Marlborough businessman Stephen Doecke has received an Icehouse award, recognising him as an outstanding champion.
The award is only the third Icehouse award to be presented in the past 13 years.
Doecke, insurance director of Asset Insurance Brokers in Blenheim, was handed the award at an informal gathering in Auckland last week.
Australian-born Doecke said he was "quite rapt" to be recognised for the work he had done in the region as an ambassador for the Icehouse think tank.
"It's always nice to be recognised . . . it was just their way of saying thanks.
"It was the first time a lot of them had seen an Australian stuck for words."
Icehouse provides support to owner-managers and entrepreneurs. It offers expertise, networks and access to funding for businesses and supports and helps them lift their performance.
Doecke, also a Bohally Intermediate board member, had been involved with Icehouse for the past five years, after attending a conference in Tauranga.
"I thought if I could help my clients be better business people, it would have a flow-on effect."
He has since created an alumni in the region of close to 100 people and being an Icehouse ambassador was his way of giving back to his clients and the community, he said.
He organises and funds the Marlborough-based Icehouse Leadership Development Programme, which is run in association with the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce.
"About 75 Marlborough businesses have gone through the Icehouse Leadership Development Programme . . . some have had huge successes and some have gone on to do the owners and managers programme," he said.
Doecke said he hoped he could bring another course, Business of International Quality, to the region next year.
Doecke, former board member of the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce, said the Icehouse programmes were about allowing people to think more strategically.
"It allows them to focus on what has to be done, because there is a big difference between what has to be done and what needs to be done.
"It's about getting business people to become better business people . . . you can only have a better result if you have a better thought."
The Icehouse aims to lift New Zealand into the top half of the OECD by 2020, and since 2001 has worked with more than 4500 owner-managers.
- The Marlborough Express
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