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CQ Consulting – Case Study 2015

July 14, 2016

Last updated on April 3, 2018


Jobs created: 1 FTE and 4 casual beneficiary employees (from culturally diverse backgrounds)

Stage of the enterprise:  Start-up, tracking to budget

Proportion of revenue that comes from trade: 31% in year 1, 100% from Year 2 onward

Geographical reach: Victoria


The birth of CQ Cultural Consulting (CQ)

CQ Cultural Consulting is a social enterprise of Melbourne City Mission. CQ Cultural Consulting provides intercultural training and consulting services to support organisations achieve the benefits of diversity.

CQ works with government, corporate and not for profit organisations to assist them in managing staff and client diversity, and to develop their individual and organisational cultural intelligence (CQ). This includes helping organisations to help them work with culturally diverse clients and staff. Its primary social purpose is to provide comprehensive training, employment and leadership opportunities for young people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Launched in April 2015, CQ has emerged from the Western Young People’s Independent Network (WYPIN). WYPIN is a youth-led organisation, comprised of refugee and migrant young people. It has been operating for 25 years in Melbourne’s West, offering capacity building programs and leadership initiatives.

WYPIN is supported by government and philanthropy and its leaders looked for ways to continue its great work and also be sustainable. They saw a disconnect in the market between diversity training and the people delivering it, who are almost never from diverse backgrounds. Their solution was to create CQ to match the cultural expertise and incredible energy within WYPIN to the very real need in business to understand and work with diversity.

Business model

CQ employs a full time Manager, responsible for operations and relationship building and four young people from culturally diverse backgrounds on a casual basis to co-deliver training workshops and consulting pieces to business and government. In addition to delivering on its primary social purpose around training and employment, CQ will ultimately direct all profits generated to WYPIN.

Making a difference

In less than three months of operation CQ has delivered 22 workshops to approximately 250 participants with a satisfaction rate that is 11% higher than the national average and is included on the Victorian Government’s panel of preferred providers for these services.

Far less easy to quantify are the opportunities created for young people employed by CQ and the broader WYPIN network of 160 who receive training each year. The work done to break down structural barriers between these young people and leadership opportunities cannot be overlooked.

From concept to commercialisation with Social Traders

CQ Manager, Gemma O’Brien spoke about the support received from Social Traders. “When we pitched our idea we were encouraged to apply for The Crunch program. It was an excellent fit for testing our concept. Through the program we distilled our idea and developed a solid and refined business plan. We also secured a partially repayable investment from Social Traders. This made it much easier to apply for and secure other funding from the Westpac Foundation and the Scanlon Foundation, because the hard work around business planning was already complete.”

CQ and Social Traders are still in close contact. “I’ve worked with them to fine tune the plan and to overcome our biggest hurdles which are building business and marketing. What we are with their help is vastly different from what we would be without it. I think without them this would be a really small, fragile, not really profitable or sustainable initiative of WYPIN, and not its own enterprise. We wouldn’t have the traction we are developing with government and executives” said Gemma

Future focus

The main aim is to bring in steady work that will keep the team engaged with the content and to continually refine their skills. CQ is forecast to deliver 45 cultural training workshops and to provide in excess of 600 hours of employment and 290 hours of professional development to its facilitators per annum from FY17 onwards.  This will enable CQ to offer more employment opportunities to confident, capable and resilient young people. CQ is forecast to break even and be fully sustainable within three years of operating.

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