What is the AUT Venture Fund?
The AUT Venture Fund is an enterprise fund established to give you a head start in setting up your own business and to enhance your learning experience.
Who can apply to the AUT Venture Fund?
All AUT University students currently enrolled in any area of study can apply to the fund.
Can I apply as an individual or must I be in a team?
You can apply as an individual or in a team.
Do I have to be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident?
Yes. If you are applying as an individual applicant, you need to be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. If you are applying in a team then at least two of your company directors need to be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.
How many times each year is the fund open to receive applications?
Once a year. A timetable of dates is published and communicated at the start of each year.
Can I submit more than one business plan per year?
Yes, however, we strongly recommend that you concentrate your efforts on one business idea per year.
Can I resubmit my entry the following year if I am unsuccessful?
Yes, you can choose to revise and develop an idea that wasn't successful in a previous year and resubmit this.
How much funding can I apply for?
You can apply for funding up to $20,000. We anticipate that the average investment for a venture will range from $5,000 to $10,000.
Will the AUT Venture Fund own part of my business?
Only some of the businesses will be part-owned by AUT. If you receive a grant of less than $15,000, then no, AUT will not own a shareholding of your business. If you are awarded a grant of $15,000 or more, AUT Enterprises Limited will hold a 5% equity shareholding on behalf of the AUT Venture Fund. The shareholder agreement will contain a put option which will enable AUT Enterprises Ltd to sell the equity share back to the company not before three years after leaving incubation. The review and risk management processes that the AUT Business Innovation Centre has developed, and which apply to all incubated companies in which AUT Enterprises Ltd takes an equity share, will apply.
What are the judging criteria you will use to assess my venture?
The key criteria are the extent to which the new venture is viable, sustainable and profitable and this will be assessed based 50% on your Business Plan and 50% on your presentation and performance in the question and answer question following this. A further breakdown of the judging criteria can be found under 'Venture Fund Details'.
Who is on the judging panel?
The judging panel is comprised of an AUT Business School representative, an AUT Business Innovation Centre representative and appropriate external judges.
If successful, what will I receive?
The 'Great Idea' will receive an award of $10,000, and funds to invest in a new venture over an agreed timeframe, based on achieving agreed milestones. Other applicants may also receive development funding and/or other discretionary rewards.
Who decides on the amount of funds allocated and what the milestones are?
The judging panel decides on the fund recipient(s), on the amount that the successful recipient(s) receive, and on the milestones that must be met to receive fund instalments.
Is there business support available to me if my application is successful?
Yes. If you are awarded an investment of $10,000 or more, you have the option to take up one year's incubation at the AUT Business Innovation Centre based at the AUT Manukau Campus.
What does this incubation include?
Your business support from the AUT Business Innovation Centre includes:
Will I be able to get my own business mentor?
Possibly. The AUT Business School and the AUT Business Innovation Centre have links with business leaders locally, nationally and globally. AUT may be able to use these networks to assist you in finding your own business mentor.
Will I retain ownership of the intellectual property of my business plan?
You will retain all proprietary rights to your business plan. Copies of your business plan will be circulated only for judging purposes. If the AUT Venture Fund receives any requests from academics, media or members of the public for your business plan, the enquiry will be directed to you. Due to the nature of the competition we will not ask judges, staff or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant. We suggest therefore that highly sensitive material be excluded from your business plan if you or your team is concerned about confidentiality of such material.
Please note that audio and visual recordings may be made of the presentations at the competition finals. Participation in the contest demonstrates students’ agreement to allow AUT to videotape the oral presentations, the question and answer period, and feedback sessions. Final presentations, question and answer periods, and feedback sessions may be posted on the Internet as publicity for the AUT Business Plan Competition and the AUT Venture Fund.
AUT University cannot take further responsibility to protect your intellectual property. Such protection is ultimately the responsibility of you and your team and we recommend that you seek further legal advice.
Can I be disqualified from the competition?
Yes. AUT University 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.