Over 97% of all businesses in Australia are small businesses and they are the ones that employ over 41% of the business workforce making them the biggest employer in Australia. Yet many small businesses are prone to being affected by changing environments, bureaucracy, rules, regulations and unfair competition. Thus, it is critical to lay the foundations for good policies including ideas, best practices and ease of doing business for small businesses. With that purpose, the Small Business Association of Australia (SBAA) hosted the bi-annual International Small Business Summit at the Sea World Resort from the 10th to 11th June 2021  to bring small businesses together with local and national governments and policy makers, banks and industry to set a scene and create opportunities for the small business sector domestically and globally by fostering relationships and an environment where small businesses can compete and prosper. It was well attended with sessions related to education and training; trade; finance and taxation; technologies; industrial relations; women in business to name a few.

Dr Dhara Shah from the Department of Business Strategy and Innovation in the Griffith Business School was one of the keynote speakers within the education and training sessions where she discussed how her Sisters Project empowered vulnerable and disadvantaged women over 50 years to become small business owners through training, coaching and support and grants with the purpose of making them self-sufficient and contributing to the economy. It was well received. She was also a moderator for the women in business session, where some thought provoking topics were discussed and brought to light the challenges women business owners experiences which are different to their male counterparts. There were shared stories of determination, passion, self-belief, resilience and persuasiveness and successes of some amazing women in business.

The Summit had many other Griffith University academics who were either keynote speakers or moderators for sessions including Professor Brett Freudenberg, Dr Carla Riverola, Dr Melissa Belle Isle, Dr Sara Ekberg, Dr Julienne Senyard to name a few.

Dr Shah said ‘These forums are very critical as it brings together government, policy makers, educators, industry and the small business owners to discuss the real challenges and find solutions for the same.’


Dr Dhara Shah