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

Got a business idea? Then be audacious. Business ideas for this year’s Audacious Challenge close at 5pm next Monday.

Audacious started five years ago as a joint initiative by the Dunedin City Council, University of Otago School of Business and Otago Polytechnic to encourage tertiary students to pitch business ideas. It is now sponsored by the University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic, DCC, Upstart Business Incubator, NBR, WHK and ANZ.

Each year, Audacious runs a business idea and business plan competition for University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic students, with two rounds. Round one, in the first semester, involves idea development with the winners receiving $500 to get the ball rolling on their start-ups. In the second semester, they further develop their initial concept and pitch it to the judges with up to $25,000 available at the end-of-year prizegiving.

Round one winners will be announced at an awards event on June 1.

Project organisers Kari Schmidt, David Wilson and Jessie McKay, stressed that it was not just for business or finance students. The idea was also much more than a competition with a focus on “winner takes all”, it was more about the community that surrounded it, Ms Schmidt said.

Whether or not budding entrepreneurs made it through to the second round, the trio encouraged people to get involved.

It was an exciting initiative to be involved with and the ideas being generated were “really exciting and inspirational”. It was a merging of passion and business, Ms Schmidt said. The two biggest barriers to people starting in business were finance and motivation, Mr Wilson said. But if you got “a whole bunch of start-ups” in one room encouraging each other, then a community developed, he said.

There had been a wide variety of projects pitched over the past five years – from alcohol and pizza to board and computer games. Previous winners include Medikidz, which has created more than a million comic books designed to help children around the world understand medical conditions, and Language Perfect which sells language learning software. Clay Caird, with his promotional headgear product, was last year’s winner.

Article by Sally Rae featured here