughly seventy-five percent of startups won’t last ten years, but so what?  Twenty-five percent will and out of those that don’t how many of them learn from their mistakes, adapt, and come back even stronger with real world experience behind them? 

The sad truth is most people are either too stupid to know a good idea when they see it, or too lazy to do anything about it.  But they’re not reading this, you are.  So pull that tiny smoldering nucleic spark from the back of your mind, take a long, deep breath, and blow.