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

30 Apr

Posted by kari.petroschmidt

At the launch event we featured a number of speakers who are heavy on sales. Scott Cardwell (pictured above) naturally placed a lot of emphasis on this in his role as the Marketing Manager for Language Perfect. So too, Julian Van Mellearts and Sheryl McPhearson essentially sell products in their wasabi vodka spirit and clothing boutique, respectively. There is ostensibly a lot of ‘flashiness’ and marketing inherent in these start-ups which begs the question, is there a place for longer-term start-ups in Audacious?  

The short answer is, yes. Most definitely. In fact some of the winners from last year working on start-ups related to IT were fundamentally different from the alcoholic beverages and cardboard headgear of other starters. Sure, there were still a lot of ‘sales’-type start-ups. But this in no way precluded an IT-oriented or development based start-up from being involved and successful in Audacious. 

Alex Dong, for instance, developed Trunkly, an online bookmarking service which was eventually bought out by the founders of youtube. As you can see in his profile, Rimu Boddy started developing FN Tech, a computer service designed to make it easier to communicate with boats at sea. Both were runners-up in Audacious in 2011. Other examples included Mike Murchison’s WeVesting (an online investment platform designed to make investing accessible and easy to the average individual) and Campbell Pritchard’s iphone ap to connect others with personal trainers (both in the top 40). 
So too is there room for social entrepreneurship in Audacious. Businesses whose primary motive is making the world a better place, rather than making profit. Again, many of the start-ups from last year had a sustainability focus. Arjun Haszard’s Quick Brown Fox, for instance, as well as Rimu’s FN Tech. Sharon Cunningham’s board game, Cheeky Moo, was aimed at raising the EQ of children around New Zealand, thereby attempting to curb our high rates of domestic violence. Both made it into the top  40 with QBF also winning $2000. The judging criteria this year is also set to specifically address the question of social change. 

So what kind of start-up is an Audacious start-up? In short, it’s anything you want it to be. 

Posted on
30 – Apr – 2012