In two years of operations WA’s only privately owned Indigenous health provider has gone from ‘dead quiet’ to award nominations at the Indigenous Emerging Business Forum and planning expansions to a sixth clinic.
Spartan First’s bread and butter is occupational health but they provide a diverse range of services from physio to GP and mental wellbeing.
Though they’ve only been in business for two years, Spartan already has three clinics and another three in the works.
“The first year we were almost dead quiet … Word of mouth and occupational health is what grew us, and now we’ve been able to really branch into Indigenous health and Closing the Gap initiatives,” said Practice Manager Olivia Tassone.
At just 22-years-old, Tassone is also a part-owner of the company, along with former footballer Des Headland and others.
Being privately owned gives Spartan First a flexibility that other companies in the same space don’t have.
“One of the benefits of being a being a private business is we don’t really have a lot of red tape to jump over. If we want to start making a change, then we can just do it,” Tassone said.
Spartan First’s mission statement is ‘Quality healthcare through diversity and innovation’. The company’s staff is around 50 per cent Indigenous and includes jobseekers placed in traineeships by Centrelink’s Jobactive program.
“We really want this business to be welcoming arms for everyone,” Tassone said.
Tassone will be one of the youngest businesswomen in attendance at the Indigenous Emerging Business Forum (IEBF) on Friday. She said the forum is a step in the right direction.
“I know for my dad, something like this would have never happened back when he was my age so I think it’s a really big step to be celebrating Indigenous businesses,” she said.
Co-owner Des Headland agreed.
“Having [Telstra Business Technology Centre Perth North] invested in this event is a huge step forward in Closing the Gap in the Indigenous business economy,” Headland said.
He said the forum has the potential to be transformational.
“This is an opportunity to showcase our diverse innovative services and capabilities to Telstra and their business partners,” he said.
“It can be transformational to our Indigenous business sector as long as there are invested outcomes and deliverables from the corporate sector.”
The IEBF isn’t just an opportunity to network and spruik the business, it’s also a chance for the Indigenous business community to recognise their best and brightest.
Tassone has been nominated for the Emerging Businesswoman of the Year Award. She said though the nomination came as a surprise, it’s a confidence boost.
“I’m just a bit shocked if I’m being honest,” she said.
“I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself coming into this business, especially as a young person, but being nominated for something like this really pushes my confidence; I know that I’m doing a good job.”
Tassone hopes her example can act as inspiration for other young Indigenous people.
“When I was younger I would have never pictured myself being in this position, so being able to be a young role model is really important,” she said.
By Sarah Smit
NIT is the proud media partner of IEBF2020.