A young leader’s journey to becoming an award-winning service provider

Last updated on 12 January 2024

Mr Hassan’s entrepreneurial spirit started when he dabbled in reselling sneakers and e-Commerce during highschool, balancing his “side hustle” with school commitments and being a teenager. [Source: supplied]

As young people become savvier and more influential in the business world, entrepreneurial types are refreshing how things are done – and 21-year-old Ibrahim Hassan is a fine example of that as his beginnings in business arose from his interest in business-related projects, which eventually led him to the care sector.

Managing Director of disability and aged care service provider Personalised Support Services and owner of a Haisey Home Care franchise, Mr Hassan’s entrepreneurial spirit started when he dabbled in reselling sneakers and e-Commerce during highschool, balancing his “side hustle” with school commitments and being a teenager. 

“Looking back though, it taught me a lot about adapting, working with what I have, communicating with people, strategic thinking and decision-making skills,” he explained.

“Even at that time and level it was important for me to plan ahead and be sure what my next move was and put 100% into it.”

Taking home the Community Impact award at the 2022 South East Business Awards in Victoria, Mr Hassan is an emerging young leader in the aged care sector.

Mr Hassan said it was an “absolute honour” to receive the first major recognition for his organisation Personalised Support Services and believes that the personalised business model was what made him stand out from the rest.

“We have a tailored care plan and schedule in place and we have found the feedback from both participants and families to be so wholesome,” he said.

“The word of mouth then got around, which is what I have picked up on from conversations with participants and or their families.”

Finding his own way

Mr Hassan graduated high school in Melbourne in 2019 and wasted no time familiarising himself with the sector – finishing his schooling days on a Friday and getting into the workforce two days later.

In his first administration job in the disability and aged care sector, Mr Hassan educated himself on aged care legislation – like the Charter of Rights, and the processes, like accessing My Aged Care.

“When I started, I thought it was all up to the Government, that we have no say and we just have to follow the framework and guidelines,” Mr Hassan explained.

“As time went by, I learnt that service providers, representatives and participants have a say in this.”

Moving to his mother’s place of work in aged care, Mr Hassan was able to see the community group of clients she worked with, who were from non-English speaking backgrounds and often struggling to access supports. 

Being of Afghani and Pakistani descent, his mother had the ability to help break down language barriers for some of these clients, which is where Mr Hassan saw the need to create a service provider that could cater for all people, no matter their cultural background.

Growing up, he was always around people older than him and still maintains friendships with older people. 

“When it comes to our respected senior members of the community, I find it is a very engaging and deep conversation most of the time,” Mr Hassan said.

“I usually like to ask: ‘if you could tell your 25 year old self something for advice, what would it be?’ It’s so interesting to see how everyone’s answers vary.

“The journey of life people have come from and their aspirations and dreams along the way… that’s the beauty of life. It is so similar yet different for everyone.”

Just after the COVID-19 pandemic began, Haisey Home Care came under his leadership and he became CEO, he then founded Personalised Support Services six months later.

The core of his business was making sure that his clients always experienced an inclusive environment when accessing aged care and disability support services – something that inspired him to move into a leadership role.

“[We] support many customers of a non-English speaking background from many different cultures, so we need to be welcoming and meet their demands,” he said.

Getting off the ground 

Mr Hassan explains there were a number of main challenges when starting his business journey as a provider: operations, fulfilment, sales and marketing.

Firstly, he experienced many operational challenges, including putting the right systems in place that were efficient for the needs of clients and carers but also workers in the office. 

Secondly, the COVID-19 pandemic also brought a whole new range of challenges around providing a care service during a very difficult and nerve-wracking time. 

Mr Hassan needed to ensure care staff had access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and that they were accurately reporting COVID-19 infections in a way that was safe and constantly improving.

Finally, broadening the services on offer and the areas they were servicing was a huge focus for Mr Hassan, particularly for the sales and marketing aspects of the business.  

Having overcome these initial challenges, Mr Hassan is now thriving in the industry.

When he was first starting up, he looked for information and resources to help him run his business online, but he would also reach out to fellow providers he had a good relationship with for advice.

“I’m grateful for their support, it put me on track in terms of industry knowledge, especially being introduced to the sector only three and a half years ago,” he said.

“I like being around people and serving people… I’m working with humans – vulnerable humans in the community.

“There was an incident that happened in my personal life which saw me stand for gratefulness, giving back, and always being the best version of myself.”

Trial and error

When it comes to uncertainty surrounding which direction to take his business as an aged care provider, Mr Hassan prefers a hands-on approach to finding a solution.

A strong will, a strong team that shares your vision and the courage to go through a trial and error process were facets Mr Hassan attributed his success to.

He said his passion for his businesses is what gets him up and out of bed in the morning.

“You need to adapt and work with what you have, that was big for me, especially early on,” Mr Hassan said.

“Trial and error were big when it came to operations to make sure the systems actually work for everyone. 

“You also have to be resilient. If one way of operating doesn’t work, you don’t just give up.”

As Mr Hassan has had his own journey to becoming a young leader, he has provided other emerging leaders with his three tips to being successful:

  • Adapt and work with what you have
  • Have specific goals and targets – what type of care will you provide? 
  • Go above and beyond what is expected by having a unique approach

Now an established young leader in the sector, Mr Hassan does feel the need to prove his worth more as a younger person in the business world to a degree, but said people’s main focus was on the results of the company.

He also said people often assumed he has a parent helping run his company.

“I don’t carry a whole album of all what I have achieved or accomplished along the way or anything but when I do conversate with people, they pick things up from our discussions and in the end, they tend to understand or tell the value I bring or could bring to them and or their business,” Mr Hassan said. 

Big plans ahead

A self-confessed go-getter, who has himself on his list of motivators, Mr Hassan said the sky’s the limit when looking to the future. 

Having initially planned to target all of Melbourne, he has now refined his demographic to the Dandenong area in Melbourne’s south-east – the area he grew up in and has now based his businesses in.

But regardless of where it is, Mr Hassan has his eyes set on being the provider and employer of choice for aged care workers and clients in the area. 

“I was born and raised in the south-east, I know that community very well and their needs,” Mr Hassan explained.

“If 40-50% of your own postcode don’t know you exist, or who you are and what you do, you’re pretty much wasting good advertising money.” 

In the short-term, Mr Hassan hopes to gain good market capital in the south-east, and then begin branching out into other suburbs and States.

aged care
business leaders
care services
young leader
young entrepreneur
Personalised Support Services
Haisey Home Care