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

Our decisions and actions are a function of how we experience the world around us.  Seeing the world differently takes effort.  You have to let go of pre-conceived ideas, you have to question your firmly held beliefs and you have to make a call on what has to be untouchable.  Often this last directive is missed, and people end up being a bad copy of something and nothing noticeable.  Simply put: use new glasses and new ears and remain true to yourself.

Racism, sexism, you name it, all results of our view of the world.  Nowadays we are well aware of this and we are all careful not to adopt any of these views, because we have seen and experienced the harm they can cause.  But what about some of the other subtle views and beliefs we hold that we are not really aware of?  What if we could see the planet as it really is?  What if we could visualise what the population needs more accurately and see how our resources are mismatched? 

I like this map of the world that I grabbed off the internet. The source is at  When we are in space and look at the planet, especially if we do not know where the magnetic pole is (and it is shifting by the way, and not as solid as we all want to believe), there is no reason to put the Arctic at the top.  There is no reason for east to be on the right.  In fact, the context of left and right are self-imposed by humans to help make sense of the world.  It does not exist outside of the frame of human reference.  On the map in this post, you can see the real size of Africa, China, India, Australia…  It is also good to see where we are in Dunedin – pretty much on top of the world. 

I know that my role here at Audacious is to talk about business and operations, but I guess it is also my role to tell you that the world is not what you think it is, in fact, it is really weird.  There are people in this world that do not have mobiles and the platforms that we envisage as our product spaces.  They are not interested in the new watch from a design centre in Switzerland.  In other places there are retired people with the ability to send e-mails from their homes, overlooking the Stockholm Archipelago and that are very interested in modern clothing design, but they have no idea where Dunedin is.  

What I am saying is that they are the same and they are different. We all love honest people, and we do not want to be second-guessed.  Sometimes we just want peace and quiet and at other times we need the energy that comes from playing.  Being able to see what the universal needs are and what we truly value will make us succeed in our endeavours in a sustainable fashion.  For that we need to be true to ourselves and not fall for the quick schemes, the dodgy deals and the underhanded tactics that taint our world. 

We also need to see the world for what it can be, not for what we are told it is as if it is a fact.  Some of these “facts” are nothing more than simple tricks we employ to manipulate what we see so that we can make sense of it and talk about it from a common perspective.  It does not mean that we have to believe the symbols. We must see them for what they are – symbols to explain.  And sometimes we must invent new symbols to understand our world better.

What if we looked at Dunedin as a place on the top of the world from where we can innovate around design and services?  Finland did this and gave us Nokia and many other things within the space of a century.  What if your idea is the one that will help us be imaginative in how we interact on the web, or via social networks not on the web? Cooperatives of women in India do this so well. 

Put in the effort, redefine your filters, remain true to the positives of the human spirit and reshape the way we see the planet.  Invent the new symbols!