X Challenge startup idea competitions

X Challenge startup idea competitions

AUT X Challenge is a fun, practical programme for any AUT student with an idea for a product invention, digital solution, social enterprise or service – anything goes! If your uni project has startup potential – bring it to AUT X Challenge. You can enter as many ideas as you like, solo or in a team, and it’s free to take part – in fact, if you have an awesome idea you could walk away with a share of the $30,000 cash prize pool.

AUT X Challenge runs two competitions each year. We kick off with The Idea…

The Idea competition: describe a startup idea

Got an idea for a business, cause or project? – tell us all about it in no more than a page, and get the chance to win cash prizes.

The Accelerator competition: develop a business idea

Do you have an idea to explore a market opportunity? Or an exciting new way to solve a problem? We can support you to make it a reality.

Events, resources and support for X Challenge participants

There's heaps of opportunities to get support and guidance during your X Challenge journey. Join our workshops and 1:1 sessions, and check out our online resources.



Ander Castelltort Schnaas – Delta Waterways, 2021 X Challenge Supreme Winner:

“Delta Waterways has evolved drastically over the past year, and X Challenge was a significant driver of our growth. The insight and support we received from our mentor, Kate de Ridder, helped tremendously, and her professional perspective and overall willingness to guide us through the challenge was invaluable. The knowledge of the guest speakers at each workshop was extremely useful too, and our company now has a well-defined direction looking ahead. We are excited for up and coming start-ups to find their way in future iterations of the X Challenge.”

Jennifer Susanto – FoodScrapz, 2021 X Challenge Finalist:

“Before my X Challenge journey, entrepreneurship and innovation was never on my bucket list. I didn’t know what it was, what it involved or what it could do. It seemed like something old, rich businessmen do. Turns out it’s totally not! My time during the X Challenge was an intense period of learning, failing and trying again. Through the workshops provided by the Accelerator programme, I was able to network and learn from a range of industry-experts. Their willingness to share their knowledge and experiences helped me develop and grow my idea into a feasible reality. The purpose of FoodScrapz is to create a healthier “student diet” whilst maintaining the “student lifestyle.” Cheap and dirty diets of instant noodles, fast food and takeout are not sustainable for our health or budgets. FoodScrapz aims to educate the young adult generation in a fun and engaging way. Learning to cook can be overwhelming; but picking up a few simple cooking tips are enough to sustain a healthier and well-balanced lifestyle. The X Challenge Accelerator is like having a buffet in one spoonful- a taste of everything! I met a lot of new people and mentors who have given me confidence to succeed in life. As a young female designer, there is not much representation in the start-up world, but from this experience I’ve learnt that entrepreneurship is truly a pathway for anyone. All you need is guts, passion and an open mindset!”

Mohd Akhtaar - Mindful Muslim, 2020 Supreme Winner:

“I’ve run start-ups before, but X Challenge was a game changer. It allowed me to meet supportive mentors as well as other experts who believed in my idea and helped me fine-tune my approach.”

Finalists of AUT X Challenge 2022

Find out more about the 8 ideas selected to compete at The Final Pitch.


Contact us

Shayna McWhirter

Programmes Manager