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Elevate Education NSW Telstra Business of the Year; Chairman Douglas Barton (centre).

A business helping students to learn best-practice studying skills has won the 2014 Telstra New South Wales Business of the Year.

Elevate Education was launched in 2001 by 21-year-old high school friends, Douglas Barton, Edward Seung and Dorjee Sun, who backed themselves with their own three credit cards.

Since their humble beginning, the business has grown to develop and facilitate study skills workshops attended by 175,000 senior students a year, at more than 800 high schools across Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

“It took three to four years for us to begin to earn salaries equal to the jobs we had given-up to start the business. But we had a vision for the company, believed in it and persisted,” Mr Barton said.

“Telstra Awards Judges said Elevate Education’s Chairman Douglas Barton has shown determination and persistence in expanding the reach of the business in Australia and overseas. The business inspires him and this rubs off on the other employees,” Will Irving, Telstra Business Group Managing Director and Ambassador for the Australian Business Awards, said.

Two other businesses with successful e-commerce models were among the other winners of the Awards – Booktopia, Australia’s largest online book retailer, and pet products retailer Pet Circle (formerly Paws for Life), an Alexandria-based start-up launched in 2011.

Bondi Chai, whose owners manage the chai latte business from Port Stephens, took out the Micro Business Award while Byron Bay-based boutique brewers Stone & Wood Brewing Company won the Regional Award.

More than $800,000 in prizes will be shared by winners of the 2014 state, territory and national Telstra Business Awards – a program that has been running since 1992. The National finals will be held in Melbourne in August.

Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie is the editor-at-large of Dynamic Business. Stephanie brings with her a passion for journalism, business, and new ideas. On her days off, you might find her reading a book on the beach.

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