Otago Student Entrepreneurs Take Out Cash Prize With Audacious Idea

Otago Commerce students Brendan Yielder and Olivier Despatis have received a cash prize of $2,500 for their winning idea in the Audacious programme at Otago University.

Their plan for a hard iced tea company took out the Audacious programme’s semester one prize for the best entrepreneurial idea and now plan to bring the concept to market at Otago Orientation Week 2021.

Audacious is a free programme designed to foster the entrepreneurial ideas of students from both Otago University and Otago Polytechnic. The programme covers the inception of an idea, to the planning and execution of bringing that idea to market.

“It was cool to do something like Audacious where you’re matching what you’re studying with real-life practical business,” Brendan says.

Originally Brendan and Oliver had planned on designing a cocktail business but learned in time that they did not fully understand that older demographic. Thankfully they thought of the Canadian beverage market, where they had both lived as children, and recalled Canadian’s preference for hard (alcoholic) teas.

“In our experience, there wasn’t an RTD on the market that was non-carbonated and easy to drink through the night,” Olivier says.

With that epiphany, they saw the gap in the market and worked on a recipe with an Auckland based supplier. Armed with a market-ready product, they now plan to launch an awareness campaign at a music festival in October.

The entrepreneurial pair are proud of their clean and straightforward product, as it uses only five ingredients, and uses a natural sweetener. It also comes in an aluminium can, which they decided had the smallest environmental impact of all the packaging options.

“Ready-to-drink isn’t always that easy to drink, and we’re trying to change that,” Brendan says.

Their first batch will be their lemon flavour, for which they will produce a limited run of 15,000 cans to test on their target market of 18 to 24-year-olds, which is of course, as students themselves, is a demographic they are very familiar.

Beyond their interest in maintaining a clean and environmentally sustainable reputation, they also hope to give back to the community, by allowing their customers to vote for causes to give back to through a portion of the profits.

Both students agreed that the Audacious programme was a terrific way to put into the practice the theory they worked on in the classroom.

“I feel like Audacious is just a great way to make the most out of your university experience,” Olivier says.


Photo by Jerome Cao on Unsplash

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