Written on the 13 July 2011


A COMPANY responsible for speeding up insurance claims and repairs for cyclone and flood-affected Queenslanders has scored a double whammy at the Telstra Business Awards last night after being crowned the state’s Business of the Year and picking up the Panasonic Australia Medium Business Award.

Stream Group founder Don McKenzie (pictured) was also crowned Trailblazer of the Year in the 2010 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards – a Brisbane Business News initiative (2011 nominations now open).

McKenzie says the award was particularly significant, given the company’s humble beginnings.

“We’re fortunate that we get to help people in need and we get paid for it – insurance claims can be very stressful and we’ve had significant growth with staff numbers increasing from 122 to 145 since the beginning of the year,” he says.

“We had humble beginnings and started off in a little office next to a tattoo parlour in north Brisbane and at 5pm we had to lock everything up and wait for the burnouts to subside. In 2008, when we got our first job, we ended up doing 2000 jobs and this financial year just finished, we did 35,600 jobs.

“We’re a people business and to succeed, we try and ensure that when our staff comes to work, that it’s not like work, it’s something new and we try and perpetuate that through the business. From here, we’re looking at moving into a range of different areas.”

After almost closing the doors of her business for good two and a half years ago, director of Flash Fotos Melanie Schwartze was rewarded after picking up the MYOB Small Business Award and Telstra Regional Business Award.

“Just two and a half years ago, we thought we’d have to close our doors, so I’m very proud that instead, we quadrupled our turnover and it was during that time that I learned the most about business. As a single mum, it was never going to be easy, but I made a decision to succeed and we now deliver photography to regional areas all over Australia,” says Schwartze.

“The photography industry in itself had a downturn of 15 per cent in the last year, and the majority of photographers don’t earn more than $32k per year. Last year, we had more than 250,000 customers and we had a turnover of close to $3 million.

“I believe we achieved a breakthrough when we stopped worrying about what our competitors did. We embraced our new motto, which was ‘amateurs compete, and professionals create’, it was then that we stopped blaming others for our failures and we took responsibility for everything we did - the good things and the bad things.”


Business Owner Micro-Business Award
JADE Corporate & Community Development

AMP Innovation Award
Zehnder Gluten Free

Yellow Pages Social Responsibility Award
Samies Girl Seafoods

The BlackBerry People’s Choice Award
VetShop Australia






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