National Small Business Summit: Business leaders to debate innovation in Brisbane

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Who are the innovators? This is a question which plagues industries across the globe and has been prevalent in Australia since Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced his innovation plans.

Nonetheless, who or what are they and how do they help small business? At COSBOA’s annual Vodafone National Small Business Summit, taking place in Brisbane, 6 – 8 July, leaders and policy makers will come together to answer this question to allow the small business community to thrive long into the future.

On Thursday 7th July, Vodafone Australia’s General Manager of Business, Andrew Chanmugam, will lead the session at the Summit, ‘Who are the innovators,’ with Robert Gerrish of Flying Solo and Kim Houghton of Regional Australia Institute.

The session will see business leaders draw upon their experience to share their insights and strategies in order to stay ahead of the curve. Vodafone will discuss how they are driving innovative solutions to disrupt other major telcos, and offer better choice and service to the market, in particular small to medium-sized business (SMBs).

Chanmugam states that by 2019, $774 million will come out of cloud based technology for SMBs, with services from building a website, to data storage and security, team management and more. Therefore it is imperative that small businesses have services and technologies that surpass their current need and enable growth.

“Increasingly, the businesses which are successful are those who embrace technology to better what they do,” said Chanmugam.

“While farmers in Australia aren’t able to compete with the cheap labour of Asian farms, they’re instead now able to utilise technology to remotely deploy tasks, such as water irrigation systems, cattle monitoring and gate operation.”

“This is just one example of how Australian small businesses are using technology to compete on the global scale.”

Vodafone research indicates that SMBs who harness the power of technology can deliver three times more satisfied customers and a 20 percent higher turnover then those SMBs who don’t take on that technology.

Paul Nielsen, Chairman of COSBOA says, “It is detrimental for any business not to be innovative nowadays – it is not unusual for even the most established industries to be ‘shaken’ by innovation, take the hotel industry for example with the emergence of Airbnb.”

“The three million strong small business community, which employs around five million people in Australia, needs to ensure that innovative processes and technologies are being adopted to remain competitive, ensuring future relevance and success, or risk falling behind,” said Nielsen.

Also speaking at the Summit Session will be Robert Gerrish, Founder, Flying Solo, a unique initiative to provide support to solo and micro businesses via a community of 85,000 members. Mr Gerrish joined COSBOA in 2015 and will share insights from his experience in business coaching and consulting and ways in which SMBs can develop their ideal business.