27th Annual SEAANZ Conference 2014


Conference Theme: Enhancing SME success in the digital economy

The digital economy is now a reality and it is important that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) embrace these new and emergent technologies. The world economy has shifted to digital, online and mobile business platforms. Yet more than 35% of SMEs make virtually no use of the internet for their business. While most SMEs have a website little more than half sell online and less than 20% have some form of digital business strategy. The competitiveness and sustainability of small firms into the future will depend on how well they can learn to make use of digital technologies for both trading and compliance. This conference took place at the Australian Technology Park, Sydney from 16-18 July 2014. It was open to researchers, educators, small business advisors, government agencies, students and small business managers, who wished to share knowledge, explore ideas and make a difference.

Download: 2014 SEAANZ Conference Booklet

Images from the 27th SEAANZ Annual Conference (go to images page>>>)


Conference events

Opening address and welcome to the 27th Annual SEAANZ Conference of 2014

Professor Tim Mazzarol, President of SEAANZ
Twenty six years ago the first SEAANZ conference was held in Sydney. At that time the digital economy was in its infancy and the first transatlantic optical fibre cable was being completed. Personal computing was emerging as a new and exciting frontier for business, with the spread of IBM PC clones and the rise of the Apple Macintosh II. As the SEAANZ delegates of 1988 met in Sydney the world was on the threshold of fundamental change. In Europe and the United States scientific communities were linking their computing systems together to form the foundations of the internet. The following year the Australian Vice Chancellors’ Committee launched the AARNet, and over the following years similar internet communities were formed across Asia. Since then the digital economy has grown at a rapid pace and is now the most significant technological force in the world. According to a recent report by Deloitte Access Economics and Optus, the future competitiveness of business will depend on how well they can embrace digital technologies. The modern consumer is more empowered than at any other time in history, and digital technologies are reshaping the business structures, supply chains and ways of working. This digital world is also highly mobile as the penetration of smart phones and tablets reaches significantly proportions of the consumer market. However, despite these trends the study found that over 35% of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in Australia make virtually no use of the internet. The Sensis e-Business Report 2013 supported this finding, suggesting that while the majority of SMEs own a computer, and 66% have a website, just over half (55%) made sales online, and only 19% reported having some form of digital business strategy. These trends in SME engagement with the digital economy should be a cause for concern to anyone who wishes to see a strong and vibrant small business sector. This year’s conference focused on the impact of the digital economy on SMEs and how such firms might be assisted to survive the expansion of this technological revolution. Download presentation>>>

Welcome to Country - Recognition of the traditional indigenous landowners

Professor Dennis Foley, University of Newcastle, Australia

Professor Dennis Foley from the University of Newcastle is a leading academic in the field of indigenous enterprise and entrepreneurship. Dennis identifies as Koori. His matrilineal connection is Gai-mariagal of the Guringah language group of northern Sydney, and his patrilineal connection is to the Wiradjuri people of the Capertree/Turon River region.




For more indepth information on the conference activities click on the following links:

Keynote Presentations>>>

The conference was host to a number of keynote speakers from across the full spectrum of academic, industry, government and community representatives. There were presentations from Canon Business Services, the CSIRO, the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Australia Bank, Bentleys Australia, NVoi, China Key, the Australian and New Zealand Productivity Commissions, Optimum Consulting Group and La Salle Matrix Thinking.

Plenary Panel Sessions>>>

A highlight of the conference were the plenary panel sessions. Three were held. The first dealing with small buisness regulation and red tape. This brought together ACCC Deputy Commissioner Dr Michael Schaper, Productivity Commissioner Dr Warren Mundy, Mr Ken Phillips, Executive Director of the Independent Contractors Australia, and Mr Andrew Conway, CEO of the Institute of Public Accountants. The second with small business dispute resolution involved the federal and state Small Business Commissioners. The third examined the state of Indigenous small business with Professor Dennis Foley, the Hon Victor Dominello MP, NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Debbie Barwick, CEO NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce, Shane Jacobs, CEO Pacific Servicess Group Ltd., and Dr Ella Henry, Auckland University of Technology.

Conference Papers>>>

The conference saw a range of excellent papers covering the theme of SME success in the digital economy. Copies of these papers and in some cases the presentations can be found at the link above. In most cases copies of the full paper have been made available. In other cases only an extended abstract is available.

Launch of the SEAANZ Research Book Series>>>

The conference was also an opportunity for the launch of the SEAANZ Annual Research Book Series. This publishing initiative provides a unique opportunity to bring together works from across all four pillars of the SEAANZ community. Published by Tilde University Press, the SEAANZ Research Book contained work from leading university researchers, senior government officials, and practitioners. Their respective contributions offer a range of perspectives that are rarely found within the same accessible document.