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

Posted by kari.petroschmidt


So we had our kick-off on Tuesday night! Here’s some commentary… 

Initially I was unsure of Professor Michael Bowers, ‘The Entrepreneurial Professor’ (I think we’re always a bit wary of ‘the academic perspective’ when it comes to such practical matters as starting-up). But the Professor raised some interesting points. I particularly liked his emphasis on defining your own success and this speaks to the inherent failing of viewing Audacious as a competition. Starting-up shouldn’t be about beating other people’s ideas. It’s about validating your own idea. What matters ultimately is not some judge’s opinion on your start-up, but rather whether or not you actually start up. The only measure of success for Audacious should be whether it actually manages to help students do this. 

Scott Cardwell of Language Perfect talked about the multiple stadiums worth of people who will soon be partaking in the Language Perfect Online Languages Competition, while  Julien Van Mellearts of Namida Wasabi Vodka discussed the awards accorded his spirit and the fact of its now international distribution. Both emphasized the role of Audacious and of talking to everyone available in achieving their goals. Yet I’m not sure if the contrast between where they are now and where they once were was quite clear enough. At one stage or another these ideas were literally nothing, they didn’t exist. They came into fruition as a result of a lot of hard work and struggle and in a sense this is the psychological difficulty with all start-ups; it can often seem impossible to get there, until you actually get there. As both Scott and Julien emphasized, they were you in your exact position too once, with nothing but an idea. 

“…this is the psychological difficulty with all start-ups; it can often seem impossible to get there, until you actually get there. “

Julien started his speech singing  some Opera, BEAUTIFUL and a nice bit of variation on top of the speeches. In this vein he could have discussed how his singing relates to Namida and the way we can merge our passions with business. Alcohol and music are both social fare and Julien has performed at functions alongside Namida. He also speaks French which, as he indicated to me prior to the event, will make selling Namida in France a lot easier. Besides which, a lot of bar staff are French, and it always helps to be able to speak someone else’s language. 

Sheryl McPhearson, who runs her own Archaeological Consultancy practice, as well as Salisbury Boutique, talked about Dunedin being one of the best places to start a business. We have this complex about not staying in this city, probably one of the draw-backs of living in a University town. People leave, so we feel we should also leave. But Sheryl and her partner are staying, along with a community of people they are attempting to foster at their 104 Bond St space, south of Queens Garden. They aren’t students, nor are they middle-aged and, like the guys at Language Perfect, they’re basing themselves here. 

The overwhelming message of the evening was that starting up is difficult. You have to work hard and as such you have to love what you do. But so too, it’s one of the most thrilling ventures you can undertake, as you forge ahead doing what you love and taking complete responsibility for your own life. 

So what’s the next step in Audacious? We’ll be Getting Creative with Andrew Wallace at The Church next Wednesday (2nd of May), to discuss lateral thinking and creativity. See you there!!