National diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) specialist, eQuality Solutions Group (eQS), has unveiled its new senior leadership team, which is spearheading a major investment programme and targeting further acquisitions.

Chief executive, Michael Hall, group managing director, Andy Gough, group head of people and culture, Camila Williams-Johnson and founder, Femi Otitoju, lead a rapidly-growing business that has seen a £20 million funding package and the acquisition of four niche companies in the last three years.

eQS Group provides DEI services and products including consultancy, assistive technology, training, e-learning, mentoring, learning support and assessment of learning disabilities across workplaces and higher educational settings.

The firm, which is headquartered in the North East of England, has doubled Group turnover and increased its headcount from 40 to 100 in the last 24 months. A further 20 jobs are being created, including a DEI project manager for the workplace sector, mental health and Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) mentors for higher education and an apprentice to support the People and Culture team.

In 2020, eQS secured a £20 million funding package from London-based Shard Credit Partners, which has seen it acquire and integrate four businesses – DEI training and consultancy businesses, Equality Works Group (EW Group) and the Challenge Consultancy, as well as educational psychologists, The Educational Guidance Service (EGS) and Non-Medical Help providers, Amano.

In line with its growth strategy, the restructure of the senior team has seen Michael Hall move into the position of chief executive, from chief financial officer. He will lead the next stage of growth, which will see continuing acquisitions, expansion into key sectors of higher education, finance and ‘creative and culture’ and the development of new revenue streams. The strategy also includes the launch of a new, inclusive recruitment service, which will match neurodiverse talent to higher education opportunities and inclusive job vacancies.

Since becoming chief executive, Michael has prioritised the Group’s people proposition with the aim of harnessing its inhouse DEI expertise to build a leading, inclusive culture and experience internally, developing an infrastructure that can support the next phase of growth and integrating the acquired businesses to ensure a unified culture. Supported by an experienced leadership team, Andy Gough being responsible for operational excellence, Camila Williams-Johnson on people and culture and Femi Otitoju on DEI.

Michael Hall, said: “When we embarked upon our acquisition strategy in 2020, we knew we had a good business that did good things, but we operated in a niche market that limited our growth potential.

“Our aim was to build a business at scale that made a positive difference to society and we wanted to acquire businesses with strong track records of doing that, which shared our ethos and complemented our specialism in disability, neurodiversity and technology.

“We’ve now successfully acquired and integrated four businesses, with each one adding incremental value to our offering.  We are one of the largest independent businesses in our sector in the UK and have deep specialism across all areas of inclusion. I’m extremely proud to have built that from our North East base with a total of four offices across the country, including London.

“We recognise that our highly talented people, who share our purpose and our values, have and will continue to be instrumental to our success. We are committed to becoming a leading employer of choice by creating an organisation that is agile, resilient and develops exceptional people who share our vision to create a more inclusive world. We’ve more than doubled the team and boosted our revenues by 50% to £15 million but more importantly, we make a positive difference to the lives of 47,500 people on an annual basis.

“Our next phase of growth is hugely exciting and we’ve built our teams and culture with that in mind.  We are now well placed to meet the growing demand in the market for joined up inclusion solutions in what is a highly fragmented market.  Over the next five years we want to scale the impact of our work to five times its current number and support 200,000 people on an annual basis, and we aim to achieve that by scaling our current revenue streams, developing new ones and through further acquisitions that will develop our offering and reach.”