Small Business & Beyond Festival

Published on 25 April 2022


The biggest business event on the Coffs Coast in 2022.

Held in March 2022 it was specifically designed for small business leaders and big thinkers. This event brought together 16 speakers and over 100 local professionals for three days of inspiring sessions and networking.




“A winning mindset for success” An evening with 7-time world surf champion Layne Beachley

Wanting to achieve success and actually believing in it are two totally different mindsets. We don’t manifest what we want, we manifest what we believe. If you want to know what you believe, just have a look at your life. Are you fulfilled or are you in fear?

This thought provoking and practical presentation will provide you with the opportunity to identify and shatter self-imposed limiting beliefs, reframe challenges, be authentic and overcome negative thinking to become the champion of your own life.

You will hear how to build boundaries not barriers, learn to flip negative thoughts as they appear and find out if your thoughts are supporting or sabotaging you.

Layne Beachley AO is regarded as the most successful female surfer in history. Layne’s dedication to success saw her as the only surfer, male or female, to claim six consecutive world titles between 1998 and 2003. Layne went on to win a 7th world title in 2006 before retiring from the ASP World Tour in 2008. In retirement, Layne spends her time travelling nationally and internationally as a motivational Keynote speaker for some of the world’s top commercial firms, sharing her stories about sustaining success, overcoming challenges and maintaining a winning mindset. She is also a trainer and facilitator of a series of workshops, igniting potential in everyone she works with. Layne is also the Founder and Director of her own foundation, Aim For The Stars, Chairperson of Surfing Australia and an Officer of the Order of Australia.



“Women making waves” – Layne Beachley and local panel.

Join us for a beachside chat with Layne Beachley and a panel of local business women who are challenging the norms and making waves in their fields. We will uncover the secret sauce on how they not only survive but thrive in male dominated workplaces.

More and more women are choosing careers in non-traditional areas, however there are still a lot of challenges. Here, panellists discuss their experiences, the lack of senior female role models within organisations, male-dominated workplace culture, fighting for equal pay and the attitude you need to succeed.


“A new way to think about business” – Alison Michalk

Businesses can play a strong positive role in driving systemic change and creating sustainable solutions. Around the world B Corp companies are reporting a wide range of valuable benefits that include attracting a new generation of employeeswinning more customers and building stronger supply chains through innovation.

Using the B Corp framework as a guide, Alison Michalk’s session will help you reframe your operations, seeing sustainability as a business opportunity and creating an impact model.

Alison Michalk brings her expertise as a founder, CEO, and entrepreneur. Alison led the B Corp certification process with Quiip, one of the first 300 businesses in Australia to become certified. Joining B Local Sydney as Communication Chair in 2020, Alison is also representing AU-NZ on a global taskforce. Inspired to assist companies to make the transition to become a B Corp, Alison launched a B Corp consultancy ffutures in 2021. As a certified B Consultant Alison is passionate about driving the B Corp movement in Australia.


“Creating thriving business precincts” – Steven Burgess

We are all aware of the current above average demand for property and spike in population growth. How we deal with this growth will be crucial. Growth can be managed in two ways. Sprawl, big infrastructure and traffic congestion, or more contemporary growth with intimate villages, local business hubs and frequent, affordable shared transport. The implications are significant for local business.

Steven Burgess will examine how the creation of better people oriented places can sustain and revive local business. We will discuss how to keep money circulating locally to create more investment and jobs and attract new demographics that will mean a happy and healthy Coffs Harbour.

Steven Burgess is a change agent for Cities. He brings 30+ years’ experience as a transport engineer and urban strategist to reform the balance between car space and people space in towns and cities all over the world. Steven is the author of ‘Complete Streets – Guidelines to Urban Street Design’ published in 2010 and was a contributor to two other international street making publications. He is an international keynote speaker on people places and of course parking, having spoken at events all around Australia, New Zealand, North America, South America, Europe and the UAE.


“Entrepreneurship during the pandemic”

Despite fears the pandemic would lead to mass business failures, the number of Aussies running businesses has actually shot up. Hear from three of our local entrepreneurs who threw caution to the wind and launched a new business during the pandemic.


“Success is never a solo endeavour”

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. Collaboration is key.  The current MiNi (Digital) concerts project coordinated by Arts Mid North Coast is a great example of the power of teaming up and working together. MiNi (Digital) concerts aims to lift the online presence of our local artists by providing professionally produced live recordings and images to help further their careers and gig opportunities. Pulling a project together like this is no easy feat! Join Arts Mid North Coast’s Olivia Parker in conversation with some of the team to hear how the project came together to support the careers of 12 upcoming artists.


“The future of tech, innovation and the creative industries”

With the ambitious plans of the Pacific Bay Resort Studio & Village as a launch pad, we will explore this land of expanding possibilities. The construction of the studio brings the possibility of growing our creative industry sector and beyond. You will hear about the plans on the ground, what progress has been made, the vision for training and pathways, and much more. This will be a rare opportunity to discover future industry needs and how you can establish yourself within an exciting new local industry.

Opportunities abound with 44% of Australian audience members continuing ‘post pandemic’ to participate in online arts and cultural activities. For a deeper exploration of how connectivity is helping revolutionise the artsJennifer Ganske, Segment Head of Art and Tourism, NBN Co will present inspiring examples of how the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall and Regional Arts Australia’s national events, Artlands and Junction, adopted hybrid digital platforms to reimagine their offerings and grow their audiences.

With the planned film studio now in the pipeline we can look to the Northern Rivers for insights on the future we can create on the Coffs Coast. Cumulus VFX is a post-production and visual effects company currently working on a number of projects, including Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, a Netflix production out of the UK, and an IMAX documentary. Cumulus VFX CEO, Will Gammon joins the evening to share his journey with the company, that includes relocating to a purpose-built facility in Ballina, hiring an extra 50 staff, thanks to a $1 million grant provided via the NSW Government’s Regional Job Creation Fund, and hiring Genevieve Camilleri, who was recently nominated for an Oscar for her work on Love and Monsters, as VFX supervisor.

Jennifer Ganske is the National Segment Head of Arts and Tourism at NBN Co.  Jennifer is also the current Chair of Cultural Attractions of Australia and comes from a strong global background as a producer in the creative industries. Prior to her work at nbn, Jennifer was the Director of Marketing at Sovereign Hill Museums Association, Creative Director for the Season of the Arts in Ballarat, and Arts consultant to regional galleries and institutions.

Brad Daymond is the General Manager of Coastal & Golf Resorts Group , which includes Bonville Golf Resort and Pacific Bay Resort in Northern NSW and Jonah’s Restaurant & Boutique Hotel in Whale Beach on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Will Gammon is the founding owner  of Cumulus VFX. Will started his career in 2001 working for Australia’s ‘Rising Sun Pictures’, where he established his skills as a compositor for 9 years. Over those years he worked on many Hollywood films such as multiple ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ films. In 2010, Will transitioned to Animal Logic to sequence lead on ‘Legend of the Guardians’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt2’. Will established himself in Sydney and engaged with various studios including Fuel VFX and Dr. D on ‘Happy Feet 2’ to solve high complexity compositing and stereoscopic challenges on key sequences to roll out to the compositing team.



“From zero to ‘Zero Co’! – Walking the talk in the circular economy

Some of the world’s biggest problems, like single-use plastic rubbish, can only be solved by entrepreneurs brave enough to walk the talk, says Zero Co Founder Mike Smith.  Australian company Zero Co is on a mission to stop single-use plastic. Two years from launch, the Byron Bay personal care and cleaning products brand is already achieving huge milestones, like pulling 10 tonnes of plastic from the ocean to make its refillable ‘forever bottles’ and becoming the most successful start-up to hold a crowd-funding campaign in Australian history.

In less than seven hours, Zero Co raised $5 million on equity crowdfunding platform Birchal from 3082 Australians looking to tackle single-use plastic. The biggest and most successful crowd-funding campaign in Australia until then had reached $3 million in three weeks. Zero Co has also raised $6 million from venture capital firm Square Peg Capital, which reportedly came about from a cold email sent by Zero Co Founder Mike Smith. Come along to find out how on earth this is all possible in such a short space of time (oh and despite that thing called a global pandemic).

Mike Smith is a small town, public-school kid from the North Coast of NSW.  He grew up surfing, playing basketball and making noise on a guitar. After studying commerce at UNSW he landed a  job with an advertising agency.  It took him 3 years to figure out that wasn’t what he wanted to do with my life.  Since then he has been involved as a founder and sometimes-investor to a number of different projects spanning the surfing, technology, wine, events, marketing, fashion, philanthropic and most recently dunny-cleaning industries.   Over this time he has scaled and exited a multi-million-dollar business, been listed in the Australian Financial Review’s Fastest 100 Growing Companies, picked up a Bronze Lion at the Cannes International Advertising Awards, and start a Registered Australian Charity that builds schools in Myanmar (Burma).



“Taming the entrepreneurial mindset”


In the last 3-years Alt-Collective have connected with over 500 local small business owners & the one thing that’s really stood out is that small business success is just as much about the person behind the product as it is about the product itself! A-Team founder Courtney Tune sits down with a Panel of highly successful local entrepreneurs to talk the Entrepreneurial Mindset including – Imposter Syndrome – Facing Your Fears  Faking it till you Make It – & Eating the Frog – the rollercoaster ride that is Small Business. Hear from…

Scotty Schindler – Tech Founder of ReNet Real Estate Software who oversaw the growth of the Company from 1 to 6,000 Clients – a Software platform that had amassed over 1.125 trillion dollars in Real Estate sales upon Scotty’s sale of the company in 2015.

Sarah Poole – Former C.O.O. of Be Fit Food – a successful ‘Shark Tank’ company who secured Investment from Janine Ellis – Sarah oversaw the growth of the Company from 6 to 60 staff & 30 orders per week to over 2,000 orders per week. A Serial Entrepreneur who has built successful businesses in the Tech, Health, Services, & more recently the Hospitality sector as founder of Woopi Brewing Co.

Mike Smith – The Zero Co Founder who was the man behind Australia’s biggest & most successful crowdfunding campaign, shares with us the mindset that it takes to make a big impact through business & the challenges behind maintaining the entrepreneurial mindset.




Mindset experiences!


Are you ready to recharge your mind, renew some old skills or push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn something new?  We have curated a delectable variety of experiences to match the themes of Small Business Month this year “Rebuild, Recharge, Renew”. 

Join us and hit reset before you dive into the rest of 2022. Tear down your barriers to creativity using fun, no judgements, and a paintbrush with an art session like no other. Refocus the mind and body with a gentle session of meditation Stroll around to Muttonbird Island and find out about the Gumbaynggirr cultural and the natural wonders with an expert National Parks guide sharing knowledge and answering all of your questions.