He might just be the one person who loves your pet as much as you do and recently, due to that exact passion, Tomas Steenackers was awarded the honour of 2018 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
Tomas is the founder of National Veterinary Care, an ASX listed company with over 90 clinics across Australia and New Zealand whose aim is to stay connected to the communities they operate within.
We sat down for a chat with Tomas about how it felt to take out the prestigious honour and why progress is more important than perfection when starting out in business.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I have been on the Gold Coast since 2003. I’m originally from Canada and I was looking for a good location where I could surf in board shorts all year round.
What do you love most about our city?
The unbelievable opportunity and lifestyle the city and wider region offers to people who are keen to work hard. The community supports local businesses really well and the talent pool available to develop high performing businesses is great.
Tell us about your business, National Veterinary Care…
National Veterinary Care (NVC) is one of Australia and New Zealand’s fastest growing veterinary groups. NVC owns and operates 93 veterinary businesses and has another 420 independent clinics interacting with its Management Services Division. Plus, NVC has established two custom built Veterinary Training Centres in Melbourne and Queensland with a third to open in New Zealand in early 2019. These training centres offer practical training workshops to the entire veterinary industry, delivering on topics including dental, pathology, radiology, surgery, behaviour, surgery and much more. NVC invests significantly in the ongoing training, education and support of our clinics and employees, as we believe this is the foundation for empowering veterinary excellence.
How did it feel winning the Gold Coast’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award?
It was really exciting. I didn’t expect to win considering the calibre of the entrepreneurs. NVC has grown really quickly from five employees to 1200 and from one clinic to 93 clinics, all in three short years. Sometimes you don’t stop to realise what you, the team and the business have achieved. Winning the Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year made me realise that we have built a great sustainable business and the future is really exciting.
What’s been the secret to your business success?
Working really hard and making sure I’m well supported by my team.
Any advice for other young entrepreneurs who might be thinking about starting a business?
Progression not perfection. Business will evolve and trying to reach perfection will slow you down. Find people that support you and believe in your vision and dreams.
What’s on for the rest of 2018 for you?
NVC has recently purchased 25 clinics in New Zealand and we need to integrate them quickly into the NVC community. The team has developed a great integrations plan to make sure we can support the new businesses and their additional 300 staff members, so we can truly recognise all the benefits of the acquisition.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Beach: Burleigh Beach
Cafe: Commune Cafe
Restaurant: Rick Shores
How does your weekend usually look: I love to park the car in the garage on Friday night and spend time enjoying the Gold Coast lifestyle (beach, surf, bike, run, coffee shops around Burleigh) with my wife and three kids.