29/01/2014 - 14:10

Fortis seeks national NFP work

29/01/2014 - 14:10

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Perth-based Fortis Consulting has opened an office in Canberra as it seeks to replicate success in Western Australia’s not-for-profit sector on a national scale.

BUILDING: Adrian and Mary Gurgone have grown Fortis Consulting through a focus on the not-for-profit sector. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Perth-based Fortis Consulting has opened an office in Canberra as it seeks to replicate success in Western Australia’s not-for-profit sector on a national scale.

The management consultancy firm was founded by Adrian Gurgone in 2007 and has consistently grown revenue 50 per cent year on year.

Mr Gurgone told Business News part of that success had been the company’s focus on partnering with WA’s not-for-profit organisations, which began with Brightwater Care Group.

“A lot of clients out there didn’t know that there was a company like ours providing those services, and when they found out it was like a light bulb moment,” Mr Gurgone said.

Now about half of Fortis’s clients are not-for-profit organisations.

And while Mr Gurgone always wanted Fortis to be a community-focused operation, he built the business through contracts with the state government and the private sector.

Once brand recognition started to grow, Mr Gurgone’s mother, Mary Gurgone, joined the company, putting her networks forged in the community sector to use.

Mrs Gurgone is chair of Zonta House Women’s Refuge and the Regional Advisory Committee (WA) of the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.

She said her relationships with stakeholders enabled Fortis to get a foothold in the sector.

“I have a great belief in relationships and I think that if you’re a trusted person and you have got credibility in the sector, then people will sit down with you and work a way forward together,” Mrs Gurgone said.

Now that it was well established, Mr Gurgone said Fortis was reverting to the business model that had been successful initially – working with government and the private sector to gain a springboard into not for profits at a national level.

That process is under way with offices in Sydney, Melbourne and, most recently, Canberra.

Mr Gurgone said Canberra was proving fruitful with Fortis having secured a number of contracts with federal government departments such as the Department of Defence and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

He was aiming for a client split of about two-thirds not-for-profit organisations with corporates and government contracts making up the remainder.

Mr Gurgone said it was important to retain diversity in the client base so the not-for-profit sector could learn from best practice examples.

“The really successful not for profits are those that have built almost private sector models around service provision, self-funding … or in the very least, innovative provision of services,” he said.

“And that’s where the private sector is really useful in seeing what really works.”

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