The most difficult step to take is always the first. Establishing a new business might be relatively straightforward to some. But striking out on your own is inherently a daunting prospect. It requires role models. Encouragement. Or at the very least, a leap of faith. In the case of Veritable, a constellation of different factors came into play.
One was the realisation that the landscape of disability services was fundamentally changing. Having worked in government for most of my career, including in policy settings in Canberra and remote Central Australian Aboriginal communities, I found myself standing at the crossroads.
I could see that there were incredible opportunities for services to become more person-centred; the power of the participant, or their representative, becoming the decision-maker. What I could see more clearly, however, were the challenges of making this model work in remote Australia.
There was the clear risk (already evident in other sectors) that the market would be serviced by ‘fly in, fly out’ providers. Providers who may have their motivation based more in the NDIS Remote Price Guide than in the quality of the services delivered.
Or providers who, for all their good will, simply did not have the ‘eyes’ for remote Australia. How business here means re-evaluating entirely how work is done. Where the very act of coming in and asking questions might already have got you onto the wrong foot from the very beginning.
I was also acutely aware that the notion of ‘choice’ is just that – a notion – if there were few providers willing to step up to the challenge. The opportunity to be in there from the beginning was tempting. The only way to really see how the system works, and to shape it for the better, is to understand it from the inside.
So combined with a few fortuitous conversations, some words of encouragement, a desire to change gears in my career and learn something new, the leap of faith was taken. Veritable was created. The business plan was written. The accreditation process commenced.