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

So that’s an exaggeration, but there’s a lot of distrust there. Historically ‘entrepreneurship’ has not been seen as inspirational, or as Art but rather viewed with suspicion and derision, considered more lowly than the comparatively honourable professions of law and medicine (for example). 

Though we’re a materially obsessed culture and we love to make/spend money, business, the entity that provides us with all these pleasures, still receives a bad rap. Naturally, we all dislike corporations invading our public spaces with advertising. The vast majority of us feel there’s something fundamentally wrong with businesses being granted the right to freedom of speech that natural human beings enjoy (as in America’s, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission), thus enabling them to monetarily influence electoral campaigns. We don’t like the effect of business on the environment. So many of us are still seeing business, and particularly big business, as the problem, despite our collective addiction to its products. In this way, our sense of the questionable profiteering practices of ‘business entrepreneurship’ are pretty evident. ‘Social entrepreneurship’ has acted to some extent in moderating our attitudes towards  the word ‘entrepreneurship’ in general, but it comes with its own problems. We can talk all we like about ‘changing the world’, ‘being the change we want to see’, but this kind of emotive rhetoric often fails to address the complexities of the world we live in and can often end up being hypocritical and elitist. 

Yet it is through entrepreneurship that some of our most creative endeavours have manifested themselves. And this can come in any form; an iPad (yes, despite some of Apple’s more dubious practices), a board game to raise the EQ of New Zealand’s children (Sharon Cunningham’s idea from Audacious 2011), a genuine coffee and cinnamon liqueur (Arjun Haszard), a computer game (David Wilson), a magazine, a fashion label (such as Undone in Dunedin), an ap (Mason Griffiths), like literally ANYTHING. And I would contend it is only through business, and particularly big business, that some of the most significant problems facing our generation will be solved. From the environment to youth unemployment, to the kind of disaffected, disillusioned generation that could spawn Hipster culture.

“Yet it is through entrepreneurship that some of our most creative endeavours have manifested themselves.” 

That’s why we don’t call the ‘entrepreneurs’ coming out of Audacious, ‘entrepreneurs’. They’re starters. Founders. People wanting to do something, either for themselves or for society at large. To change something, be autonomous and/or create something of meaning and significance. For some, it will be about the money. For others the social change aspect will predominate. But in all instances starting up is about having the courage to do something for yourself, to be a force in the universe.  Despite its flaws, its something to be embraced, especially as we’re increasingly beginning to expect a certain level of social consciousness from business. Also, the language of a ‘starter’ or ‘founder’ speaks to the fact that is an avenue open to anyone, not just the risk prone individual or ‘enlightened’ character. Still, as you can probably glean from my writing, I’m partial to the articulations of the ‘social entrepreneur’. Perhaps it’s overly simplistic. Cheesy, even. But life’s too short not to embrace the aspiration and positivity that such language relates. So long as our actions are consistent with the words we speak.