Acquisitive North East-headquartered eQuality Solutions (eQS) has completed its first acquisition as part of a major growth strategy, setting the company on track to achieve its target of £20m turnover by 2023.

Education technology specialist for inclusivity and mental wellbeing, eQS has acquired South West-based Amano Technologies, to expand geographic reach and to add capabilities in the education and workplace support market.

The acquisition is the first step in the company’s ambitious ‘buy and build’ strategy, supported with funding from London-based Shard Credit Partners, and aimed at expanding its specialist technology and service offering, opening up channels into new markets and creating greater scalability.

Amano’s 10 Devon-based staff and 160 consultants located across the South West will join eQS’ 120-strong team. eQS provides assistive technology equipment, training and software that help to remove barriers to learning, and now, following the acquisition of Amano, learning support services known as non-medical help (NMH).

Amano’s specialist NMH services cover a range of one-to-one learning support services designed to improve educational outcomes, such as study skills tutors, mental health mentors, British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters and more.

eQS CEO Andy Gough said: “Amano has an outstanding reputation for providing high quality services that improve people’s chances at life and the genuine care of its staff and company culture in maintaining these quality standards, reflects how we work at eQS. The undeniable synergy between our companies made this feel like a natural fit for both companies.

“We plan to double the Amano contribution to the eQS group over the next two years by investing heavily in marketing and utilising our existing sales channels. Our aim long-term is to build a national presence offering innovative, high-quality, specialist services, all led from our North East base.”

Amano cofounders Graham Coiley and Paul Wood launched the business ten years ago and, having been approached by eQS, made the decision to sell the business earlier than planned, seeing the potential for business and staff development associated with this opportunity.

Graham Coiley said: “The inclusion of Amano into the eQS family will give Amano much greater scope for growth in the future. We know the eQS team well, they are a professional company who share our approach to student support, particularly around quality and innovation. We are very proud that eQS plans to preserve and enhance the Amano reputation, continuing to use our fantastic systems and understanding the value of our committed consultants. We are excited to follow the future of Amano as its specialist support reaches even more people across the UK.”

Advising eQS on the acquisition of Amano Technologies was Newcastle-based RG Corporate Finance (RGCF), led by Partner and Head of Corporate Finance, Carl Swansbury. He was supported by Corporate Finance Senior Manager Rhiannon Nightingale and Corporate Finance Assistant Ben Kain.

Strategic tax advice was provided by RGCF’s Business Tax Partner Simon Whiteside and Director, Simon Hopwood. Financial and tax due diligence was provided by RGCF’s Audit and Assurance Partner, Grahame Maughan and Director, Andrew Cameron.

Legal advice was provided by Ward Hadaway, led by Corporate Partner, Tom Pollard. He was supported by Corporate Solicitors, Liam Stubbs and Jamie Guy.

eQS has also engaged RGCF to support its ongoing acquisition strategy. RGCF Partner and Head of Corporate Finance Carl Swansbury said: “The acquisition of Amano is the first step in the fast-track growth plans eQS has set for the next three years. The team at RGCF will be actively identifying further acquisition opportunities, particularly of businesses that provide specialist disability and mental wellbeing services to the private sector and have their own proprietary software that can add value to eQS’ capabilities. We look forward to helping the eQS management team scale the business over the coming months.”