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 was a voracious reader for as long as I could remember.  I read everything I could.  I went through the horse stories stage, the dog stories stage, the fairy tale stage, the scary fairy tale stage, and then one day ended up in Sci-fi and Fantasy.  I ended up there because at age nine, I’d already figured out that the heroes I was reading about in my books and learning about in class were mostly boys and men.  I remember learning about two women in school when I was between ages of nine to eleven [the specific audience that the Throw Like a Girl School Interactive Assembly is aimed at]:  Harriet Tubman (an African-American woman who escorted escaped slaves through the Underground Railroad during the Civil War) and Florence Nightingale (a celebrated nurse during Crimean War).  Amazing women, both of them.  Yet, we should have learned about more accomplished women at that age.   At that age, intrinsically I knew there was a disconnect somewhere.   I was surrounded by strong female figures  – my mother, my teachers, my friends’ mothers –  but, I hardly saw them in any of the books I was reading .  

                                                             Harriet Tubman

What drew me to Sci-fi and Fantasy, especially those written by women, were role models I could look up to.  I found complex, well-rounded, and satisfying female characters I could identify with through reading authors like Elizabeth Moon, Tamora Pierce, and Anne McCaffrey, whose characters’ fictional lives fuelled my non-fictional life as well as my dreams. 

However, I shouldn’t have had to go look for such characters in fiction when there were so many real women throughout history and in the present day who I should have been learning about.  Instead girls aged 9-11 learn about how best to apply lip gloss in order to attract with a sexy pucker, how to ostracise other girls because their choice of clothing just isn’t cool enough, how to make fun of girls who are more interested in study than skin care and how to eat only carrot sticks for lunch so that they are skinny enough [for what, exactly?] by the time they are 14. 

When girls don’t readily see role models of their gender in their everyday lives, they don’t know how high they can aspire.  Moreover, without other women to show them that can reach beyond themselves, girls may never see the possibility to aspire at all.   All they see and hear are messages telling them that they must compete with each other at all costs, or else.  This thought process carries on into adulthood.  It is a vicious circle.

There is this thing called a Bechdel Test for movies.  You can find its webpage here The test is as follows:

#1 The movie has to have at least two [named] women in it

#2 who talk to each other

#3 about something besides a man

It is seriously depressing how many moves fail this test.

I see all this as connected, from failing to learn about remarkable women throughout history and today, to bullying in school, to the media and to the basic relationships between females, both girls and women. If we can’t give girls the tools to help them get along with each other – and instead constantly show that they should be in conflict or in competition with each other, we will continue to have generations of girls and women who simply don’t have the tools to help each other out, because they haven’t been shown that it can and should be different.

As girls and women, we can do anything we can put our minds to. When we work together, well, the sky is the limit.  In the case of Stephanie Wilson, an aerospace engineer and astronaut who was just here in Dunedin…no sky is the limit.

Still, we shouldn’t have to get there on our own, and we are far better off helping each other get there [wherever ‘there’ is] than constantly hindering each other and by default, ourselves.

We are our own worst enemy.  But, we don’t need to be.

And that, in the end, is what Throw Like a Girl is all about. 

Natasha J. Stillman is a writer, student and one of the women behind Throw Like a Girl, a start-up competing in the Audacious program this year.