Frequently Asked Questions

See terms and conditions for full guidelines and entry criteria

What is the AUTEL Innovation Challenge?

The AUTEL Innovation Challenge provides a unique opportunity to profile and celebrate the innovative minds of AUT. By challenging staff (allied and academic) and students to secure investment for their innovation, the challenge not only provides an opportunity to bring new technologies and business ventures to market, but also enables AUT staff and students to develop commercial, presentation and research communication skills; in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Who can apply to the AUTEL Innovation Challenge?

All current AUT students and staff (allied and academic).

Can I apply as an individual or must I be in a team?

You can apply as an individual or in a team. Teams can be a mix of students and staff as well as include external parties, ie friends, family, colleagues, students from another university etc.

Do I have to be a NZ citizen or permanent resident?

Yes. If you are applying as an individual application, you need to be a NZ citizen or permanent resident. If you are applying in a team then the lead applicant needs to be a NZ citizen or permanent resident.

How many times each year is the challenge open to receive applications?

Once a year. A timetable of dates will be published at the start of each year. The challenge is generally around the same time each year.

Can I submit more than one video?

Yes, however we strongly recommend you concentrate on one business idea.

Can I resubmit my entry the following year if I am unsuccessful?

Yes, provided your application wasn't one of the winning entries.

See our terms and conditions.

How much is up for grabs?

1st   $5000
2nd  $3000
3rd   $2000
AJ Park Crowd favourite: $2000

Will AUT Enterprises Ltd (AUTEL) own part of my business?

AUTEL and AUT will not have a benefit share or shareholding unless they contributed to the development of your innovation through the use of university facilities or moneys paid to fund development costs, stipends or salaries.

What happens to my IP?

By entering into the AUTEL Innovation Challenge, you will be disclosing and demonstrating your entry to the public which may impact on your ability to formally protect your Intellectual Property Rights. You must ensure that you are comfortable sharing any information and ideas in this way.

The information you disclose in your entry and the inherent Intellectual Property (IP) should belong to you or your team and should be the product of your own work. Ensure you have the rights to disclose the Intellectual Property or confidential information of another party before you disclose it.

Before disclosing AUT-owned Intellectual Property or confidential information, check with AUT Enterprises Limited if you may do so and ensure you are familiar with AUT's Intellectual Property Rights Policy.

If you are unsure, contact us.

Who is on the judging panel?

The judging panel is comprised of experienced entrepreneurs, venture funders and those working in commercialisation.

What is the judging criteria?

The judging panel will evaluate AUTEL Innovation Challenge entries according to the following overarching criteria:

  • The entrant should demonstrate entrepreneurial skills and the ability to drive the successful and profitable commercialisation of their concept.
  • The entrant should be able to make a passionate, clear, concise and persuasive pitch for their concept.
  • The entrant must demonstrate a realistic understanding of the market potential of their concept. The applicant should have begun to assess any likely risks and barriers to market entry. This could include aspects such as lack of financial resource and time, significant regulatory hurdles, or inability to access core capability required to deliver the end-product.
  • Apart from the concept, technology and market, consideration should have been given to other commercial aspects (finance, logistics, sales, marketing etc.).
  • Particular consideration should have been given to whether there is an opportunity to acquire competitive advantage.
  • Barriers arising from competitor IP (eg overlapping patents, copyrights etc.) should have been identified, as well as such barriers relating to components used in the construction of the idea which were already in existence (eg open source software and related license agreements).

Do I need to be present on the night of the live pitch?

Only if you are selected as a finalist.

How can I use my prize funding?

AUTEL will award winners with cash grants which must be redeemed within three months of the award date. Funds should be spent on eligible project-related expenses only, like market analysis, IP analysis, business planning, technical development and testing, business development and marketing.

For more information see Terms and Conditions.

Can I be disqualified from the competition?

Yes. AUTEL and the judging panel reserve the right to disqualify any entry that, in its collective judgement, violates the letter or the spirit of the competition rules and guidelines.

Useful tips

  • Minimise the use of technical terms. If they are necessary, they need to be clearly defined.
  • Be realistic when thinking about budget, timeframe, and potential revenue stream.
  • If you are unsure of any part of the challenge, or your invention, come to one of our weekly drop-in sessions and speak with someone from the team.
  • Attend the workshops that are part of the Innovation Challenge.
  • If you are one of the finalists, practice your presentation in front of your family or colleagues to build confidence, structure content and stay within the prescribed time limit.
  • Carry out literature and patent searches to support what you are proposing is novel.
  • Speak to potential users of your invention to support the market and product need you have identified.
  • We recommend using Non-Disclosure (NDA) agreements when speaking to your potential customers, partners and investors. Download an NDA.
  • Staff should be familiar with AUT's Intellectual Property Policy