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2018 Audacious Launch

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic students are again being encouraged to be audacious in business.

The Audacious Challenge was launched on March 13 in Te Wao Nui, the new shared space in the Otago Business School.

A feature of this year's launch was an interactive challenge. Tahu McKenzie and Harvey Penfold, from last year's winning team, The PekaPeka Bird Feeder, also told attendees having Audacious running alongside their business proposition helped get their venture off the ground. "I'd urge everyone to go to the workshops and to get as many learnings out of it as you can," Harvey said.

Audacious, co-funded by the University of Otago Business School, the Otago Polytechnic and the Dunedin City Council, is a programme and a business competition for students curious about starting a business now or in the future or are already working on a business idea. It provides an environment that encourages like-minds to meet, mingle, motivate and inspire each other, and is well-supported by the local business community.

Audacious is for all current students at the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, no matter what they study.

Programme Manager Claire Porima is wanting staff to encourage their students to enter. “We are looking for creative and energetic students in Dunedin who are keen to expand their horizons. You don’t need to be studying business; we have seen students from many different disciplines over the years grow ideas into successful businesses.”

She said that the focus is about nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit. “It is not just about 'audacious ideas', it is about being audacious by taking up the challenge of starting a business.”

Students are encouraged to come along to develop entrepreneurial skills, take up the opportunity to be mentored by experienced local business people. They get to use the Startup Space - “The Distiller “ - on the corner of Forth St and Leithbank, the single space focus for Dunedin and Otago entrepreneurial innovation, offering desk space, experts to consult with, and invaluable collegial support.

There is also the opportunity to help the community through reverse-pitching – where organisations or businesses pitch a problem they are facing to students who are strategic thinkers and are keen to help solve a problem that inspires them.

Students can enter as individuals or as a team. They develop a business plan during the year and pitch their business in a dragon’s den to judges; they may attract investment support if their business gets the attention of industry experts.

Twelve business concepts entered the 2017 business challenge after going through the programme. Second-year Otago Polytechnic design student Harvey Penfold won a package of business support services with his bird-feeding platform designed to feed native birds.

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