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


What is design? Having just completed a design degree and now working as a designer, this is a question I get a lot. I am constantly attempting to explain to people what it is that I actually do and was being taught for the last four years. Often the immediate assumption is that I mean fashion design, or ‘posters and stuff’. One of my favourite parts of design is graphic design, so I do in fact have a lot to do with ‘posters and stuff’. But what people are often unaware of is that design has a lot more depth to it than just ‘prettifying’ things. 

Part of the issue with defining design, lies in the nature of the word itself. I recall in my very first design lecture, hearing a quote from designer, John Heskett: “Design is to design a design to create a design.” It sounds like nonsense, but it actually makes sense. The first ‘design’ is a noun, meaning the general concept of design. The second, a verb, a process. The third is a noun again but referring to a concept/ prototype. The final ‘design’ is a noun, the finished product. It is safe to say there is not one concise definition for design- It is a complex and multi-faceted concept. 

Design Thinking

While design comes in many forms, I think it is most powerful in its verb form- as a process. Traditionally design has been seen as the end of a development process- where designers (who have not been involved in a new innovation at all) come along at the end and make this already developed product more attractive to customers. Today, however, designers are being involved from the beginning to the end of the development process of a new innovation to create ideas that will better meet consumers’ needs. This process is known as design thinking:

“Design thinking is an approach that uses the designers’ sensibility and methods for problem solving to meet people’s needs in a technologically feasible and commercially viable way. In other words, design thinking is human-centred innovation.”

Tim Brown, IDEO CEO- Design Thinking by Tim Brown – Harvard Business Review

Basically, design thinking is a way of innovating through observing what people want and need in their lives and what they like and dislike. It sounds simple but it is so vitally important, and often is overlooked.

Below is a trailer for a very recent design thinking documentary called ‘Design and Thinking‘. Even the trailer is inspiring: It sums up beautifully what I have been trying to express in this post and gives a really nice insight into how design thinking is viewed by a number of different designers. Take a look!

image courtesy of