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 slid my seat all the way forward and hunched over the steering wheel screaming wildly at Carlos to throw himself onto the dashboard, “THE FRONT WHEELS ARE LIFTING OFF THE FUCKING ROAD! I CAN’T STEER CARLOS!  GET FORWARD, GET FORWARD!  The $200,000 uninsured sail that was bricked up in the back of my 1989 Hilux had slid too far back over the rear axle on the Auckland’s North Western motorway and we’d begun to swerve wildly from lane to lane, sending cars screeching out of the way and slamming on their brakes in a slew of burning rubber and expletives.  We somehow made it to the bus-lane and crawled slowly along back roads the rest of the way to Superior Sail Wash with poor Carlos acting as a human counterbalance, hanging onto the bonnet for dear life.  But so what? This was business. 

I’d made $16,000 in two days and at 22, without so much as a high school education, I was at the helm of my own business with my own warehouse, my first employee (poor Carlos), a stack of work lined up, money pouring in and not so much as the slightest clue what I was doing.  I was cursed with a great business idea and terrible business sense.  The support and advice that I desperately needed to shape and mould my cowboy operation into a legitimate business was either unavailable or fell on deaf ears. It is easy to be overconfident and overprotective of your baby once you have tasted success.  This is MINE.  I am no longer ‘one of them’; I am one of ‘THEM’.  The next two years were a roller coaster ride and in all honesty I barely made it out of my first business alive, but most importantly I learned to ask for help, spread the load, take advice and actively seek it.

There are two types of entrepreneurs, those who by there very nature lust for the freedom, pride and excitement that come from running their own ship.  They are constantly on the lookout for good ideas, niche markets and the next big thing. The other type is the kind who blindly stumbles onto a great idea, the golden ticket; an idea so obvious and brilliant they’re fearful to give it a second thought until safe at home alone.  There they can carefully unwrap the idea, hold it up to the light and inspect its true viability.

For both types the question is ‘Do you go for it?’  ‘Do you have the golden ticket?’  ‘Or is it fools gold?’  And most importantly ‘How will you ever know if you don’t try?’  As poor Carlos will tell you, in life as in business it is far better to be in the drivers seat than clinging to the bonnet.  Go for it.