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


People don’t typically conceive of starting up as a craft or Art. Writing, yes. Design, yup. Fine Arts, of course. But starting a business is in the realms of dry, dull management. And true, starting up does involve some grind work. Like just about anything. But it also provides you with an autonomy you often can’t get through being an employee, as well as eventually allowing you to reap the benefits of the enterprise without having to work at all (assuming your business reaches that stage). Both of which can be extremely conducive to providing you with the time/resources to focus on your craft/Art. 

Arjun Haszard makes his coffee liqueur, Quick Brown Fox, by hand. He is involved in the production of every batch and has been personally a part of  the product’s development. He considers this a craft, the liqueur something he’s grown to understand more over time. 

The same can be said of coding. Alex Dong calls himself a ‘programming artist’, his webpage  quoting Don Knuth, “When we prepare a program, it can be like composing poetry or music; … programming can give us both intellectual and emotional satisfaction, because it is a real achievement to master complexity and to establish a system of consistent rules.”

Any craft/Art can be coupled with starting up. If you’re a writer, artist or designer, you can be your own business – work freelance and be your own dealer. Start a project, a company, a gallery, a magazine, a music label, anything. 

But there is a gap there – creativity as compared to ‘management’. The craft/Art versus the necessary day-to-day running of the operation – phone calls, emails etc. Andrew Wallace asserted last week at Getting Creative that creative people shouldn’t be expected to be involved in Management – that the two entities should remain distinct. That’s why we have teams – different people can do different things. But I would contend that it’s extremely rare for a person to simply be able to ‘create’ without needing to do any grunt work whatsoever. Emails need to be sent, phone calls returned, logistics organised. So long as you make sure the operations and the minutiae don’t cause you to lose sight of the vision, that’s the main thing. Expect it. Deal with it. But don’t let it overwhelm you or cause you to flounder creatively. 

Some final thoughts on your craft/art… 

I love this video. Essentially on storytelling but some interesting thoughts on working and Art. Essentially, we get into our craft/art, whatever it is, because we love it. We have a taste for it. And so the work we produce within this craft continues to disappoint us; our taste being better than what we are initially capable of.  And so we have some sage advice – get prolific; 

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners… All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you…

 …A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you’re just starting out, or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”