Every year the prestigious Small Business Champion accolade is awarded at the National Small Business Summit.
This award recognises and acknowledges small business influencers who are making a genuine difference to their industry or the sector.
Sandy Chong, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Australian Hairdressing Council (AHC) is this year’s winner and was chosen to recognise her long-serving commitment to hair stylists, barbers, and small businesses nationwide.
Sandy is a key influence in the Hairdressing industry and has owned her own business, Suki Hairdressing for 38 years. In her role at AHC, Sandy has established better business practices, training and education, and helped build sustainable careers for the industry.
Sandy’s vision has always been to create an industry with the highest possible standards in ethics, technical ability and workplace practices, and she has been working toward that goal for many years.
The announcement was made at the Summit Gala Dinner (4 April 2023) and came as a shock to the unsuspecting Sandy on the night.
“I am truly humbled and honoured to be recognised as the Small Business Champion. I’m also incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved for the hairdressing industry over the last few years. It’s been rough, I’ve had to have difficult conversations with many stakeholders and really pushed for clarity and acknowledgement whilst I advocated for my industry during challenging times.
“I understand what a small business goes through every day, and I understand how that feels as a small business owner: the stress, the angst, and the fear of it all going downhill. I think some days combined with being an association head, it’s often a thankless job. So, when your peers thank you, it means a lot; I’m really grateful,” said Sandy.
Elizabeth Skirving, Deputy Chair and Director of COSBOA, presented the award to Sandy and reminisced on their shared history working for the betterment of COSBOA and what they’ve accomplished together.
“It is with great appreciation and congratulations that COSBOA appoint Sandy as the 2023 Small Business Champion. She truly deserves this award after years of dedication as an advocate, mentor and voice for her industry and in fact, all small businesses.
“After years of service on the COSBOA Board and as a member, Sandy has been instrumental to COSBOA and to the Summit. Her tiresome effort, commitment, and advocacy efforts have had a real and lasting impact not just the hairdressing industry, but all small business. I can’t think of a more deserving individual.”
Sandy Chong will continue to advocate on behalf of her members and small business in Australia.