Alcoholic iced tea RTD wins top Audacious prize

Rachel Butler
Rachel Butler
The Audacious innovation programme that helps University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic students start their own businesses has announced its latest winners.

About 80 Audacious students spent eight weeks working on their business ideas and this entrepreneurial cohort had to do it during a Covid-19 lockdown.

The overall winner, including the prize for best business case and best pitch, was the Cheeky Tea Co from Brendan Yielder and Olivier Despatis.

The pair created a ready to drink [RTD] "Hard Iced Tea" — the first alcoholic iced tea beverage in New Zealand.

Their aim was for a tasty, healthy and alcoholic drink targeted at young people already drinking RTDs but unhappy with the flavour and unhealthy ingredients of what was on the market.

They were rewarded with $2500, which they said would help them can their first 200 drinks.

United Machinists sponsored the award for "Best Physical Product" and that went to Karen Roberts with her business Ready Set Grow, which pitched a merino baby onesie that would grow with the child.

The "Most Audacious" award went to Andrew Wierda’s AntiMad — a digital publisher for amateur creators who need help making an app with music and legal compliance issues.

The "Best Positive Impact" went to David Wang’s Heal. Mr Wang was the top medical student in his fifth year of medicine and continued his placement at the hospital during Covid-19 while developing his idea through Audacious.

His idea was a digital platform, called Heal which would align patients with medical professionals depending on the problem.

Mr Wang said it would reduce wait times for patients and make it easier for doctors to carry out consultations quickly.

A website build from Firebrand as well as a six-month advisory board package from Polson Higgs was given to Andrew Wierda and Grace Piddington and their idea, Flatbox.

Flatbox is a box with key items needed in a new flat — ingredients and cleaning items — as well as a brochure with information on things such as recipes, internet and power, tenancy rights and more information.

Flatbox also won the "People’s Choice" award — a vote on the night the awards were announced.

Startup Dunedin general manager Rachel Butler said the Audacious winners and participants had worked incredibly hard.

"It’s important to acknowledge some of the challenges [the students] have faced.

"We’ve had students having to use public Wi-Fi, we’ve had students having to work to support their families while studying and we’ve also had students who have been on the front lines working in hospitals.

"It’s really humbling they’ve found time to put effort into these ideas they want to take to the world."

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