A brisk breeze was blowing over the Hobart waterfront on Friday night. But a large and buoyant crowd still gathered at the 2013 Telstra Awards ceremony to celebrate achievements within the Tasmanian business community.

Telstra Awards - Andrew Daddo

Andrew Daddo: Telstra Awards, Tasmania (photo supplied)

Telstra Awards: Shining Stars of Tasmanian Business

The event was compered by Andrew Daddo, and the crew from the Telstra Awards couldn’t have found a more fabulous host. He claimed someone approached him in the foyer, stating they hadn’t ever owned a television, and asking who he was exactly. He explained (supposedly) that he’d worked for many years as a presenter on the travel show “Getaway”, with Jennifer Hawkins. “She was hit with the ugly stick at birth, but went on to recover,” he jested. Daddo was enthusiastic and a very witty story teller; and the telling of stories was a running theme throughout the evening.

At the Hobart ceremony, guest speakers, former winners and successful 2013 finalists all told their own business stories. Most were peppered with tales of struggle or self-doubt, but all managed to triumph in the long run.

The evening was inspirational, and anyone in business already or contemplating the launch of a new business could draw strength from the words of wisdom shared at the Telstra Awards. Confidence in the environment and community was similar to that reflected at last week’s Blundstone Arena Redevelopment meeting; there’s the promise of exciting times for Tasmania. To quote Amy and Sean from House Rules… it’s all positive, positive, positive.

And the Winner Is…

Bruny Island Cheese Co, the big winners from the Telstra Awards evening. They took home awards for…

  • Tasmanian Business of the Year
  • Small Business Award
  • Regional Award

Business owner and Managing Director Nick Haddow made three impressive acceptance speeches. By the third call-up, he resorted to notes made in haste on the back of a Hello Kitty notebook found in someone’s handbag.

His opening words for the evening were “bloody hell”, but he went on to speak eloquently and with passion about his ten-year quest to make great cheese. In 2003, he and partner Leonie Struthers bought their $10 start-up kit comprising of plastic buckets from Chickenfeed, and with a large support network have since built their business to be crowned top dog at the Telstra Awards in Tasmania. Colleagues, friends and family cheered him on, and the crowd gave him a very warm reception. Fittingly, it was Bruny Island Cheese on the platter served with coffee after dinner.

Telstra Awards - Bruny Island Cheese

Bruny Island Cheese: Telstra Awards celebration dinner

Besides his friends and family, Nick Haddow also acknowledged the support afforded his business by the Tasmanian government. Premier Lara Giddings was on hand to wish the winners well as they advanced to the National Telstra Awards to be held in Sydney later this year.

Telstra Awards - Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings: Telstra Awards

Champion Businesses: Telstra Awards

Greg Price triumphed in 2013, his third successive year as a finalist in the Micro-Business category. With 400+ entries over all categories for the Tasmanian Telstra Awards, just making the short list deserves congratulations. Price is the Managing Director of Jump Tours, a company that caters for international back-packers, and this year he took first place. He had a great story to tell of business growth and grabbing opportunities. He also had to contend with the fire alarm sounding mid-speech, but returned to the stage for part two with great poise.

The Start-Up Award was won by Tasmanian Air Adventures, a new business founded in December 2011. Owners Christiaan Durrant and Tim Robertson shared a passion for the pristine Tasmanian wilderness and were inspired to share that passion with others while walking the Overland Track. They persevered through challenges and now provide sea-plane tours showcasing Tasmanian icons including Wineglass Bay, Cradle Mountain, Port Arthur and the Gordon River.

Michael Spinks, Jonathan Elliot and Rob Adams joined forces in 2003 to create Collins SBA, a business based in Hobart. The trio now employ 23 staff including wealth and business advisers, accountants and lenders working to secure the financial future for small business owners and private individuals. This year, they won the title for Medium Business at the Telstra Awards. In our opinion, they also won the title for “most enthusiastic response from any table of supporters” upon the announcement of their victory!

Thanks to James Howe, Media Relations Manager at Telstra for the invitation to attend Friday night’s Gala ceremony, and for being such great company (along with colleagues Virginia and Bridie) during the evening. Congratulations to everyone involved in the Telstra Awards, and we wish the Tasmanian contingent the very best of luck at the nationals.