SME Conference

10:00am to 4:30pm, Friday 16 March 2018

International Convention Centre, Sydney

The SME Conference is a unique opportunity for Australian small-and-medium sized enterprises to tap into expertise and obtain advice from regional specialists, business leaders and successful exporters brought together to share their knowledge and insights. Expert facilitator, Ms Tamerlaine Beasley, will be the event’s master of ceremonies, overseeing a high profile line up of experts from diverse industry, government and business backgrounds.

By attending, you will also have access to a Marketplace that will run alongside the SME Conference, from 8:30am – 4:00pm. At the Marketplace, you can obtain tailored and practical advice about getting started or expanding in ASEAN. Find out more about the Marketplace, including the government agencies, peak industry bodies and trade promotion offices you can meet with.

With the close of the SME Conference at 4:30pm, delegates will be invited to join us for a networking reception as the sun sets over Darling Harbour.


SME Conference Program

Joint opening address: Prime Minister of Australia and Prime Minister of Singapore

Malcolm Turnbull
The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP
Prime Minister of Australia

Malcolm Turnbull is the 29th Prime Minister of Australia.

He was born in Sydney on the 24th of October 1954 and was educated at Vaucluse Public School and Sydney Grammar School.

Following his graduation from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Arts/Laws he won a Rhodes Scholarship and completed a Bachelor of Civil Laws at Oxford.

He has worked as a journalist and a barrister before moving into investment banking and establishing Turnbull & Partners before moving to become managing director of Goldman Sachs Australia.

Elected on 9 October 2004 as the Member for Wentworth he has served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Minister for the Environment and Water, Minister for Communications as well as Shadow Treasurer and Leader of the Opposition.

He was elected the leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister on 14 September 2015 and was re-elected as Prime Minister of Australia at the Federal Election on 2 July 2016.

Malcolm and Lucy continue to live in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, they have two children, Alex and Daisy, and three grandchildren, Jack, Isla and Alice.

PM Lee Hsien Loong
H.E. Lee Hsien Loong
Prime Minister of Singapore

Lee Hsien Loong has been Singapore’s Prime Minister since 2004.

Mr Lee is the Secretary-General of the People’s Action Party (PAP). He led PAP to three consecutive Singapore General Elections victories in 2006, 2011 and 2015. He was first elected Member of Parliament (MP) in 1984, and has been re-elected seven times, most recently as an MP for the Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency.

Mr Lee also chairs GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council, an international panel that provides strategic direction for Singapore’s Research and Development efforts.

As Prime Minister, he launched SkillsFuture to support Singaporeans in embracing lifelong learning and skills, and the Smart Nation initiative to use technology to create a future of better living, more opportunities and stronger communities.

Before becoming Prime Minister, Mr Lee had held various Ministerial appointments, including being Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Minister for Trade and Industry and Second Minister for Defence. He was concurrently the Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore from 1998 until 2004.

Before joining politics, Mr Lee had served in the Singapore Armed Forces, retiring as a Brigadier-General.

Mr Lee graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics and a Diploma in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge. He was later a Mason Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, receiving a Master in Public Administration.

Mr Lee was born on 10 February 1952. He married Dr Wong Ming Yang in 1978, and was widowed in 1982. He remarried Ho Ching in 1985. He has one daughter and three sons.

Mr Lee enjoys reading, photography, walking, listening to classical music, and computer programming.

Keynote address

ASEAN's economies are among the fastest-growing in the world, creating tremendous opportunities for Australian SMEs seeking to expand into the region. Ms Holgate and Ms Chua will draw on their wealth of experience to present their outlook for doing business in ASEAN.

Ms Christine Holgate
Ms Christine Holgate
Chief Executive Officer
Australia Post

Christine Holgate joined Australia Post as Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director on 30 October 2017, after nearly 9 years as the Chief Executive Officer of Blackmores Ltd.

Christine has more than 30 years of diverse international leadership experience in highly regulated industries, including healthcare, media, telecommunications and finance.

She has more than 20 years of public board experience as either a non-executive director or CEO and has held senior management positions in Asia, the Americas and Australia.

Christine is the inaugural Chair of the Board of the Australia-ASEAN Council (which supports the development of trade and cultural relations between Australia and the 10 member countries of the ASEAN region). She also serves on the board of the Collingwood Football Club. Christine's past appointments include time as a non-executive director of Ten Network Holdings Limited.

Ms Chua Sock Koong
Ms Chua Sock Koong
Group Chief Executive Officer
Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel)

Ms Chua Sock Koong is the Group CEO of Singtel, Asia’s leading communications technology group.

Appointed Group CEO in April 2007, Sock Koong directs the Singapore-based multinational’s global strategy and oversees its consumer, enterprise and digital businesses.

Sock Koong joined Singtel in June 1989 as Treasurer before becoming Group Chief Financial Officer in April 1999. She held the positions of Group CFO and CEO, International from February 2006 to 12 October 2006, when she was appointed Deputy Group CEO.

Sock Koong sits on the boards of Bharti Airtel Limited, Bharti Telecom Limited and key subsidiaries of the Singtel Group. She is also a member of the Singapore Management University Board of Trustees and the Public Service Commission in Singapore.

Sock Koong holds a Bachelor of Accountancy (First Class Honours) from the University of Singapore. She is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants and a CFA charterholder.

Session 1

The ASEAN consumer - Market insights

A region-wide perspective of ASEAN brings a sense of scale and opportunity, with a population of more than 637 million people and the economy growing at around 5 per cent each year. The growth of middle class households is driving a substantial increase in consumer demand, and as consumer patterns change, there will be opportunities for Australian exporters in a range of sectors. This expert panel will explore the demographics that are driving ASEAN’s economic growth and identify current and potential future opportunities for SMEs.


Dr Fraser Thompson
Dr Fraser Thompson

Dr. Fraser Thompson is currently President of AustCham ASEAN, which is the peak representative body, to represent Australian business interests in Southeast Asia. It is a “Chamber of Chambers”, representing Australian chambers and business councils in all ASEAN Member States. AustCham ASEAN draws on the extensive membership of the individual business associations, with more than 3,000 corporate members, to assist them in achieving business success through (a) Informing Australian business on regional integration developments and the business landscape; (b) Explaining the contribution of Australian business to ASEAN markets; and (c) Advocating for policies, rules and regulations that support Australian business activities in ASEAN. The Chamber was officially launched by the Australian Prime Minister, the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, in Singapore in June 2017.

Fraser is also a board member of AustCham Singapore; and a former board member of On Purpose, a not-for-profit organization that trains the future leaders of social enterprises, charities, and businesses that aim to engage in socially and environmentally rewarding activities.

Fraser was named an Australian Rhodes Scholar in 2001, and completed a Masters and Doctorate in Economics at Oxford University. He was also a lecturer in economics at Oxford University. After leaving Oxford, Fraser worked at the World Bank, and then at McKinsey & Company for 9 years, beginning in Dubai, and then moving to London and finally Singapore. During this time, Fraser led the McKinsey Global Institute, the economic research arm of McKinsey, in Southeast Asia.

Fraser then left McKinsey to co-found AlphaBeta, an economic strategy firm based in Singapore and Australia, that works with governments, not-for-profits, and corporates on understanding how to better understand the economic, regulatory, and technological forces shaping their markets and develop practical plans on how to respond.

Ms Teresita Sy-Coson
Ms Teresita Sy-Coson
Vice Chair
SM Investments Corporation

Ms Teresita Sy-Coson is the vice chairperson of SM Investments Corporation, a Philippine conglomerate with interests in retail, banking and property development.

She is the chairperson of BDO Unibank (BDO), the Philippines' leading bank, to date.

Her expertise has helped transform the Group's retail business. She is also an adviser to the board of SM Prime Holdings, one of the largest integrated property developers in the Philippines that is into mall, residential and commercial, and leisure and tourism development.

She serves as the vice chairperson of SM Foundation, Inc. (SMFI), which takes the lead in effecting a community impact template that improves the quality of life of its host communities and promotes initiatives to enhance the sustainability of the environment.

Teresita is currently the Philippine representative to the ASEAN Business Advisory Council.

Ms Lê Hoàng Uyên Vy
Ms Lê Hoàng Uyên Vy
General Partner
ESP Ventures

Ms Lê is currently the General Partner of ESP Ventures, a venture capital fund with the mission to support startup companies at early stages in different sectors throughout Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Since 2016, ESP has been backing many innovative companies with proven digital business models that aim to make an impact in the world.

She developed her interest in Information Technology since her young age. At 13, she founded TmSpeed Network, specialized in web design and hosting trading. Her passion for entrepreneurship has empowered her to become a dynamic businesswoman, who is highly committed to excellence and innovation.

In 2009, Vy founded and served as General Manager, developing the website into the largest online fashion shopping center in Vietnam. From 2014 to 2017, she served as Managing Director of, one of the leading e-commerce platforms in Vietnam that offers more than 12 product categories and generates an annual GMV of US $100+ million.

Vy graduated as Valedictorian from McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University in the United States.

Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes CBE
Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes CBE
Group Chief Executive

One of Asia’s most recognisable entrepreneurs, Tony Fernandes is best known for co-founding AirAsia, the region’s first low-cost airline, with Datuk Kamarudin Meranun.

Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin famously bought the ailing airline for a token MYR1 (approximately USD0.25) and MYR40 million in debt, turning it around within two years and growing it from a Malaysian domestic carrier into Asia’s largest low-cost carrier by passengers carried, with operations in five countries serving some 260 routes to more than 120 destinations across Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East and the US.

AirAsia has been named Skytrax World’s Best Low-Cost Airline nine years in a row from 2009 to 2017 as well as the World Travel Awards World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline for four straight years from 2013 to 2016. The airline also won World’s Leading Inflight Service at the 2016 World Travel Awards Grand Final, beating a field of full-service carriers to become the first ever budget airline to secure the accolade.

Fernandes studied at Epsom College and the London School of Economics and Political Science in the UK, and qualified as an Associate Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 1991 and Fellow Member in 1996. An accountant by training, Fernandes began his career in Richard Branson’s Virgin Group before returning to Malaysia as Warner Music Group’s Vice President for Southeast Asia before venturing into the airline business.

Fernandes has received numerous honours and awards over the course of his career. These include the Honour of the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2011, and the Commander of the Legion d’Honneur, awarded by the French government for his outstanding contributions towards the economy of France through the aviation industry.

In 2010, Fernandes was named Businessman of the Year by Forbes Asia - the first person from Malaysia and ASEAN to receive the honour - for democratising air travel and transforming AirAsia into a successful global brand. TIME Magazine included Tony Fernandes in the 2015 TIME 100 list, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world which included Chinese President Xi Jinping, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and hip-hop artist Kanye West. In 2016, Fernandes was recognised by the US-ASEAN Business Council with the Fourth Pillar Award for his extraordinary contribution towards the growth of ASEAN, the second recipient of the award after the Administration of US President Barack Obama.

Fernandes is also a board member of AirAsia Berhad and Tune Protect Group Berhad. He was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia in 2001, before being redesignated as a Non- Independent Non-Executive Director and Group Chief Executive Officer on 6 November 2013.

Session 2

ASEAN - An industry powerhouse

The ASEAN region has mature and emerging market characteristics, and growing integration through the ASEAN Community presents opportunities to access regional value chains integrated into global supply routes. This panel features outstanding speakers to discuss the drivers encouraging growth in ASEAN's manufacturing industry and the opportunities to link into ASEAN's production and distribution chains. This session will focus on the rapid growth in ASEAN’s industrial development to promote a better understanding of the opportunities for SMEs (particularly those in manufacturing, resources and business services) to link into the region’s production chains and benefit from rising levels of infrastructure investment.


Mr Mark Vasella
Mr Mark Vassella
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
BlueScope Limited

Mark joined BlueScope Steel following the acquisition of assets from Smorgon Steel in 2007.  He commenced as President BlueScope North America in 2008 based Kansas City, Missouri. In 2011, he returned to Australia as Chief Executive BlueScope Australia and New Zealand. Prior to joining BlueScope he held senior management roles with Smorgon Steel, Australian National Industries and Palmer Tube Mills.

Mark has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Master of Business Administration.

Mr Byron Patching
Mr Byron Patching
Co-founder and Principal
XAct Solutions

Byron Patching is a co-founder of XAct Solutions – a specialist supply chain and industrial property consultancy with people in Australia, Japan, Vietnam and Singapore and assignments across all ASEAN countries. Byron will be providing insights to the Summit on the progression of supply chains in the region and the challenges that face manufacturers and retailers alike in reliably presenting products to their customers.

Dr Robert Yap
Dr Robert Yap
Executive Chairman
YCH Group

Robert Yap is the Executive Chairman of YCH Group, Singapore’s leading end-to-end supply chain management company with operations spanning across Asia Pacific. Over the last four decades, Robert has played a pivotal role in the logistics and supply chain management field.

Robert is the Founder and Chairman of leading information technology and supply chain solutions company Y3 Technologies, Chairman of corporate venture fund Supply Chain Angels, Founder and Chairman of Supply Chain City® – Asia’s premier supply chain nerve centre for supply chain excellence, and Chairman of Supply Chain Asia – a regional community of more than 45,000 industry professionals.

In 2016, Robert was named ‘Businessman of the Year’ at the prestigious Singapore Business Awards. He was conferred the NUS Business School Eminent Business (Senior) Alumni Award in 2014 and the Lifetime Achievement Award (Logistics) by the World Chinese Economic Forum in 2013.

Recognised for his visionary leadership, Robert contributes as an advisor on numerous local and international platforms. For his contribution, he was awarded the Public Service Medal. Robert is President of the Singapore National Employers Federation, Deputy Chairman of IE Singapore, and the Chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (2018). He contributes to the Joint Implementation Committee overseeing the Government-to-Government project in Chongqing, the Future Economy Council (FEC) and the Payments Council.

Robert has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the National University of Singapore and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D), honoris causa, in Business Administration from the Wisconsin International University. He is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School Owner President Management (OPM 21) program. From 2009 to 2012, he was also appointed as Honorary Adjunct Professor by the College of Business, City University of Hong Kong.

Ibu Shinta
Ms Shinta Widjaja Kamdani
Owner and CEO

As Owner and Chief Executive Officer of the Sintesa Group, Shinta is responsible for the Management and Expansion of the Group’s business interests in Indonesia. The Sintesa Group is an Indonesian group with 16 subsidiaries, which operate in the Property, Energy, Industrial Products, and Consumer Products.

As a businesswoman, Shinta also involves in numerous business and social activities, including as the Vice Chairwoman of Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN Indonesia) and Employers’ Association of Indonesia (APINDO), as well as President of Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD), Founder of Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN), Chairwoman of Indonesia Business Coalition on Women Empowerment, and as International Board Member of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). She is also the member of APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Indonesia.

Shinta graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University New York in 1989 and Executive Education at Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 2002.

As part of her achievement, she received awards amongst others from FORBES Asia’s 50 Powerful Businesswomen (2012, 2013, & 2016) and the Asia’s Leading Businesswoman of the Year Award from Women in Leadership Forum (2013), Women Entrepreneur of the Year from Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards (2014), Women of Power from Asian Business Leadership Forum (ABLF) Abu Dhabi  (2012), 30 Best CEOs by Business Indonesia Award in 2015. And in 2017, she was decorated as the Commander of the Polar Star by the King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and the Commander of the Order of Leopold of Belgium.

Session 3

Skills and technologies for the future

Developments in digital technology are reshaping the way that businesses operate which is changing the skills that businesses need their workers to possess. This session will explore the emerging technologies that are reshaping business models and how we work, but also how businesses in ASEAN and Australia are using digital technology to improve their business processes. Another major topic will be the opportunities this creates for Australia’s education and training exporters as ASEAN workers seek to upgrade their skills. Australian education and service providers are also well-positioned to provide in-country solutions that equip students with vocational training and leadership skills.


Mr Adrian Turner
Mr Adrian Turner
Chief Executive Officer

Adrian is the CEO of Data61, a CSIRO entity that is the largest data innovation group in Australia. He is a successful and influential Australian technology entrepreneur who has spent 18 years in Silicon Valley. He is also co-chair of the Australia Cyber Security Growth Network (ACSGN) and a member of the Board of Directors for the Australian eHealth Research Centre (AeHRC). Most recently he was Managing Director and Co-Founder of Borondi Group.

Prior to this, Adrian was co-founder and CEO of smart phone and Internet of Things security company Mocana Corporation, had profit and loss responsibility for Philips Electronics connected devices infrastructure, and was Chairman of the Board for Australia’s expat network,

Adrian was also author of the eBook BlueSky Mining, Building Australia’s Next Billion Dollar Industries.

Dr Stephanie Fahey
Dr Stephanie Fahey
Chief Executive Officer

Dr Stephanie Fahey is the Chief Executive Officer of Austrade, the Australian Government agency responsible for promoting trade, investment and international education, and tourism policy, programs and research.

Stephanie has over 30 years’ experience both as an academic and executive working in Australia and overseas.

Previously she was EY’s lead partner for education in the Oceania region, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement) at Monash University and Director of the University of Sydney’s Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific. Dr Fahey brings an international perspective to her work and a wealth of experience across business and academia.

Austrade’s first female chief executive, Dr Fahey has also served on the Australia China Business Council, the Australia China Council, the NSW International Education Advisory Board, the European Australian Business Council, the Board of Canberra Institute of Technology, the Foreign Affairs Council and the Australia Korean Foundation.

Stephanie holds a PhD from the Australian National University and BA (Hons) from the University of Sydney. She speaks Melanesian Pidgin. She was inducted as a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors in 2012.

Mr Vernon Wills
Mr Vernon Wills
Chief Executive Officer
Site Group International Limited

Mr Vernon Wills has had an extensive career in investment and in finance, as well as building start up and early stage companies such as Go Talk Ltd and Dark Blue Sea Ltd.

Vern also has a broad involvement in the training and education sector. After identifying a market need for competent personnel, he established Site Group International and moved into international, onsite and facility-based training for governments, industries and companies. Today Site has many mining, oil and gas, energy and construction as its customers throughout the globe.

Vern has been a director of a number of public companies and is currently a Director of Eumundi Group Ltd and Chairman of the Risk and Audit Committee. He has held directorships with the Greg Norman Golf Foundation, CITEC, contributed to various charities and was Deputy Chair of Queensland Government’s Major Sports Facilities.

Vern is Chairman of Ubidy PTY Ltd and Microba PTY LTD.

Mr Chy Thmor
Mr Chy Thmor
Chief Executive Officer
Sabay Digital Group

Sila Chy Thmor is the CEO and founder of Sabay Digital Group. Cambodia’s leading Online Digital Entertainment Company with a portfolio of news, lifestyle, gaming, movies, mobile apps, and event properties.

Sabay’s properties spread the gamut of the infotainment industry in Cambodia. Sila is also the General Director of YINGKOK FOOD CORP, Cambodia’s first and largest homegrown chain of QSR restaurants operating international franchises for Domino’s Pizza, Lotteria, Tous les Jours, Asian Kitchen and homegrown TNC brands.

He is on the board of Sabay MVP Film distribution and Major Platinum Cineplex specialising in film distribution and Exhibition.

Sila is also the Founding President of the Junior Chamber International Cambodia (JCI Cambodia) and is on the National Board of Directors for AIESEC in Cambodia.

Session 4

Connecting with ASEAN markets

Diverse export opportunities are underpinned by ASEAN’s diversity. Advances are being made in opening and integrating markets to facilitate trade and investment and Australia is a strong supporter of ASEAN’s connectivity. Learn from the experience of Australian SMEs thriving in ASEAN markets and about some of the resources and support available to develop your export strategy. This session will help Australian SMEs seize opportunities and address the challenges of expanding into the ASEAN market, particularly amid deepening integration between the region’s countries as part of the ASEAN Economic Community.


Ms Swati Dave
Ms Swati Dave
Chief Executive Officer
Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic)

Swati Dave is an experienced senior banking executive and non-executive director with an established track record of successfully leading and growing complex P&L businesses in Australia, the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore.


Swati has over 30 years’ banking and finance experience across a number of sectors including infrastructure, energy and utilities, renewable energy and property. She has held senior positions at National Australia Bank, Deutsche Bank, AMP Henderson Global Investors, Bankers Trust and Westpac.


Swati currently serves on the boards of State Super and Asia Society Australia. She has served as a former director of Australian Hearing, Great Western Bancorp Inc. (USA) and the NAB Wealth Responsible Entity Boards.


Swati holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Newcastle and is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees.

Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Mohd Munir Bin Abdul Majid
Tan Sri Dato Dr Mohd Munir Bin Abdul Majid
Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad

Tan Sri Dr. Munir is currently Chairman of Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad, Chairman of the Financial Services Professional Board, Chairman of ASEAN Business Advisory Council, Malaysia, Chairman of CIMB ASEAN Research Institute, as well as President of the ASEAN Business Club.

Tan Sri Dr. Munir also sits on the board of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia and on the Financial Services Talent Council of Bank Negara Malaysia.

Tan Sri Dr. Munir has an extensive experience and is well known in the Malaysian corporate world. He has been the Group Editor of the New Straits Times, first executive chairman of CIMB and founding chairman of the Malaysian Securities Commission. After stepping down from the Securities Commission, he became Independent Non-Executive Director of Telekom Malaysia Berhad, Chairman of Celcom (Malaysia) Berhad and Non-Executive Chairman of Malaysian Airline System Berhad. He was Founding President of the Kuala Lumpur Business Club, established in 2003 and is a member of the Court of Fellows of the Malaysian Institute of Management.

Tan Sri Dr. Munir obtained a B.Sc (Econ) and Ph.D in international relations from the London School of Economic and Political Science (LSE) in 1971 and 1978. He is an Honorary Fellow of LSE and continues the long association with his alma mater as Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre of International Affairs, Diplomacy and Strategy. Tan Sri Dr. Munir is an associate of Southeast Asia Centre (SEAC) at LSE.

Mr Alan Oppenheim
Mr Alan Oppenheim
Managing Director
Ego Pharmaceuticals

Alan Oppenheim has been Managing Director of Ego Pharmaceuticals since 1990 and prior to that was Scientific Director for a decade.

Alan has a Bachelor of Science degree with first class honours, from Monash University.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

He is an Honorary Life Member of the Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists.  He is a past President of the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists, an organisation with 15,000 members in more than 40 nations.

Alan is a director of the Australian Self Medication Industry, an organisation that represents the non-prescription pharmaceutical industry.

Alan is recognised for his community support by being made an Honorary Life Member of the Australian Dermatology Nurses Association.  He is an Entrepreneur of the Year.  Together with his wife, Dr Jane Oppenheim, he received an Award for Excellence to the Self Medication Industry. He was presented with an Export Hero Award by the Governor-General of Australia.

Ego Pharmaceuticals researches and manufactures 120 products for skin health in its own world-class pharmaceutical plant in Braeside (Melbourne) which recently had a $15 million expansion opened by the Hon Andrew Robb AO. In early 2017 Ego moved into its $35 million new global headquarters with global distribution centre in Dandenong (Melbourne). Ego has 585 staff based across 12 nations.

Exporting famous products like QV gentle cleansers and moisturisers, SunSense sunscreens, DermAid anti-inflammatories and MOOV Head Lice Treatments to the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the UK, Ego recently won the Governor of Victoria Exporter of the Year 2016 and the Australian Government Exporter of the Year 2017.

Ego is the science of healthy skin.

Dr Gráinne Oates
Dr Gráinne Oates
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Dr Gráinne Oates is the CEO and co-founder of Quitch, a highly successful gamified mobile learning platform. She is also a leading educator in the accounting field, and currently holds the position of Associate Professor in Accounting at Swinburne Business School. Dr Oates has taught at a tertiary level both in Australia and internationally, including in the ASEAN region in Vietnam and Singapore. She is a passionate educator, and is motivated to improve the student learning experience through the use of innovative technologies. Prior to her career in academia, Gráinne worked in the pharmaceutical industry for JRH Biosciences (a CSL company).

Quitch is a content-neutral, gamified mobile learning platform, which Dr Oates developed at Swinburne University for her first year accounting students. It was built to address certain student learning challenges that Dr Oates had identified, and had a hugely positive, measureable impact on her students’ engagement and performance. Since being spun off from the University in March 2016, Quitch has been taken up by universities in a number of countries across the world including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, UK, USA, and UAE. It has also moved outside the education sector and into industries like oil and gas, logistics and the pharmaceutical industry, where it is being used for compliance training and professional development.

Quitch has won many awards for its innovation, both nationally and internationally, including the American Accounting Association for Innovation Award, The Australian Financial Review Higher Education Technology Award, iAwards start up of the year (Victoria), and iAwards Mobility Innovation of the Year (Victoria).

The Quitch team took up residency in Singapore for three months in early 2017 in the Landing Pad, a Federal Government initiative to help promote innovative technology companies overseas. In addition, Quitch was selected as one of eight start ups to represent Australia at South by South West (SXSW), the world’s largest annual technology conference, which took place in Austin, Texas in March 2017.

Closing address: Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

The Hon. Steven Ciobo MP
The Hon. Steven Ciobo MP
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

Steven Ciobo was sworn in as the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment on 19 July 2016.

This is Mr Ciobo’s third front bench role in the foreign affairs and trade portfolio. He has previously served as the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade and Investment. In these roles Mr Ciobo championed economic integration in the Pacific through private sector-led growth; promoted the benefits of Australia’s Free Trade Agreements; led delegations of industry leaders to our key trading partners; and supported the Minister for Foreign Affairs in advancing Australia’s diplomatic interests overseas.

Mr Ciobo served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer from September 2013 to December 2014. During this time he made the ultimate assessment of Australia’s national interest on some 800 applications for foreign investment worth around AUD150 billion. He also served as an Alternate Governor to the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Adopting a recommendation of the 2007 Inquiry into the current and future directions of Australia’s services export sector by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Mr Ciobo joined the Nelson Opposition frontbench as the Shadow Minister for the Service Economy. He subsequently served on the frontbench of the Turnbull and Abbott Oppositions, including in the small business and tourism portfolios.

Mr Ciobo was first elected as the Member for Moncrieff in the Australian Parliament in 2001. Before entering Parliament, Mr Ciobo built a professional career as an executive in the economic reform unit at international firms Coopers & Lybrand and, later, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws from Bond University, as well as a Master of Laws from the Queensland University of Technology.

Mr Ciobo is married with two children.

SME Conference Facilitator

Ms Tamerlaine Beasley
Ms Tamerlaine Beasley
Board member Australia-ASEAN Council
Founder and Managing Director of Beasley Intercultural

Tamerlaine is an expert facilitator with more than 25 years’ experience, enabling collaboration and communication in diverse and global workplaces. She is a member of the Board of the Australia-ASEAN Council for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and founder and Managing Director of Beasley Intercultural, Australia’s premier cross-cultural training and consultancy company. Tamerlaine speaks Thai and has studied Lao and Bahasa Indonesia. 

Tamerlaine leads a team of consultants working across Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.  Her clients include global businesses, governments, multilateral agencies and development organisations. Tamerlaine’s keynote presentations, advisory services and training programs are described by clients as ‘transformational’ and ‘game changing’. 

Previous experience includes: coaching and advising leaders in Australia and Asia on cultural capability and global strategy; working with global teams to optimise performance; developing a framework for capability building for APEC; facilitating regional forums for the United Nations; and leading the development of diversity and inclusion programs for the Australian Public Service Commission and the Department of Defence.

Tamerlaine has studied Asian Studies at the ANU, International Business at Penn State University and Thai at Chulalongkorn in Thailand. She lectures at Australia’s leading Universities with a focus on global mindset, cross-cultural leadership and communication.  She is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.