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 > Challenge

Audacious provides a structure for students who want to start 

businesses; inspiration, community, advice and funding. Round
one, in the first semester, involves idea development. The Top 

40 ideas will receive a share of $10,000 to get the ball rolling on their start-ups. In second semester you will further develop

your initial concept and pitch it to the judges. Finally, up to
in cash and services will be up for grabs at the end of

year prize-giving, to help you get your business started!  Starting up isn’t just for Finance students. It’s for everyone. It’s about creating art. Being your own boss. Figuring out what you care about, what you love, how you want to change the world,

and just doing it. Audacious is here to help facilitate that. 


Congratulations to the Audacious 2013 Top 40! 

Resources and business model canvases to help you to get started:

– SWOT and PEST analysisUse the PEST tool to help construct the ‘opportunities’ and ‘threats’ sections of your SWOT.

– Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas (BMC)

– Business Process Mashup (BPM)
– Lean Launchpad Canvas (LLC)
– Social Lean CanvasThis tool is aimed specifically at social enterprise startups.

– Belbin Test

To help understand the role of each member of your team

– Passions vs Needs Tool To use this tool, fold it in 3 and consider each question one at a time. Focus first on the question, ‘What do you love doing?’ followed by ‘What are the needs/opportunities that you see around you at this time?’. Finally use the middle panel to draw connections between your passions and the needs you have perceived- through this you should be able to start discovering some potential brilliant business ideas that align with your interests. 


In the second semester the 40 winners from Round One will further develop their ideas to create a detailed business plan, give a 60 second pitch, and enter the Dragon’s Den. They will be competing

for the chance to win from a pool of $40,000 worth of cash and
in-kind services 
at the end of year Awards Event.


To accommodate for the massive range of ideas we receive, we will be awarding four major prizes at the final Awards Ceremony in September.

When submitting your entry in Round One you do not need to specify which category your idea fits into- these will come into play in Round Two.

However, if you believe your idea fits into the ‘Doing Good’ category (detailed

below), please notify us when you submit your entry.

Award for the most bold idea. An idea that is relatively untested but would be incredible if it succeeded and, anecdotally, seems like it would succeed. A classic high risk venture.

Award for getting out there and doing it. These are the businesses that are already in operation and have a proven track record. They tend to be relatively

straight forward and likely to expand. A relatively safe bet.

Social awareness prize for the business that might not make much if any profit, but will benefit society.

Award for the business that gains most if not all of it’s competitive advantage through superior design. A business that makes up for a lack of marketing,

accessibility to customers and low price by having an excellent product.

There is a final category, the SUPREME WINNER. This award will go to the
business that covers the other four categories most completely.


25 July Round 2 Launch
Venue TBA — 5.30pm
3 August Workshop
Venue and time TBA
22 August 60 Second Pitching
Venue TBA — 5.30pm
4 Sept    Business Plans DueOnline (send PDF to [email protected]) — 5pm
14/15 Sept    Dragons’ Den
Venue and time TBA
27 Sept Awards Ceremony
Venue TBA — 6.30pm

Registrations for the 2013 Audacious Challenge have now closed. If you wishto join our mailing list, please fill in your details below to receive invites to our

Audacious events.