Let's Talk Business Forum

(Barnet Long Room, Customs House)

Thank you, Valerie Khoo and welcome, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

Tonight's topic - The Leadership Exchange - Role Models for Success - addresses the all-important issue of leadership.

It's the quality that perhaps propelled many of you into establishing your own business, and which is essential to dealing with rapid technological change and an increasingly complex business landscape.

On behalf of the City, I'd like to welcome and thank tonight's speakers.

Mike Cannon-Brookes is co-founder and CEO of Atlassian, an innovative software company that produces tools to help people collaborate, plan projects and build software.

From its Sydney base, Atlassian now has over 20,000 customers around the globe and has been named one of the Fastest Growing Companies by both Deloitte and BRW Magazine. It was also, back in 2008, named as the City of Sydney's Business of the Year in our annual awards.

We also have David James, CEO and Director of Brasserie Bread who has also recently launched the world's first online shopping service for artisan bread. David has also been the founder and CEO of four successful start-ups, so has a great deal of experience to impart this evening.

Finally, it's a pleasure to welcome Christopher Witt, Founder of the CEO School and the University of NSW Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

He's the official Business Advisor for Dell Computer, Westpac and ANZ banks and is a founding partner at Kalori Capital Partners, as well as a judge for the City of Sydney Business Awards.

Our Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy specifically recognises the importance of the 20,000-plus small and medium businesses to the City's economy and vibrancy.

Small businesses employ a quarter of the City's workforce and medium-sized businesses account for a third.

They are spread across our 32 suburbs and they form a vital component of the ten village centres identified in the 2030 strategy, providing fresh food, goods and services for the local community and beyond. Their diversity and character contribute enormously to the social fabric of our City villages and, increasingly, to the CBD.

By helping you develop your business capacity and build relationships, we are supporting sustainable development and help to build on the vibrancy of these areas.

These seminars will also help you network with other business owners facing similar challenges, to learn from and support each other.

So on behalf of the City of Sydney, I'd like to offer a big thank you to our sponsors, Regus and SmartCompany, who make this terrific seminar series possible.

I'm glad you could be here this evening, and I know you will gain a great deal from the expertise on offer. Once again, I thank our panellists and wish you all a stimulating and informative discussion.

And can I just remind you that nominations for this year's Business Awards close on the 22nd, and we have a record number of nominees this year, which is a sign of a very lively small business sector. I hope to see you all at the Awards!