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Media Release

CBA and global tech giants help SMEs innovate

CBA and global tech giants help SMEs innovate

CBA’s Innovation Lab partners with global tech giants to deliver a ‘collective impact’ program as part of the Small Business Festival Victoria.

Commonwealth Bank will partner with Amazon, Google, Salesforce, Mastercard, Phoria and UsTwo to assist small businesses in Victoria realise the significant benefits of embracing innovation and digital technologies, at the launch of the 2018 Small Business Festival Victoria.

As principal partner of the Small Business Festival, CBA hosted today’s opening event alongside The University of Melbourne and the Victorian Government. Victorian Minister for Industry and Employment Hon. Ben Carroll MP announced the festival was now, “open for business”.

Throughout the month-long festival, CBA’s Innovation Lab will run a series of workshops and events, equipping small business owners with world-leading tools of innovation to develop new ideas for their business alongside the world’s best technology experts.

Collective impact

As part of the program, Amazon, Google, Salesforce, Mastercard, Phoria, UsTwo and CBA will deliver a ‘collective impact’ approach. Small business owners will have access to these industry leaders who will discuss topics such as search experience, user experience, payment experience, cloud experience, customer experience, and developing an entrepreneurial mindset. The small business owners will also be able to workshop their innovative business solutions.

According to Heath Brown, Executive Manager of CBA’s Innovation Lab, delivering clarity around business challenges and opportunities is the first step towards innovation and success for small businesses.

“We interviewed hundreds of small business owners and many said they feel invisible in the Australian innovation eco-system, meaning they get no resource or cash investment in comparison to start-ups.

“Many small businesses don’t have a CTO, CIO, CMO or an innovation team - business owners wear all of those hats - which means they need tools, tactics and approaches to compete, stay relevant and respond to disruption.

“This is why we are thrilled to be working with global tech giants, government and leading academic institutions to help small business owners get the know-how to remain competitive in the future economy,” Brown said.

Facing challenges together

On the importance of a collective impact approach, Claire Roberts CBA’s Executive General Manager, Business Banking SME, said: “No single brand, or government department, has enough horsepower to help small businesses solve the increasingly complex brand and economic problems we face as a business community. It is crucial to take a collective impact approach, and band together as big brands to help small business owners prepare themselves for the future of work,” she said.

Mr Carroll MP, said: “Through initiatives like the Small Business Festival, the Victorian Government is supporting small businesses to come up with new and innovative ideas - strengthening the economy and creating jobs.”

CBA partnerships

CBA has recently taken up tenancy with the University of Melbourne alongside the Melbourne Accelerator Program and will be making use of its co-location throughout the course of the Small Business Festival Victoria, hosting a range of events during the festival and beyond.

Commenting on the ongoing partnership, Campbell Walshe, Director of the Melbourne Accelerator Program, University of Melbourne, said: “This exciting partnership with the Commonwealth Bank allows us to create a more innovative environment - connecting the most promising businesses and entrepreneurial talent with some of the best industry leaders in Australia,” he said.

Important information

For more information on CBA’s Innovation Lab’s “The Small Business Restart” program, please visit

For more information about the Small Business Festival Victoria, please visit