X Challenge: key dates and how to enter

X Challenge encompasses two separate competitions: The Idea and The Accelerator. You can enter either one or both, as an individual or as a team.

The Idea: now closed

Entry for The Idea is now closed. 135 fantastic ideas were submitted and our panel of judges really enjoyed reading the entries. Well done to our winners and to everyone who submitted an idea. Check out The Idea winners

Not a winner? Didn't enter? Not a problem! You can still join X Challenge The Accelerator. More details below.

The Accelerator: open for entries

The Accelerator is for everyone and it’s on now!

Do you have an idea to explore a market opportunity? Or an exciting new way to solve a problem? Great! Bring your idea to The Accelerator and let us support you to get something started.

1. Register your details

Firstly, register your details, so we know you are keen to get involved and can keep you up to date.

Register for The Accelerator

2. Download the brief (requirements for your pitch deck)

Now download the brief which tells you what you should include in your pitch deck. A pitch deck is the perfect opportunity to look at ways you can develop your idea, make improvements and pivot if you need to. It will translate your idea into reality and help crystallize your strategy and plans. If a section sounds tricky, don’t panic! Come along to the workshop or book a 1:1 session and we will work through it together.

Download the brief

3. Submit your brief by midnight, 16 August

When your pitch deck is complete, and sure to impress, email a PDF copy to us before the entry deadline. Our panel of industry judges will then review the submissions and select the 8 finalist ideas competing for the top prize of $10,000 cash at The Final Pitch 2021.

Email us before the entry deadline: 11.59pm Monday 16 August, at xchallenge@aut.ac.nz

Workshops, advice and resources

Over the next 12 weeks the X Challenge team will host weekly workshops and 1:1 sessions, and provide access to expert advice and a curated library of awesome resources. We are your X Challenge guides and we will be with you for the entire journey.

Dates for X Challenge 2021

8 March The Idea entry open
Monday 3 May The Idea entry close
Wednesday 12 May The Idea winners announced
Monday 24 May The Accelerator entry open
Monday 16 August The Accelerator entry close
Tuesday 24 August The Accelerator finalists announced
Thursday 18 November Final pitch night
Student FAQs


“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.”
Mohd Akhtaar - Mindful Muslim, 2020 Supreme Winner

"X Challenge was one of the best learning opportunities I experienced during my six years at AUT. It helped our idea move from a concept, to something tangible with the potential to launch."
Aimee Moss – giveagood, 2019 Runner Up

"X Challenge is such an amazing opportunity to grow your skillset, and ways of thinking and working. It helped us (Flat Essentials) reflect, learn, and adapt, especially as we went through the ideation process."
Finlay Barnett – Flat Essentials, 2019 Finalist

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Contact us

Shayna McWhirter

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