A growing North East education specialist has acquired a London training business in a seven-figure deal, sealing its fourth acquisition in a year.
Hebburn-based diversity, equity and inclusion specialist eQuality Solutions Group (eQS) has acquired Challenge, a London-based training and consultancy business as part of its buy-and-build strategy. “.
The move accelerates Tyneside’s aim to become the UK’s leading provider of diversity, equity and inclusion solutions, while helping it reach its £30 million revenue target. 2023.
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Founded in 1988 by Femi Otitoju, Challenge Consultancy has built a strong reputation as a dynamic global training provider, and has 41 staff and consultants who will join EW Group, also recently acquired by eQS.
Ms. Otitoju will serve in a founding role with the company alongside Jane Farrell, founder of EW Group. The resulting DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) division will be led by current EW Group chief executive, Rachael Wilson.
Andy Gough, CEO of eQS, said: “Challenge has an outstanding reputation for diversity, equity and inclusion and has done an incredible job of influencing positive change in the workplace.
“There was an instant synergy and alignment of culture and values between the companies. With this acquisition, we are uniquely positioned to deliver a full suite of evidence-based DEI solutions across our three core verticals of Education, Enterprise and Government and adapt to the ever-changing needs of these sectors.
Ms Otitoju said: “The deal with eQS was perfect timing. Andy, Rachael, Michael and the eQS leadership team are passionate about influencing positive change in the world and their ambition to be the world’s leading provider of DEI strategies and making the world a more inclusive place, really stood out.
“eQS has a proven track record of delivering industry-leading disability solutions and we have always viewed EW Group as a like-minded pioneer in DEI. I am convinced that the market will react positively to the combination of two of the most powerful players in the sector, and to the increased capacity and expertise that the enlarged group will now offer.
“The Challenge Consultancy team identifies as Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority or LGBTQ+ or Person with Disabilities – which means that all trainers and consultants bring first-hand, lived experience of diversity and equity issues. most of us are also active in our communities, as volunteers, board members and activists and we bring the same passion that inspires us in these areas to the work we do with Challenge Consultancy.
“Our training is both challenging and fun. We have an established global customer base – many of whom have been customers for over 10 years. Our track record demonstrates the change we have created across multiple sectors, including higher education, media, and the public and private sectors. »
RG Corporate Finance advised eQS on the acquisition and legal advice was provided by Ward Hadaway LLP. Gunnercooke LLP provided legal advice to Femi Otitoju.
The company has been on the acquisition path since December 2020, when it secured £20 million in funding from Shard Credit Partners.
Challenge Consultancy’s deal follows a series of recent acquisitions – including purchases of South West-based Amano, as well as the acquisition of EW Group and The Educational Guidance Service (EGS) – and other acquisitions are underway.