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


“I looked for support from the older women I assumed were mentors at my work, but I never got any.  In the end, I realized that they did not have my back when I needed them most.  It made me feel like I hadn’t been valued at all there, despite working hard and doing my job well.”

“My friend’s daughter killed herself last year.  She was 14.  They’d moved.  She’d started a new school.  She was bullied.  She never told anyone about it.  She assumed she was alone and everything was hopeless.”

“In my office, women can be really judgemental.  I eat lunch on my own sometimes just to avoid things.”

“Tell me more.  What are your aims?”

Some weeks ago, I wrote a post telling how I found my team. The above quotes are just some of the things strangers have been saying to me when I’ve taken the opportunity to talk about Throw Like a Girl

As reticent as I once in telling people I didn’t know about TLG, I quickly realized that if I wanted to have a better idea about why an organization like TLG could be beneficial to society, I’d have to start sounding out “people on the street”.  Strangers don’t know you.  They are not as cautious of hurting your feelings as your friends might be.  Strangers can afford to be honest, because it’s a no-loss situation for them.  So the most informal way you can find out more about your target audience and if there is a need for your product, beyond what you’ve personally perceived or experienced, is to simply ask.  Talk to the person behind the counter of the clothes store.  Talk to the person sitting next to you on the park bench.  Talk to the person stuck waiting with you in line at the bank.  

Natasha J Stillman, Alice Jackson, Chontelle Syme and Freya Haanan of Throw Like a Girl

If you have always been afraid of public speaking – or even talking in class (as I always was) – this is the time to get over that.  Besides,  you will find that if you are passionate and informed enough about your topic, your InstaPitch will come very easily (and without that wobbly, mumbly awkwardness you used to struggle with all those years ago).  After all, you are the one who conceived of your idea and thinks it’s important enough to market and spread.  You are the one who, presumably, is the most interested in getting it out there.  And you are the one who has the primary responsibility to see that it does. 

With Throw Like a Girl, I quickly realized that our job in promoting a socially conscious start-up was not simply just to tell people about it, but to get them talking about it – to promote and encourage an instant dialogue. TLG’s InstaPitch to strangers may start as a one-way, but should end as an exchange of experiences, ideas and most importantly the gathering of new information which could propel TLG’s mission further towards fruition.  In my trial by fire in the world of marketing, Word of Mouth has turned out to be one of my most important primary tools. 

In the words of Bonnie Raitt, “Let’s give ‘em something to talk about.”

Natasha J. Stillman is the Director of Throw Like a Girl (competing in Audacious this semester) and a Dunedin based writer who is following her bliss.