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


If following your bliss was easy, everyone would be doing it.  At least that is what I keep telling myself while I try to follow mine.  For me this includes writing Sci-Fi/Fantasy, going back to University to study German and bass guitar, and last but not least, starting Throw Like a Girl.  None of these endeavours is a sure-fire way of making me enough money to support myself, let alone making a fortune, but I am pursuing them anyway.  Why?  Because life is short and by taking the different path, you could find yourself doing things you never imagined.

How did I decide to finally go for it?  A few years ago, I almost drowned.  So clichéThere I was, in my wetsuit with my boogie board, swept far out by a riptide, my lead tangled under my leg, being pummelled by big wave after big wave.  The first thought that came to my head (after *Ohcrapohcrapohcrapohcrap* and after I quit screaming for help when I realized everyone was too far away) was, “Nooooo!  I am not ending like this!  I haven’t done anything yet!” 

That wasn’t entirely true.  I’d studied hard. I had degrees.  I taught Montessori school and tutored.  I started writing and had several stories published already.  Even though I’d had major stomach issues for almost 10 years which put a crimp on my daily and working life, I managed to get myself well enough to the point where I could travel around the world with my partner and enjoy myself.   However, I was increasingly feeling that there was something missing, something intrinsic to my being.  So, while I was twirling around under water, detaching my wrist from the lead on my boogie so I could unwind it from my leg (and then hopefully re-attach it without losing the boogie board), I made a promise to myself.  If I got out of this alive, I would begin to re-construct my life…no matter where it took me.  In order to do that, I had to follow my bliss.

In life, there comes a time where you simply have to choose whether to take The Chance.  Perhaps this is part of the human condition.  I often frame this thought around the issue of why we should keep exploring the galaxy.  We have problems on this earth that we need fixing.  Obviously.  So, why should we bother flying shuttles to space?  Don’t we have enough things to do here on terra firma?  Well, I think if we don’t continue to reach beyond ourselves, we stagnate as a species.  I think we need to keep attempting what seems implausible or even impossible. That we owe it to ourselves to apply this to our everyday lives as well – in the smallest of ways, right to the biggest ideas – from trying that Scottish restaurant to saying hi to that person you think you could never have a meaningful conversation with, to applying for that job you think you will never get in a million years, to going back to university to study a new language and a new instrument, to starting an organization that you hope can change people’s lives and maybe the world.

Making my way slowly back to shore that day as calmly as I could, trying to riding the froth in front of the big waves without swallowing gallons of water, I thought, “You can do this.  You have to.  And tomorrow, you’re going to get right back in.”

And I did.

How do you follow your bliss?  You choose to live it.


The Road Less Taken 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,And sorry I could not travel bothAnd be one traveler, long I stoodAnd looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,And having perhaps the better claimBecause it was grassy and wanted wear,Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally layIn leaves no step had trodden black.Oh, I marked the first for another day!Yet knowing how way leads on to wayI doubted if I should ever come back.I shall be telling this with a sighSomewhere ages and ages hence:Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost

Natasha J. Stillman is the Director of Throw Like a Girl (competing in Audacious this semester) and a Dunedin based writer who is following her bliss.