Speakers & Presenters
2017 Small Business Development Conference

Marcus Akuhata-Brown

Marcus Akuhata-Brown grew up on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. 
His father is from Te Whanau o Tuwhakairiora of Te Araroa on the East Cape, also the tribes of Ngai Tahu and Kahungunu. His mother is a fifth generation New Zealander with European ancestry. An experienced educator and gifted communicator, Marcus has led a number of innovative programmes around the world. 

In New Zealand his work has focused on addressing the learning and developmental needs of youth at risk and young offenders. From 1996 to 2004 Marcus travelled all over the world as a diplomat, international representative and delegate to multilateral meetings. 

Marcus was a Director on the international board of CIVICUS as well as being an ex-officio member of the Commonwealth Youth Caucus. Marcus founded Tukaha Global Consultantcy in 2000 and currently divides his time between speaking and consultancy work, land development activities in his tribal area and studies through Te Wananga o Raukawa, a tribal university.

Nick Bowditch

Nick Bowditch is the only person in the Asia-Pacific region to have worked at both Facebook and Twitter, and the only person in the world to have worked in marketing at both brands. He is a successful (and unsuccessful) entrepreneur and a thought-leader in social media globally.

He works extensively in the start-up ecosystem in Australia and internationally as both an advisor and investor, inspiring others to create and build businesses that use authentic storytelling, and have empathy, a focus on social contribution and kindness at the core. Having lived with mental illness and addiction himself, Nick is also passionate about raising awareness for mental health by sharing his personal story.

Nigel Collin

Nigel created his first business at the age of twenty and sold it at twenty-one. He then went on to build Absurd Entertainment, one of Australia largest entertainment design companies. He worked extensively on the 2000 Olympic Games, was entertainment advisor at the 2000 Paralympic Games, and holds the accolade of being show director for Australia's largest ever corporate event in 2005. Having passed the baton by selling the Absurd in 2004, he moved into the world of consulting, advising his clients on implementing ideas and everyday innovation.

In 2013, armed with a video camera, Nigel set off on an initiative to travel throughout Australia, solo on his motorbike, to discover ingenious Australians and share their stories. His quest was to inspire the ideas of a nation and led to the founding of ‘Ingenious Oz Project’. In 2014, as an ambassador of Start-up Australia, he interviewed over 50 of Australia’s top entrepreneurs and business leaders. He is now founder and maestro of ‘Game of Inches’.
He has advised C-Suite executives, Ministers of Parliament and entrepreneurs in both public and private sectors. As an international speaker, he has presented his experience and expertise to organisations in myriad industries including IT, Franchise, Events, Marketing, Finance, Pharmaceuticals, Government and Telecommunications.

Having now spent over 20 years in business events (both on and off the stage) he understands the importance of not just being engaging, but delivering practical and lasting business benefits. As a speaker he is in demand both in Australia and overseas He is an alumni of the Disney Institute, a Ted-Xer, and author of two books with a third in production titled "Game of Inches’ When not speaking, working with clients, writing or riding his motorcycle he spends his time between Sydney and the rural mid north coast of NSW with his family.

Monica Wulff

Monica Wulff co-founded Startup Muster in 2013 after recognising a lack of insight and statistics about the Australian startup ecosystem. Upon graduating from Macquarie University with a Bachelor in Applied Finance and a Bachelor of Economics she joined the Australian Bureau of Statistics.Monica caught the startup bug after visiting a friend at their coworking space and has been actively contributing to the ecosystem ever since.

In 2015 Monica left the corporate world to take on the CEO role with Startup Muster full-time.