Vodafone National Small Business Summit 2018

Welcome from the CEO

We had a fabulous Summit in 2017 and we will continue to grow on the outcomes to develop better policies in our 2018 Summit.

This will be the 16th Small Business Summit and will be attended by people who are important to our sector. This normally includes the Australian Tax Commissioner, the Deputy Chair of the ACCC and the heads of the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Fair Work Commission. We also feature key politicians such as the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and our Small Business Minister.

Importantly, we also have the leaders of industry associations who represent the people that run businesses in various sectors of the Australian economy.

Small business owners employ over 4.5 million people and are a major part of the economy, as well as contributing members of our local communities. Small business people provide our society with the capability to innovate and to deal with adversity quicker than big business. We also provide the difference between communities.  We are as much a part of our culture as we are our economy. We make the difference.

In 2017 we famously signed an MOU with the Business Council of Australia and the BCA will report with us on progress of the MOU. It is important that we send a clear message to the Australian public that while we disagree on some things and while some businesses, big and small do the wrong thing, that well over 95% of all businesses do the right thing and contribute to our society through jobs, wealth creation and support for our needy citizens.  The story of business is a positive and constructive story.

COSBOA is committed to providing a voice for small business. We will be closer to an election in August 2018 and we can focus on the policies we want to be at the front and centre for all political parties. At the Summit, we look forward to discussing our policies on workplace relations, the collection of superannuation and paid parental leave, contract law and competition policy, women in business and burdensome compliance and regulation demands on small business people.

The 2018 Summit will connect all the key stakeholders - small business, senior politicians as well as bureaucrats and big business representatives - in a three way exchange of minds in our advancements to debate policy and build productivity for the betterment of our people.

Peter Strong


Council of Small Business Australia
The Council of Small Business Australia is the country’s peak body exclusively representing the interests of small businesses.

Principal Sponsor


Fleur Anderson

Director of Business Development, 89 Degrees East 

After 20 years as a journalist with Australia’s leading newspapers, Fleur followed Dr Seuss’s career advice to go where “it’s opener out there, in the wide open air”.

Fleur is senior strategist and director of business development at the Canberra-based strategic communication firm 89 Degrees East, and the author of On Sleep, published by Melbourne University Publishing.

Before joining 89 Degrees East, Fleur was a senior political journalist and parliamentary sketch writer with The Australian Financial Review, a regular panellist on ABC’s Insiders, Vice-President of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery and a founding member of the Canberra branch of Women in Media.

John Barilaro

Deputy Premier

John Barilaro was born in Queanbeyan, NSW to Italian migrant parents who arrived in Australia in 1968. Their hard working and selfless approach was an example which instilled in him strong values of family and community service.

He is the proud Member for the Monaro and in 2016 was elected Leader of the NSW Nationals and Deputy Premier of NSW. He is the Minister for Regional NSW, Skills and Small Business, bringing a ‘hands on’ understanding and passion to his portfolios.

The Deputy Premier strongly believes in supporting a thriving business economy, building a skilled workforce for the future and investing in communities across regional NSW.

In the 2017-18 NSW Budget, John delivered a $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund to turbo-charge regional economies across the state – giving community’s choice in selecting the local infrastructure projects they want and need.  

A passionate advocate for Vocational Education and Training (VET), John has started a successful campaign to change the perceptions around VET and make sure we have the skilled workforce needed to keep up with the massive investment by the NSW Government in infrastructure and technology.

The NSW Nationals Leader is overseeing one of the biggest investments in regional NSW in the state’s history and believes in fighting every day to make sure that regional NSW gets its fair share.

Lisa Belcher

Vice President of Small Merchants JAPA, Amercian Express

Lisa Belcher is the Vice President of Small Merchant JAPA for American Express.  In this role, Lisa is responsible for the health of the Small Merchant network across the Asia-Pacific region. 

Her team develops and implements innovative strategies that centre on customer segmentation, system capabilities and delivery of highly engaging marketing programs, including Shop Small and Card Member Favourite, with the objective of improving merchant satisfaction. 

Lisa also leads high performing sales channels including face to face field sales, outbound client management, and trigger based engagement and acquisition channels in Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand.  Lisa has a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School in New York.

Chris Black

Director of Policy and Projects, 89 Degrees East

Chris Black has almost 25 years experience in researching, writing and analysing social policy. She is the Director of Policy and Projects at 89 Degrees East, a strategic communications agency with offices in Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Byron Bay and Sydney.  

Recent clients include the National Disability Insurance Agency, the Stillbirth Centre for Research Excellence, Department of Social Services and the Victorian Department of Education and Training.
Chris has a Masters of Social Policy from the University of Melbourne and recently graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) director’s course.  She is currently a Board member for the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and has previously served on the Boards of Yarra Community Housing and Deakin University.

Chris Bowen

Shadow Treasurer, Shadow Minister for Small Business

Chris Bowen entered Parliament in 2004 and has held a wide range of portfolios including serving as Treasurer, Minister for Human Services, Minister for Immigration, Minister for Financial Services, Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Competition Policy, Minister for Small Business and Minister for Tertiary Education.   Chris has been responsible for a range of significant policy reform programs in these portfolios.

He served as Interim Leader of the Labor Party and Acting Leader of the Opposition following the 2013 Federal election and has been Shadow Treasurer since 2013 and Shadow Minister for Small Business since 2018.

Chris is served on Fairfield Council for nine years is a former Mayor and President of the Western Sydney Councils (WSROC).

He has a Bachelor of Economics, a Masters in International Relations and a Graduate Diploma in Modern Languages (Bahasa Indonesia). He lives in Smithfield with his wife (Rebecca) , two children (Grace and Max) and Ollie the Labrador.

Kate Carnell

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) 

Kate Carnell commenced her role as Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) in March 2016. 

Kate brings extensive experience and knowledge to the role of Ombudsman, having run her own small businesses for 15 years before becoming ACT Chief Minister in 1995 for a five year period.

Prior to her appointment as the inaugural ASBFEO, Kate held the position of CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which represents more than 300,000 businesses across Australia. She has also served two years as CEO of beyondblue, four years as CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, four years as CEO of the Australian General Practice Network (AGPN) and three years as CEO of the National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI).

Kate is a pharmacist by profession and was the inaugural chair of the ACT Branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the first female to become the National VicePresident of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. 
Kate was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006 for her services to the community through contributions to economic development and support for the business sector, knowledge industries, the medical sector and medical technology advances.

Leanne Faulkner

Small Business Mental Health Advocate, Founder, Fortitude at Work

In 2004 Leanne founded her small business, Billie Goat Soap. Billie Goat Soap was awarded the NSW Business Chamber President’s Prize in 2009, and was acknowledged with the Excellence in Small Business Growth Award in the same year. In 2010 the business was the Myer Supplier of the Yearin General Cosmetics. Billie Goat Soap was sold to The Heat Group in February 2012. 

Leanne understands the strains and pressures faced by small/medium business owners today, with her own lived experience growing her business. Today she advocates for more mental health resources to support small business owners, and works as a business mentor and university lecturer. She knows how to combine business growth strategies with wellness initiatives to make owning a growing a small business stress free. Leanne offers an innovative coaching service called Walk ‘n Work on the Central Coast of NSW.

When not working directly with small business owners, Leanne consults on a range of wellbeing initiatives developed by both government agencies and corporates. She has worked with the ATO, the Victorian Small Business Commissioner, Everymind and Beyondblue. She is in a unique position to be able to share a range of resources with other small business owners to support them on their business journey.

Leanne was awarded the COSBOA Business Champion Award for 2015 in recognition of the work she has done in the small business sector to raise awareness of wellbeing issues and resources needed. Her website, Fortitude at Work has been named in the Smart Company Top 20 business blogs, 2015 and 2016. Fairfax newspapers identified her as one of the top nine female influential entrepreneurs in 2016 for her work in the small business/mental health sector.  

Richard Flanagan

Head of Business Marketing, Google Australia and New Zealand

Richard Flanagan is Head of Business Marketing at Google Australia & New Zealand where he is focused on helping businesses of all sizes succeed in the digital economy. He is charged with driving awareness and adoption of Google Ads and Google My Business. He launched The Digital Garage, Google’s digital skills training platform to enable business owners, job seekers and students to learn the skills needed for today’s economy. He has been with Google for over 10 years working in Dublin and Tokyo before joining the Sydney office in 2010. He holds a BA magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in International Relations and French and an MBA from INSEAD.


Ticky Fullerton

Presenter, Sky News

Ticky Fullerton is the anchor of Sky News flagship business show Ticky- ‘where business and politics meets’. The program features politicians, top floor business people, economists and regulators nightly. 

Ticky is an award winning journalist and a household name in Australian business circles. She joined Sky News in 2017. In its first year, the program broke the news on the top budget story, the bank levy and also picked up two prestigious News Corp awards, for Best Business Coverage and Best Scoop.

With over twenty years in television at Sky News and the ABC, Ticky was also an investment banker with CS First Boston in the UK and Australia for a decade. She’s a director of the Australia British Chamber of Commerce and a former director of the CRC for irrigation futures. She has a law degree from Oxford.

Helen Gordon

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Finance Industry Association

Helen Gordon is the Chief Executive Officer of AFIA. Helen has been part of the Association for several decades in various capacities and together with her Team advocates on behalf of more than 100 leading providers of consumer, commercial and wholesale credit on a variety of laws which impact their operations.This has seen her involved in lobbying government at both the Commonwealth and State levels to ensure their policy development and regulation reform will have a practical and relevant application for the finance industry and its customers.

Helen is a member of the Finance Industry Council of Australia and the AFIA representative on a range of government consultation groups including various Commonwealth Treasury and ASIC Stakeholder Forums. She utilises her legal background together with her qualifications from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and involvement with Women & Leadership Australia in her role.  


Margaret Hennessy

Owner/Director at DOGUE Retail Group

Margaret joined DOGUE in April 2005, when it was a single boutique in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney selling high end, stylish and unique dog products. Margaret's vision was to expand DOGUE around Australia. Under Margaret’s leadership, DOGUE has become a successful and profitable business, grown to eight stores, a stunning Retreat in the Southern Highlands and a growing online presence. DOGUE is set to become Australia's leading boutique dog retailer and service provider. All boutiques offer retail, grooming and day care.

Prior to joining DOGUE, Margaret spent over twelve years’ as a business and change management consultant designing and delivering business improvement projects while with two leading consultancies: Coopers & Lybrand Consulting (now IBM Business Consulting Services) and PA Consulting. 

Margaret moved away from corporate consulting in 2001 to travel and to gain hands on experience in a line manager role. Margaret has been a manager with two business to business service organisations: Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Australian Business Limited (ABL) in Sydney. Margaret has a Bachelor in Economics (Social Sciences) in which she majored in economics and psychology and a Graduate Certificate in Change Management from the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM).

Chris Jordan 

Commissioner of Taxation, Australian Taxation Office

Chris Jordan was appointed as the Commissioner of Taxation on 1 January 2013.

Chris has broad experience in tax policy and law development and implementation, having held influential roles in the private sector and as a government advisor to both Labor and Coalition governments.

He was the Chair of the Board of Taxation from June 2011 to December 2012 and a member of the Board since its inception in 2000.  He also served as Chair of the Business Tax Working Group from 2011-2012 and as Chair of the New Tax System Advisory Board (1999-2001) which advised the government on the implementation of the GST. He was a member of the Policy Transition Group that consulted with the mining industry about the resource rent tax (2011-12).

Chris had over 30 years of experience in the professional services sector and was Chairman of Partners for KPMG New South Wales from 2001 to 2012 giving him a broad perspective and insight into leadership, business and regulatory issues.

Until taking up his role as Commissioner of Taxation, Chris was the Chairman of the Committee for Sydney, a Director of the Bell Shakespeare Company and the Sydney Childrens’ Hospital Foundation as well as a member of the Audit and Risk Committee for the NSW Art Gallery.

Chris has a Master of Laws (Sydney University) and Bachelors of Commerce and Law (University of NSW).

He is a Chartered Tax Adviser of the Tax Institute and a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.


Basil Karam

Co-founder & CEO, Life Interiors

Basil is an entrepreneur with a track record of starting, growing and scaling high-growth technology enabled businesses. With more than 17 years experience delivering complex technology solutions, his expertise branches the fields of retail, technology and digital marketing. 

Basil is co-founder and CEO of Life Interiors, a leading vertically integrated omni-channel furniture and homewares retailer on a mission to offer great design at an affordable price across its retail, e-commerce channels while also seamlessly powering Australia's largest furniture and homewares marketplaces including Temple and Webster (ASX: TPW), Your Home Depot (ASX: HT8) and Zanui (ETR:RKET)

Prior to Life Interiors, Basil worked at IBM implementing WebSphere e-business solutions across Telstra before moving to pureprofile to be part of the founding technical team that launched the revolutionary pureprofile platform across Australia, United Kingdom and the US (ASX: PPL)


Greg Kenyon 

General Manager People & Culture, Tandem Corporation

Greg has worked in the Telecommunications industry for over 40 years. With Skilled Engineering in 1994 to 2004, he was part of the Executive Team that assembled the Project Teams that built the Telstra and Optus HFC Networks in NSW, Vic & SA. Later with Service Stream (2004 – 2010) he was Executive General Manager Human Resources, engaging subcontractors across a range of industries.

Now with ISGM (trading as TANDEM) since 2010 he is General Manager in the People & Culture Team specialising in Industrial Relations. In 2014 he Project managed the introduction of over 400 new subcontractors onto Tandem’s Telco Business Unit. As a result Tandem reached the finals, in 3 different States, for Group Training Industry Collaboration Awards in NSW, SA and Victoria in 2014.

Greg professes a deep desire to ensure that new subcontractors understand their business risks up front…and they have a realistic opportunity to succeed as small business entities.

Mick Keogh 

ACCC Commissioner 

Event Properties

Event Date 30/08/2018
Event End Date 31/08/2018
Swissotel Sydney
68 Market St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Swissotel Sydney
Share this event:

Contact Us


PO Box 2144