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


I had the opportunity recently to present a course on writing and presenting technical proposals and reports in Zimbabwe. 

Even as I was flying into Victoria Falls in the far north of Zimbabwe I was not sure exactly where I was supposed to present the course.  On arrival I was met by a friendly driver from ZPC (Joseph) who told me that we still had to drive about 80 km south to the town of Hwange.  This area is rich in coal and obviously the ideal place to set up a power station. And what a fascinating place! 

Those that are familiar with the recent history of Zimbabwe will know that it went into monetary meltdown a few years ago and people had to carry backpacks of Z$ around to buy small things like bread.  It was impossible to get commodities in the shops, because none of the countries around Zimbabwe were willing to trade on the back of that weak currency.  The ordinary citizens were in dire straits.  About two years or so ago the government decided to shelve the Z$ and to adopt the use of the US$ and several other currencies from the region.  These days you can get a reasonable meal for about US$12, and a good local beer for $1.  Which meant that I went straight to the local pub to get my shot of ice cold beer.  There is nothing like a beer to refresh after a trip through a dry and dusty countryside where the average temperature in the shade hits 32˚C around two in the afternoon this time of the year.  

After five the locals started drifting in.  Friendly and curious to know what this white guy from New Zealand was doing there, we started talking about the weather, the place, the large Baobab trees and also about their lives. What stood out for me was the incredible optimism of the people.  Here they know real poverty.  Poverty means that you may starve to death, or die of one of the many diseases that plague the continent of Africa.  It does not mean that you cannot afford a modern mobile phone, no, it means death will knock on your door with a heavy fist. 

A beer is only a dollar, but it is a dollar too much for many.  Education is of primary importance. It is seen as the ticket to a better life.  People are industrious, because there are not that many formal jobs.  You have to make a plan, look for opportunities all the time, and you must be willing to take risks.  But it does not weigh down their spirits.  It invigorates them.  It was one of the most enjoyable courses I have presented in many years.  The physical conditions were not ideal: we had power outages, no air conditioning and flying and stinging insects to deal with.  That did not dampen the spirits.  People were willing to be exposed, to talk about their problems and keen to acquire new skills. 


Back in South Africa and on my way back to stunning Dunedin I was suddenly aware of a heaviness and a tiredness amongst people.  Here were people with so much more, but also so much less.  My moment on the inside looking out sensitised me to all these things.  Maybe we should spend more time in communities that have a tough time so that we can see their needs and see our privileges.  That will sharpen our senses to see more opportunities than hurdles.  It may expose us to what real business agility looks like.  I know it taught me the value of being in the shoes of my customers.   What a lovely experience.