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Small business leaders highlight the path ahead at SmallBiz Week

Last week the small business community in Melbourne gathered at SmallBiz Week’s Business Leaders Luncheon to hear from SME leaders from major Australian companies and peak bodies representing the interests of small to medium businesses. After a Covid-induced pause to live small business events, especially in Melbourne, the SME community was ready to re-engage with business leaders and hear from industry experts. The Business Leaders Luncheon speakers addressed critical issues facing small business in 2022, including rising inflation and cost of living, while combatting worker shortages and funding requirements. 

SmallBiz Week was presented by Commonwealth Bank and sponsored by Optus. It was hosted at the Medallion Club at Marvel Stadium. Key speakers provided insights to the small business community and answered questions directly from the audience.

Bruce Billson, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO), discussed how the government can better support small and mediums businesses, the importance of supporting female-led small businesses, and how covid affected the small business sector.

Michael Vacy-Lyle, Group Executive, Business Banking of Commonwealth Bank Australia, further explained financial challenges faced by small businesses during covid and discussed growth opportunities for small businesses post-covid.


Sunny Bhatia, Director of 5G Edge and Innovation of Optus, gave a keynote on how small businesses can embrace emerging technologies, such as 5G, to grow and prosper.

Business Leaders Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Clare Morgan, Executive General Manager, Small Business Banking, Commonwealth Bank Australia

  • Alexi Boyd, CEO, COSBOA

  • Sunny Bhatia, Director, 5G Edge and Innovation, Optus

  • Lynda McAlary-Smith, Commissioner, Victorian Small Business Commission

  • (Moderator) Vivienne Ryan, Co-Founder – Gravia Media, Host ABF Vision TV

Discussing how small businesses can combat rising inflation and cost of living challenges, small business economic outlook, digitalisation, key challenges facing small business and solutions, differences between challenges of regional SMEs vs. metropolitan, how government and society can better support the SME sector, key growth industry sectors.

Panel discussion was followed by a riveting Q&A where the audience was able to directly ask these small business leaders and peak bodies questions relating to their own businesses and experiences post covid.



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