'Phenomenal passion' exemplified by five finalists in business awards
Sam Hazeldine laughs when he's called an over-achiever, but in six years the champion skier and former doctor has created the country's biggest medical recruitment agency.
Queenstown-based Hazledine was named best young entrepreneur in the annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
He and four other winners go forward to an awards dinner in October, where the overall winner will be announced.
Hazledine's business MedRecruit now has about 1500 doctors on its books. He detected a niche in the market after working as a locum and dealing with recruitment agencies.
"I found that they just got you a job, they weren't really about saying, 'What is it you want to achieve in life?' " he said.
"And I also found that no-one was doing an end-to-end model where they take care of everything and made it easy for the doctor."
After New Zealand public hospitals capped their locum pay rates last year, Hazledine moved into Australia. He estimates 80 per cent of his business is now trans-Tasman.
Service category winner Cilla Hegarty, of Christchurch, started her online business NZ Tax Refunds in 2008. The accountant now has 59 staff and the firm ranked 30th on last year's Asia-Pacific Deloitte Technology Fast 500.
She said the key lesson she had learned was to "always be ahead of the game and focus on the customer".
"If you can make that customer journey the best, everything else will follow."
Sky TV founder Craig Heatley said he was honoured to win the master entrepreneur title.
Ranked 30th in last year's Rich List, Heatley founded Sky TV in the 1990s, at a time when the idea of paying for TV was novel.
His advice to prospective entrepreneurs was to be passionate about their idea, and sure of their ability to execute.
"When we started Sky, the vast majority of people thought it was a dumb idea ... I think you've got to be prepared to listen but you've got to be prepared to say even though everyone else is going right, I'm going to go left."
Chief judge Greg Cross of innovation centre Icehouse said this year's finalists were the most articulate group the panel had judged.
"The passion of these people is phenomenal.”
MedRecruit Sam Hazledine – young entrepreneur
Sky TV founder Craig Heatley – master entrepreneur
NZ Tax Refunds Cilla Hegarty – service category winner
BayCity Communications Barry Payne – technology and emerging industries category winner
Rakon Brent Robinson – product category winne
- © Fairfax NZ News
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