The NSW Business Of The Year Was Created By A Group Of High School Friends

Douglas Barton, chairman of Elevate Education

A business helping students to instill life-long learning skills is the 2014 Telstra New South Wales Business of the Year.

Elevate Education was launched in 2001 by three 21-year-olds who met at school — Douglas Barton, Edward Seung and Dorjee Sun — with finance limited to their three credit cards.

Today the business develops and facilitates 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.

Barton, chairman of Elevate Education, says it’s the largest provider of study skills seminars in Australia, with 37% of the market.

“Our workshops help students to develop effective study and learning-to-learn strategies that engages them in study, helps them to maximise their performance in their final years of high school and develop life-long learning skills,” he said.

“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.”

Elevate Education has also published a book which documents the company’s research into the study techniques of the country’s top students, Science of Student Success, now used as a recommended text in schools.

In the UK, where it launched in 2011, it runs a social media campaign called #studybuddy, an exam preparation support program delivered to students via Twitter.

Two businesses with successful e-commerce models were among the other winners of the Telstra New South Wales Business Awards: Booktopia, Australia’s largest online book retailer that sells one book online every ten seconds; 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.

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