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Xero Beautiful Business Fund: Meet our global judges


Sep 21, 2023

The application period for the Xero Beautiful Business Fund will be wrapping up a few short weeks! To help us select the winners of the 2023 Xero Beautiful Business Fund, we’ve lined up a stellar list of regional and global judges. 

The judges represent small businesses, accountants and bookkeepers and Xero’s global partners. They will play a key role in evaluating the entries to help our small business winners achieve their ambitions. 

Our regional judging panels will each identify four regional winners (one winner in each category), who will each receive NZ$20,000*. There will be a total of 28 regional winners who will then be put forward to our global judging panel. The global judges will select our four global winners who will receive an additional NZ$50,000*. 

We spoke to the global judges to share more about why they were inspired to become a judge and to learn more about what they are most looking forward to seeing as part of this year’s entries.

Jeanne Grosser, Global Head of Partnerships, Stripe

Jeanne oversees Stripe’s relationships with financial partners such as leading banks and card networks, major technology partnerships and overall business development. 

Jeanne shares, “Xero and Stripe have long been partners, helping small businesses power and scale their businesses. I’m excited to be a part of this initiative to champion small businesses and empower their success, which both Xero and Stripe have been aligned on.  I can’t wait to see the winning entries from the seven countries and play my part in selecting the global winners. This is such an amazing opportunity that could truly make a significant difference in the life of a small business and help them accelerate their growth plans.”

Laurie McCabe, Co-Founder and Partner, SMB Group

Laurie brings more than 25 years of experience in the IT industry to her current role as co-founder and partner at SMB Group. 

She shares, “Being a judge in a contest like this is genuinely inspiring. It’s always amazing to see how creative small businesses are – whether innovating to make their companies more eco-friendly, using technology to streamline operations and innovate in their markets, upskilling to develop the skills they need for the future, or making a positive impact in their communities.”

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the innovative approaches small businesses are taking to tackle these challenges. It’s a great opportunity to discover the passion, creativity, and real-world impact these small businesses bring to the table in their respective categories,” Laurie added.  

John Hummelstad, Locatrix CEO

John is an entrepreneur with over 30 years of business experience. He has a background in venture capital, private equity, and mergers and acquisitions, building plus experience growing software companies and highly motivated teams.

John said, “I’m delighted to bring my expertise as both an entrepreneur and investor to the Xero Beautiful Business Fund global judging panel. I’ve seen first-hand the challenges that many entrepreneurs face and know that this type of investment can go a long way and even change the course for a business. I applaud the Xero team for launching this initiative and look forward to seeing many businesses make an impact in their communities through the hard work and ideas they are putting forward.”

Becca McClure, Director of Transformation, BDO Global

Becca is responsible for bringing together and aligning the business services offerings across BDO’s 164 member firms around a common purpose to drive value to their clients and their own business. 

I leapt at the opportunity [to become a judge] as it is a chance to directly support businesses who are making an impact on their people, communities and the world around them.  It’s the ripple effect – I hope we can make a difference to a business that will make a much bigger difference in the world,” Becca explained.

She also added, “The Fund is a tangible way to support small businesses’ experiments and see their ideas come to life. That freedom to experiment (and potentially even fail) without repercussions is hugely important if we want to make progress in the areas we are judging across.”

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Xero CEO

As CEO, Sukhinder leads the growth and performance of Xero globally. With more than 25 years in Silicon Valley as a CEO, digital leader and board member, she has experience building and scaling global companies including Google, Amazon, Yodlee, Joyus and StubHub. 

She explains, “Supporting and celebrating small businesses and their owners is at the core of Xero’s mission, and we’re energised by the opportunity to empower these companies and trailblazers with funding that can help them achieve the next level of success. We already know that so many of our customers embody Xero’s values, and we’re pleased to be awarding funds to help our customers in an area like sustainability or upskilling, where they may not have had the cash to do so.”

Nigel Piper, Xero Executive General Manager, Customer Experience

Nigel leads the award-winning global customer experience team at Xero. His teams present knowledge, enable community collaboration, and provide digital support to the exponentially growing customer base, which currently sits over 3.7m subscribers. 

Nigel said, “I’m proud to represent our customers every day in my role at Xero and now I can take this one step further, helping small businesses achieve their goals through the Xero Beautiful Business Fund. For many business owners, the path of entrepreneurship comes through many years of hard work, often without recognition or having a chance to reflect on their accomplishments as they continue to push for the next opportunity. The funding that 28 small businesses will walk away with is game changing and I can’t wait to see all the passion and ideas that our small business community puts forward!”

Remember, small businesses have until Friday, 6 October 2023 at 5.00pm local time in their country to submit an entry. Head to today to get started!


* Prize amounts differ per region. See here for details.

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