The Entrepreneurs’ Programme helps transform Australian businesses. The program’s unique services give eligible businesses access to expert advice that money can’t buy, and financial support through grants and incentives. 

When you join the program, you will receive practical advice and mentorship from a dedicated team of facilitators, who will work together with you to help achieve your business’s vision. Program facilitators can help guide you to be more competitive and productive, attract investors and commercialise your products, and work with the research sector to develop innovative solutions. 

If you are ready to transform your business, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme and Ai Group can help you take the next step. Ai Group’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme Facilitators are here to get to know your business on a personal level and provide you with targeted support to transform your business. 


The Entrepreneurs’ Programme provides a suite of unique services to help Australian businesses strengthen, grow, innovate and commercialise. They are specially designed to help you achieve your business vision, facilitated through expert advice and financial assistance. 

Ai Group provides the following Entrepreneurs’ Programme services throughout Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia: 

Growth Roadmap

Growth Roadmap helps you improve your business practices, become more competitive, and take advantage of growth opportunities.

A dedicated growth facilitator will provide access to extensive networks, information, resources, strategies, and specialists unique to your business’s needs.

They will work with you to develop your unique growth roadmap and help you achieve your business vision.

You can also access a matched Growth Grant of up to $20,000 to action recommendations from your roadmap.

High Growth Accelerator

High Growth Accelerator helps businesses who have a transformative growth opportunity. It will help you innovate, transform, and grow your business.

You will work with a growth facilitator to develop skills, knowledge, strategies and connections to capitalise on your growth opportunity.

They will work with you to develop a growth plan and help you build the capacity to accelerate growth.

You can also access a matched Growth Grant of up to $20,000 to action recommendations from your growth plan.

SMART Projects and Supply Chains

SMART Projects and Supply Chains provides access to strategic or high-value projects that are designed to increase the capability of Australian businesses.

Through a tailored mix of facilitated services, peer group learning events and business performance assessments, participating businesses will have the opportunity to gain deeper insight into ways they can better make the most of emerging markets, supply chains, business performance and leadership development opportunities.

Depending on the nature and design of the project, eligible businesses may also gain access to a matched Growth Grant of up to $20,000 to assist with implementation of recommendations from their participation in the project.

Find out more

Strengthening Business

Strengthening Business supports businesses in fire-affected communities to rebuild, transform and adapt following the bushfire crisis and resulting changes in their local marketplace.

A facilitator will work with businesses to provide mentorship and develop a roadmap, identifying the immediate, medium and long-term challenges and opportunities.

Facilitators will also provide advice on relevant funding assistance to help businesses recover.


Andrew Canion

| 0419 282 269

Andrew engages with Australian firms to help them boost their productivity and performance.

Bill Sashegyi

| 0428 677 152

Bill Sashegyi is working with the Ai Group as part of AusIndustry's Entrepreneurs' Programme, focusing on the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) and oil, gas and energy resources (OGER) sectors and capitalizing on his broad experience in industry in Australia.

Bruno Bello

| 0409 123 701

Bruno has held technical, business development or senior leadership roles in industries such as FMCG, Electronics and Automotive in organisations that have ranged in turn over from $1m to $50M.

Chris Westwood

| 0427 660 180

Dealing was SME’s realised Chris's passion for business and led to delivering the Regional Manufacturing Cluster Program for AiGroup and now the Strengthening Business program.

Christine Cussen

| 0432 683 710

An entrepreneurial business builder and highly experienced Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer who has worked in both the multinational and start-up environments.

Clive Milham

| 0434 878 747

Clive is an accomplished innovation manager, with more than 25 years of engineering, research and development and business management experience.

Craig Malcolm

| 0428 620 569

Craig has been working with businesses for the last 24 years; buying and selling product around the world.


Gabor Hernadi

| 0417 985 075

Gabor’s mission is to bring the same level of leadership, management know-how and operational capabilities to high growth-potential SMEs as enjoyed by large corporates.

Geoff Hodgens

| 0428 350 887

Geoff has over 30 years’ experience in financial and senior management roles with broad industry experience including precision engineering, automotive components, mining, health and contract manufacturing of therapeutics, cosmetics and industrial products.

Grant Peden

| 0403 947 059

Grant was the Global Supply Chain Program Manager at global technology company Thales, where he worked with Australian companies to help them enter global supply chains.

Greg Matheson

| 0409 910 285

Greg has over 20 years of experience across a range of industries including multinational food and beverage manufacturing and retail.

James Reeves

James is a formally qualified Project Manager (traditional and Agile methodologies) and a Chartered Construction professional. He is trained in Lean methodologies and has run continuous improvement programs.

John Lochery

| 0427 630 274

John revels in working with businesses in the food, beverage and agribusiness sectors who seek to improve their strategic and operational performance and grow their operations.

Karla Drummond

| 0407 765 286

With 15 years experience across Mining, Consumer Electronics, Supply Chain and Telco. Karla’s mission is to add value and be of service.

Kerry Bell

| 0437 174 721

Kerry enjoys assisting local firms achieve tactical outcomes that foster collaboration and connectivity, strengthening the firm’s position in the value chain.

Mark Amirtharajah

| 0418 250 832

Mark actively pursues opportunities for collaboration and innovation, has an agile approach to problem solving, and seeks contemporary processes to ensure improved outcomes for clients.

Marlon Fernando

| 0428 397 300

Marlon's passion is to see businesses grow, thrive and achieve phenomenal success. He has over 27 years of commercial experience with over 10 years in Senior Executive roles including a CEO role. Marlon has experience in multiple sectors/industries including Retail, Tourism, Manufacturing, Services, Education & Training, NFPs, Indigenous affairs etc., specialising in Finance, IT, Risk, Corporate Governance & Strategy.

Michael Duncan

| 0428 587 886

Michael has extensive leadership and staff management experience along with a passion for helping individuals and businesses to overcome challenges and find new, strategic ways forward.

Mike Sewell

| 0409 512 578

Mike has strong management experience at both operations and general management level, proven experience in strategy development and execution at general manager and managing director level coupled with strategic mentoring skills as a director in the SME sector.

Mike Thomson

| 0428 454 856

Diverse management experience within Australia and overseas with demonstrated success in leading change programs and teams in a variety of management settings. People and process oriented with a strategic sense and analytical approach. Collaborative and coaching management style with high level interpersonal, organisational, reporting, and presentation skills. Skilled in multi-agency and complex stakeholder environments.

Nicola Watts

| 0409 823 195

Nicola has extensive experience in the Agrifood, ICT, Education and NRM sectors in Australia and across the globe.

Nicola Harrop

| 0410 541 167

Nicola is an energetic, result-driven Growth and Change Facilitator, Business Analyst and end-to-end Project Manager.

Paul de Bruin

| 0417 118 195

Paul has led a broad range of strategic and operational functions focused on sales, manufacturing, distribution and application of technical products into the commercial, industrial and residential building services sectors.

Peter Barnet

Peter has extensive experience in GM Sales and Marketing roles in Australian & global public companies in the areas of manufacturing, business to business sales and wholesale product distribution.

Polly Venning

| 0408 627 604

With over 30 years’ experience in all aspects of business development, Polly has personally owned three business’s and been employed in diverse industries such as Banking, Telecommunications, ICT and Corporate Governance with an excellent orientation towards business development, client and stakeholder engagement, economic development and project management.

Raj Gopal

| 0412 177 526

Raj’s key areas of strength are change management, including development of strategic manufacturing footprints and rationalization, restructuring and turnaround of underperforming operations.

Dr Sairah Hussain

| 0428 458 132

Dr Sairah Hussain is a business and management academic coming from a biomedical science background with a depth of expertise in innovation management and entrepreneurship, strategic organisational management, and internationalisation.

Tracey McClurg

| 0439 547 136

Tracey has a strong local and international background covering business development across private banking, blue-chip recruitment companies, and as well as within academia running an MBA Careers Program. Prior to joining AI Group Tracey worked with SME’s helping to build R&D capability across multiple sectors and bridging the gap for PhD students and industry on short-term, high-impact, research projects.

Vance Wheeler

| 0428 039 024

Vance has worked across manufacturing, transport, logistics and tourism for almost 40 years, combining a professional engineering background with trade qualifications, operation’s management and commercial skills.

Vlado Baban

| 0428 576 930

Vlado Baban has supported start-ups, small enterprise, and mature organisations to establish a clear 3 year plan, and to engage functional leaders to execute tactical action plan.

Further information 

Contact Ai Group to be connected to an Ai Group Entrepreneurs’ Programme Facilitator. 

To find out what other services are available through the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, including in states not serviced by the Ai Group Entrepreneurs’ Programme facilitators, visit or call 13 28 46. 


Need help?

The Workplace Advice Line is Ai Group’s national telephone advisory service for all your on the spot workplace related questions.

Call the Workplace Advice Line
1300 55 66 77 and press option 1
(Overseas: +61 3 9867 0100). Email:

Weekdays from 8.30am to 5.30pm
(Australian Eastern Daylight/Standard Time)

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