The Hon Bruce Billson earned the reputation of being a ‘champion of small business’ and "arguably one of Australia’s most passionate Small Business Ministers.
As a Treasury portfolio Cabinet Minister, Bruce spearheaded that Abbott Government’s SME agenda to ‘energise enterprise’, leading the formulation of the 2015 Federal Budget's Jobs and Small Business package to boost entrepreneurship; reforms to competition policy and law; unfair contract terms protections for small business; repair of employee share schemes laws; a new crowd-sourced equity funding framework; and industry code reforms for franchising and the food & grocery sector.
Bruce was an undefeated 7-term member of the Australian House of Representatives, where he was a passionate and driven advocate the Dunkley community where he grew up and has raised his family. He was a Howard Government Minister and parliamentary secretary across a diverse array of portfolios including veterans affairs, defence personnel, foreign affairs, international development, trade, indigenous affairs and immigration and multicultural affairs. Bruce was also shadow Minister for broadband, telecommunications and the digital economy.
These days Bruce continues to work to support the success of other small businesses as founder/principal of strategic advisory firm, Agile Advisory; Executive Chairman of the Franchise Council of Australia; non-Executive Director of 'challenger' small business bank' Judo Capital , and as Deakin University's Director of Small Business & Enterprise and chair of the Deakin/IPA SME Research Centre advisory council.
He is also a Board member of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and patron of local Vietnam Veterans and National Servicemen's associations.
Rachel Gill from Inspired Momentum is a small business coach and marketing specialist from the Mornington Peninsula, who is passionate about everything small business. Small business is what comes naturally to Rachel, who is surrounded by an entrepreneurial family.
Rachel has been providing advice and support to the small business community for over 15 years. Focusing her attention when working with clients, on low cost marketing strategies that really work, effective goal setting for business success, how to really understand customers and retain them for a lifetime of business value and providing practical business management advice.
Rachel’s clients range across many industries and are typically business owners who are specialists in their own “trade” however, find the mechanics of running a business a little challenging.
Rachel’s message to the small business community about digital marketing is: “Digital marketing is no longer a choice for business owners. The Small Business Community understand the basics of how to achieve an effective social media and web presence, to gain visibility in the market place”. Having studied a Graduate Certificate in Digital Marketing, Rachel shares her knowledge and experience of social media marketing and online presence in an easy to understand format (eg. NO tech talk).
I worked my way from sales and customer service to be COO of Myfreight.
After 20 years I wanted to get out of freight and logistics, but my frustration with home deliveries outweighed my desire to leave the industry, so Passel was born.
At home, there are 4 children, a very understanding and patient wife in Jackie, a few animals and a bucketload of Star Wars Lego.
Passel is a crowdsourced delivery service utilising a combination of location-awareness and artificial intelligence to provide inexpensive, convenient and delightful on-demand deliveries for retailers. Founded in Frankston in 2016, by June 2018 we expect to be delightfully delivering in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Nicci is the founder of Exaptec. She is passionate about client service and always making sure that every robot solution that we deploy is the right technology that will in a humanistic way deliver value to our clients requirements and needs and make their life easier. Nicci can charm the hind leg off any Robot without blushing - even the T-1 and T-20.
Joe Benson has over 35 years experience in a range of industries including information technology, financial services, aviation and business consulting. He has held directorships with Norwich Union and Challenger Financial Services as well as owning and operating a number of small businesses. Joe currently provides consulting services to a wide array of clients from large corporates through to SMEs. His areas of specialty include business management, information systems, workflow management, business strategies, marketing and financial management.
Melanie leads a research group in Optimisation and Financial Risk Analytics in CSIRO Data61, who are currently working on projects in manufacturing in Australia and the US, as well as optimisation and logistics. The focus is on building situational awareness and hence decision support tools from diverse data, which is one of the pillars of Industry 4.0. Melanie's previous research has included understanding the socio-technical factors around systems to support capability discovery, and data science for Rio Tinto's railways in the Pilbarra. Melanie has been the project leader for CSIRO's very own dating site for small business, ASPIRE, since 2014.
Exaptec leads the way with Robotic Automation Solutions and Applications world-wide!
At Exaptec we are passionate about robot technology and are excited by how they are changing the way we work, learn and play, and how they are co-evolving with us as an extension of our lives. We work closely with our Clients to utilise robotic hardware and software components to unlock New Business Models that deliver tremendous benefits and value.
Paul McManus – Co-Founder and General Manager, Meshed
Paul has over 25 year’s experience in senior IT, Telecommunications and Sales Management roles, with companies like Dimension Data, Data#3, Com Tech Communications as well as building and selling start-ups.
Paul recently left Upstream Solutions, a Fuji-Xerox company after 15 years and has been a key player in the growth of Upstream from a small start-up to a major Australian company of more than 350 staff and over $100 million in turnover. Paul now joins Meshed to drive the growth of the business.
Simon Wilson - Director and Founder of Decentralize
With a background primarily in Financial Services Technology Simon has over ten years’ experience working for and with leading Australian banks in both a global and domestic capacity.
His role has spanned many areas of Technology including a position with NAB as their joint working group lead for Blockchain Technology and strategy. This role comprised; group education, evangelising of the technology opportunity and threats, development of business opportunities as well as contribution, establishment and execution of many Blockchain related experiments, PoC’s, Pilots, collaborations and partnerships.
A passionate and active leader in the Blockchain community both locally and abroad Simon has hosted several Blockchain Melbourne meetups, and has been a speaker at Blockchain Summit 2017/2018, Blockchain APAC Summit 2018 and appeared on various Blockchain panels. He has also previously been invited to host workshops on Blockchain Technology in Dubai, Malaysia, and India.
Simon is a member of the advisory board for the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA), is an active member of the ASEAN Association of Crypto-currency Enterprises and Start-ups (ACCESS), the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and the MIT FinTech community and is an advisor to the ‘SlaveFreeTrade – World Blockchain Academy for girls’ initiative.
In 2018 Simon founded Decentralize.
Simon is known by clients for his pragmatic, strategic and structured approach to distilling and solving complex problems as well as his passion for Blockchain technologies and investing.
Danielle Storey - CEO, Eastern Innovation Business Centre (EIBC)
Danielle Storey is the CEO of the Eastern Innovation Business Centre (EIBC) a not-for-profit organisation in Monash. She and the team work with dozens of Founders of Accelerating Ventures, Future-Focussed Professional Service Providers and Corporate Innovators to grow their Ventures and businesses.Danielle is also the co-owner and Marketing Director of the international, success story The Cartridge Family, Image Nation and TonerMART – where she has created systems in Customer Delight in an industry that is strongly price driven with narrow margins.She is a mentor and professional speaker and is an outstanding storyteller with a humorous approach to imparting her strategies and loves to share easy-to-implement processes that deliver genuine results for her clients. She has proven successful management experience and is a testament to the power of achievement based on effective modelling and self-development.
Born with an extremely curious nature, constantly pursuing the core meaning of everything around me, the thirst for explanations was to be my denoting characteristic. From an irritating kid to the grown adult I am today, I dare say not much has changed but now I take solace in the fulfilment I get from facilitating innovative ideas to hundreds and eventually thousands of people. Changing the way our members live, engage and interact via the creation of network streams to what was once un-accessible.
Whozcookn is a wonderful community food hub and go to place for authentic and multicultural foods. We have something for everyone from an online food sharing community, where one can view daily food posts from the many kitchens around Australia as well as share their own creations, share and receive recipes, gain feedback, plus updates to upcoming food events.
In addition, for the foodies with a hunger for learning, we run fun and exciting cooking workshops, each with a different themed cuisine, cook and setting. This is a great way for our members to connect with not only the brand, but with other like-minded individuals who wish to take away some invaluable cooking experience. We run workshops ranging from small home dinner party’s to large scale corporate events, inclusive of team building and networking activities.
Our third component to Whozcookn is our mobile application which connects the foodies to the passionate and talented cooks. It’s an easy to use platform that has been designed to make sourcing and purchasing quality foods a breeze, providing all the necessary information before purchase. The app is a great way for the inspiring cook to get noticed and establish their very own food venture, with all the support they need from Whozcookn.
Taylor Tran is an author, speaker and tech promoter with 20 years global experience in technology and services. Taylor has mentored startups with the Founder Institute of Silicon Valley and several other start-ups, in blockchain, AI and services start-ups. Taylor is passionate about building entrepreneurship ecosystems and designing pathways for connecting to start-ups, coworking spaces and accelerators. Taylor has played a major role in advising government on digital innovation and startupstrategies and is currently involved in a number of key ecosystem initiatives.
AMANDA HARDY - MANAGING DIRECTOR OF TWO ACRE FINANCE
Amanda believes she is one of the lucky ones – spending her days doing what she loves the most – helping others achieve their financial dreams and goals.
Helping others find their own ‘Two Acres’.
Amanda recognises each individual client scenario is different. There is no ‘one size fits all’ method when it comes to finance. Her strategic approach ensures that your immediate and future planned goals are at the core of her loan recommendation.
With ten years lending experience, Amanda’s enthusiasm for all things finance has not waned. She is embarrassed to admit that she gets genuinely excited by a bank product that can save her clients money.
And she’ll happily pick up the phone to tell you all about it.
Her clients, on the other hand, love her for it. After all, who wouldn’t want to save money and pay off their loan quicker?
With a husband and two young children, family plays a big focus in Amanda’s life. She understands the balancing act of work and family and will happily adjust to suit her client’s commitments to make the process as smooth and easy as possible for them.
Phil is the Co-Founder of Marketing Entourage, a marketing consultancy that helps purpose-driven businesses transform and grow. Marketing Entourage helps businesses, not-for-profits, government and startups create amazing customer experiences for their customers to ensure they can build brand loyalty and business growth.
He is also co-founder of Entrepreneurs&Co., a social enterprise that provides a collaborative community to enable startups and entrepreneurs achieve success. Phil's other roles include Pitch Mentor for Startup Victoria, Global Ambassador for Inspiring Rare Birds and regular panelist/judge/MC/speaker for events.
He is passionate about marketing and the importance of creating a human-centred strategy to ensure that businesses achieve the results they desire. As Abraham Lincoln once said “Give me six hours to cut down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe’.
Workshop overview – Digital Strategy: Do you want to attract, convert and retain more of your ideal customers? This one hour session will help you develop your own digital strategy, with tools and techniques to help create your own plan to reach customers and grow your business.
Phil Ore will lead the session to share the steps to consider to build an effective digital strategy.
Fabian thrives in simplifying complexity. Fabian is a senior executive and organisation leader, highly experienced in successful strategy formulation, organisational transformation and realisation of results in competitive customer focused environments.
Fabian has held various leadership positions for Siemens, Nokia and Hewlett Packard across four continents, including responsibility for operations, strategy and business development across ANZ and Asia Pacific, and has consulted to over 40 Australian SMEs in the Digital/ICT/Professional Services and Manufacturing space.
Fabian offers extensive experience across multiple industry sectors including telecommunications, IT, manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, professional services and finance. He is adept at applying and transferring business models and learnings across industries and has an exceptional achievement record through a disciplined, methodical and inclusive approach.
Fabian is a dual Australian and German citizen, holds a Masters of Business Administration from the EBS University of Business and Law (Germany) and has completed studies in Finance, Economics and Marketing at UC Berkeley, Babson College, Boston and Universidad Argentina de la Empresa, Buenos Aires.
DAVID THOMAS - MANAGING DIRECTOR OF D3 BUILDING DESIGN
David has been the Owner and Director of d3 for 12 years and has over 22 years experience in the building industry, working with some of Melbourne's most renowned architects, designers and builders. All of his knowledge and experience is now forwarded onto d3 staff and clients. David is well regarded for his strong working relationships, which are of fundamental importance, maintaining a unique close involvement with all d3 projects. Living on the Mornington Peninsula with his wife and three children, David is passionate about creating lifestyle homes within the stunning surrounds of the Peninsula.
“I love living on the Mornington Peninsula and I love what I do. I am passionate about architecture & achieving our clients dreams”.
Darth Vader, minties and optical alignment — these are a few of his favourite things. He is a man of precision, pixel perfection and truly a leader in the craft. But he knows he is still a student, and often consults the greats, like Massimo Vignelli and Josef Müller-Brockmann. Captivated by Swiss design and the principals of modern typography. He has come directly from some of the best Melbourne design studios, and decided to go out on his own in 2011, when he and Clarrissa founded Design by Bird.
With over 10 years of experience in the IT working in various roles in different industries. Some experience highlight includes:
Software development at the RBA working on inter-banking and counterfeiting evaluation system team leader of Application Support at David Jones technical engineer with one of the leading Video Cloud technology company Recently moved into the blockchain and cryptocurrency space working with Crypto Services Australia taking on the role of CTO. Providing technology direction and innovation to drive the business mission and vision.
Personally invested and experienced in cryptocurrency mining and trading. Involved with an online community for cryptocurrency and also run a community on Slack with more than 70 members.