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 Andrew Wallace spoke for us at The Church last week about getting creative. Here’s some commentary. 
Andrew characterised a starter as a talker – someone confident, extroverted, a force for something. I agree that starters are generally confident, assertive people. But I think penning any one group with such a particular set of characteristics verges on reductionist. Not all starters are extroverted. In fact, not all of them need to be. As stated in a previous blog post, some start-ups will be longer-term, developmental affairs. Not all will necessitate the kind of assertive rhetoric we associate with marketing or sales oriented start-ups. However, Andrew’s point about listening to criticism was something I’ve heard reiterated by many of the starters from the 2011 cycle. He states, 

“If you take criticism of your idea personally, it can’t grow and neither can you. Take criticism as an opportunity to remove the weakness, an early win to success.” 

Which brings me to his next point, the importance of the TEAM, as distinct from a group of employees or a ‘staff’. Being a part of a group of people who can assist one another, give each other feedback and complement each other’s skills. I think this is essential, not only to the success of a business but to one’s own sense of personal satisfaction therein. When someone has a close friend at their workplace they are seven times more likely to stay. We all want that sense of connectivity. Of being a part of something bigger, of being valued. Otherwise why do we do the things we do? So too, being a part of a team is about sharing the risk. It’s simple logic – what’s less risky (and consequently sounds better to an investor/bank/whatever), one person taking on $50,000 worth of debt or five people taking on $10,000 worth of debt? 

Finally, that interaction between individuals can yield some of the greatest creative fruit. Andrew cited Bill Gates and John Britton as examples, people who worked within teams and who respected their team mates. Consequently the team was more driven to succeed, individuals would push themselves and everyone was extremely dedicated to the enterprise, working seven days a week until the late hours of the morning. Why? Not just because they didn’t want to let the team down. But because they LOVED what they were doing and being part of a team was integral to this. And just look what they created. 

Thing is, all these people, with their skills, contacts and creativity are all around you (see the picture below). The key is to find them and though we hate to use the word, that’s what NETWORKING is all about. Just turning up and opening yourself up to opportunities. And what you can achieve in that group dynamic is in many ways far more than you could ever achieve alone. 


Finally, I loved Andrew’s point about being a mule. What is the definition of an entrepreneur? It’s someone who can not even show up for work but still get paid. Who is intelligent enough to orchestrate a situation where they don’t have to do the grind-work, but can still profit from the endeavour.Where the number of hours worked is not directly correlated to the money earned. We all feel like mules sometimes. Maybe that’s an inevitable part of working life. But no doubt we’d like to minimise that feeling of the grind as much as we possibly can, starting up being one excellent way of doing exactly that.  

Next step – Pitching at The Temple Gallery this Thursday at 5.30pm.  See you there!