Who should be the next small business commissioner? Five candidates and two we’d love to see (but won’t)

Australia is finally getting a small business commissioner, but we won’t know who until later this year.

SmartCompany has a few ideas about who might end up with the gig, as well as a few novel suggestions for the Government to consider.

Here are our suggestions:

Peter Strong

The executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia has become a vocal advocate for small business, and has been getting more access than ever to both sides of politics as they try to woo the large SME vote before next year’s election.

Strong knows that he’s a high-profile target, but says it’s not about him getting the job, but the “right person” getting it.

He says the right person would need to “get” small business, if not have run their own business, and understand public service.

Michael Schaper

The deputy chairperson of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says he’s flattered by the suggestion he could be in the running, but he’s keeping tight-lipped. Schaper is well-regarded for his knowledge of small business.

Frank Zumbo

A strong advocate for franchisees, Zumbo has a large profile when it comes to small business.

He’s also comfortable moving from academia to government, having recently been appointed deputy small business commissioner in South Australia.

Fran Bailey

The former Liberal MP won respect for her performance as small business minister under the Howard Government. She retired from politics in 2007.

Mark Brennan

In 2003, Victoria became the first state to set up a small business commissioner and inaugural commissioner Mark Brennan served in the role for about seven years. We know he’s moved on now – to chair the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation – but there’d be few people in Australia as well qualified for the new gig.

And some for the true believers:

Therese Rein

With revenue for her international employment services company Ingeus estimated at $180 million, Rein has first-hand experience of building a great business.

Beyond her business nous and great connections, she’s admired and a great public speaker.

Amanda Gome

As founder of SmartCompany and now CEO of Private Media, Gome understands how small business thinks and what it’s like at the coal face.

We can tell you she’s aghast at the very idea of entering the worlds of politics, bureaucracy and Canberra, so don’t bother asking, Julia.

But a bit of leftfield thinking for this post would be more than welcome.

What do you think? Who would you nominate? Let us know in the comments below.


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