Two leading members of Victoria’s small business community have been recognised in this year’s Australia Day honours.
Entrepreneur and lawyer-mediator Alan Wein has been appointed as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of significant service to business and the community.
The co-founder and former owner of the House homewares retail chain has played a critical role in supporting the small business and franchising communities, particularly in Victoria where he served as the inaugural chair of the Victorian government’s Small Business Advisory Council and was instrumental in establishing the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC), the first of its kind in the country.
Wein has also previously served as director of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, worked with former small business minister Bruce Billson on unfair contracts legislation and led the review into the franchising code of conduct.
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He continues to support small businesses as a mediator with the VSBC, with Victorian Small Business Commissioner Lynda McAlary-Smith telling SmartCompany “it is so fitting that Alan be recognised for his tireless contribution to the community and small businesses”.
“Alan’s empathy and expertise have helped so many small businesses to navigate tough issues and move forward positively. I am delighted that he has been recognised,” added McAlary-Smith.
Speaking to SmartCompany this morning, Wein said he was “humbled” to receive the honour and join the many Australians in this and past honours lists who have added to the quality of life in Australia. He said he is inspired to engage in new and difficult challenges where he can make a difference.
Meanwhile, fellow Victorian small business advocate David Gregory has also been recognised for his service to the small business sector, receiving a Medal in the General Division (OAM).
Melbourne-based Gregory has led the Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS) for more than 14 years, heading up a team of 200 volunteer mentors that conduct 5000 mentoring sessions with small business owners each year.
In its 35-year history, the SBMS has become the largest not-for-profit small business mentoring program in Australia, helping 100,000 small businesses, which collectively have contributed an estimated $20 billion to the state economy.
As well as leading the SBMS, which has a network of 200 volunteer mentors, Gregory is also the CEO and managing director of The Small Business Institute, which delivers training, workshops and seminars for small businesses in Victoria, and the CEO of ScaleUpVic, which supports entrepreneurs and startups.
He sits on the board of the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand (SEAANZ) as vice chairman and is a former member of the Victorian Small Business Ministerial Council.
McAlary-Smith told SmartCompany that Gregory has “passionately supported and cared for small businesses and the people who run them for many years”.
“His OAM is well deserved recognition of the positive impact he has had on the lives of so many small businesses and their families.”
Gregory says he is excited to receive the honour, which he told SmartCompany is “a great nod for the work the Small Business Mentoring Service does”.
“For us, the acknowledgement of the OAM allows me in particular to elevate the issues and challenges faced by small businesses,” he says.
Gregory says those issues include supply chain challenges, difficulties in getting sales and how small businesses, particularly those in CBD locations, can survive with fewer customers.
The full list of this year’s Australia Day honours is available online here.