And the winners are?…

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Teamwork is the key to business success.

That’s the message delivered by Sir Tim Wallis to Queenstown entrepreneurs at the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards last Friday night.

Wallis, presented with the chamber’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award by Queenstown mayor and former chamber boss Clive Geddes, delivered his advice to a packed house of 300 at the Millenium Hotel.

“I’ve been lucky in what I’ve achieved. I couldn’t have done it without total teamwork,” Wallis told guests.

“What I say to entrepreneurs in the room today is remember – you may have a great idea but you can’t do it on your own.”

Earlier Wallis, a deer recovery, tourism and aviation pioneer, delivered humourous edited highlights of his life during an onstage interview with Chamber chairman Alastair Porter.

Geddes said the local economy was in safe hands given the resort business community was dedicated to improving the quality of their lives.

The town’s entrepreneurial streak started during the goldrush days of 1860 and remained the strongest in the country.

“People arrive here as carpenters and end up owning tourism service businesses and they arrive here for a ski holiday and end up owning the ski shops,” Geddes said.

Story of success 

Small-scale business winner: D’Or Hair Stylists 

Finalists: Artbay, Fluid 

When D’Or owner Rosemary Chalmers entered the Queenstown Business Excellence Awards, she wanted to tell the story of her “amazing journey” – so she wrote a book for the judges.

Chalmers has an unconventional approach to her Arrowtown business, set up in 2002: “I created D’Or as a person and gave her an identity.

So I could walk out the door and leave D’Or behind, and I could still be me.”

Chalmers is expanding her salon early next year and has nurtured young hairdressers to national acclaim.

She also asks her five staff what their goals are and rewards them if they’re reached.

“I believe in D’Or – I’m very passionate about her.

D’Or is about giving back to her community that gave her so much to make her successful.”

Chalmers says of her win: “We have always been a great team but having the feeling of pride and honour from winning this award will make us an incredible team.Thanks to everyone who is enjoying our journey.”

People first 

Medium-size business winner: Queenstown Resort College 

Finalists: A Woman’s Touch, MedRecruit 

Queenstown Resort College, on the edge of Queenstown Gardens, has come a long way since opening in 2006.

Back then it had nine enrolled students – now there’s a waiting list. QRC boss Charlie Philips, says in his acceptance speech it has brought a “new market segment to town” and it’s great to have that acknowledged.

“In the words of Sir Tim Wallis, without a great team and belief, you have nothing.

It’s all about people development and attitude and that’s what we pride ourselves on.”

Recession? What recession? 

Supreme winner and large-scale business winner: NZSki
 
Finalists (large): Good Group, Skyline Gondola, Restaurant and Luge 

NZSki pulled off no mean feat in bucking the recession to record a bumper winter season.

Boss James Coddington said from the start NZSki decided not to buy into the gloomy economy mood but notes plenty of “micro-factors” aligned in their favour – the exchange rate, the arrival of cut-price airlines such as Pacific Blue and Jetstar, and the early identification of Australia as the key market.

Not to mention the Aussie Prime Minister.

“Thank you Kevin Rudd for your $900 [tax rebate]. That helped a lot too,” Coddington said during his acceptance speech.

Coddington dedicated the award to his 1100 staff and said the thing he’s most proud of is how Queenstown Inc not only weathered the economic storm but came through it.