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


Such is the phrase whispered by the Bokonists in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, “whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.” I quite like this articulation. 

Yet of course, most of us do not conceptualise the word ‘busy’ as connoting mystery, complexity, the convoluted rhythms of our lives. ‘Busy’ is… chaotic, frantic, harried, full. It’s pejorative. And it’s typically our 21st century response to the question, ‘how are you?’ 

Now, this is a bizarre question in itself. In countries such as Estonia it doesn’t even exist. Why? Because we don’t care. The question is a formality, a social ritual, or meaningless habit. It’s saying something for the sake of filling up space (as people in the English speaking world tend to do). How many times, after all, have you walked past someone and asked them this question, without bothering to stop and hear the answer? So I have a problem with the question in the first instance, although let’s be honest I probably won’t stop using it any time soon.  These social rituals exist for a reason, even if they are just a token recognition of somebody elses life experience.

But the response. You’re ‘busy’. EVERYONE is busy. It’s subtle and small, but it’s whiny. Who cares if you’re busy? It doesn’t mean anything to anyone. Granted, any response you could give to the question ‘how are you?’ probably doesn’t mean much to anyone, at least in the context of social niceties. But telling someone you’re busy is at least a sort of mild complaint or moan. You’re busy, suggesting that’s a problem. Aren’t we active agents in our own lives? DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT (again, I’m guilty of this myself, so grant me a bit of self-flagellation here – mostly I just get annoyed at hearing myself say it).


Nobody wants to be constantly busy and stressed, as addictive as it can be. We want to have direction, to feel that we’re achieving something bigger than ourselves, rather than flailing in the minutae of our own busyness. And we want to be able to idle. Annie Leonard in The Story of Stuff asserts that we have less leisure time today than we did in feudal society. I’m not saying this isn’t, at least in part, the fault of a societal ethic that encourages us to work and consume constantly. However, the problem also lies in the fact that we don’t know how to work efficiently – we promote quantity (hours of work) over quality (focus of work). 

According to this excellent post on Study Hacks, the ‘elite’ of violin players, for instance, aren’t perennially ‘busy’. However, when they are practising they actively push themselves. They focus, they are present (meaning they’re not constantly distracted by social networking mediums, one of the primary problems regarding productivity and creativity today). And when they’re not working, their work doesn’t consume their leisure time. With superior results.  

True, this is an age of distraction – Facebook, twitter, email, cellphones. How many times while reading this blog post have you thought about checking either one of these mediums? We can flail around forever, feeling lost in the sheer amount of stuff we have to do, stressed out due to our lack of direction. Yet efficiency and focus in work isn’t impossible. It’s something we can cultivate. And many would argue, if you’re finding yourself constantly answering ‘busy’ in response to the question, ‘how are you?’, than you’re not doing it right. 

In the words of Kurt Vonnegut…