Yorkshire based leadership consultancy receives six figure investment

06 September 2017 Consultancy.uk

Leadership and governance solutions firm Real World Group has received a six figure investment from one of Yorkshire’s most prolific entrepreneurs. Rachel Hannan, whose undisclosed sum sees her become the firm’s new Chair, is one of the region’s most active Angel Investors with investments across a variety of sectors including healthcare and education. 

Real World Group was established in 2001, growing out of the University of Leeds as a spin-off company in that year. The consultancy conducts academic-quality research, and distributes leadership & governance diagnostic tools in 17 countries in multiple languages including Mandarin Chinese, Russian, German, French-Canadian while working with the public, private and third sectors indiscriminately. In the past, this has seen the professional services firm partner with organisations such as Shell, TATA, the NHS and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, while the company’s Founding Director, Professor Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe, has been an expert guest a number of times on BBC Radio 4. Real World Group is presently run by Alimo-Metcalfe’s daughter, CEO Juliette Alban-Metcalfe, a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Centre for Sustainable Business and Enterprise, University of Southern Queensland.

Among their successes, organisations in a variety of sectors have described how Real World Group have enabled them to save millions, transformed their culture for the better in only 18 months and joined the Top 20 of the Sunday Times' Best Companies to Work For list. Now, their demonstrable expertise in the development of high performance leaders and boards has attracted considerable investment. As Real World continues to grow, one of Yorkshire’s most prolific entrepreneurs and Angel investors, Rachel Hannan, has added an undisclosed six figure sum in capital to the Leeds-headquartered company. The deal, which sees Rachel take over as Chair, is hoped by both parties to be a mutually beneficial strategic alliance, which will seek to blend Real World’s leadership expertise with Hannan’s executive selection and business skills.

Rachel Hannan and CEO, Juliette Alban Metcalfe

Rachel Hannan previously co-founded GatenbySanderson – a market leading public sector executive search firm – which she sold to become a millionaire aged just 36, successfully exiting after the company achieved a turnover of nearly £24 million in a mere 7 years. Since then she has become one of the region’s most active Angel Investors with investments in the education, medical, technology, food, human capital and recruitment sectors.

Rachel Hannan said of her new challenge as investor and Chair of Real World, “I was impressed with the quality, passion and commitment of the founders. Real World Group is a business which enables me to enhance its value through combining our complementary expertise and experience. Their research is second to none and its evidence based tools have been proven to help businesses and organisations to maximise performance and profit. I’ve been waiting many years to find a business that combines all the areas of work that interest me – not just improving organisational performance, but in the process helping their people realise their potential.”

Juliette Alban-Metcalfe, Chief Executive at Real World Group, added, “We have been known for the excellent results we enable our clients to achieve, our customer service and our research-based tools for many years. However, it’s time to scale up and take it to the next level. We are very excited to have Rachel on board and believe her expertise and passion for what we do will be the key to unlocking our next ambitious growth phase.” 

Through actively harnessing the new synergies brought to the table by Hannan, Real World Group will be launching a new executive selection tool later this year, the Performance Leader Identifier, which promises to "disrupt the market for leadership selection tools" across sectors. Earlier in the year, the 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report from Deloitte noted that most companies do not have a full understanding of the talent they employ, and have not yet pulled together various disciplines into an integrated framework. Solutions from the consulting industry, as suggested by Real World here, could see clients boost efficiency by identifying top talent earlier – something that will become vital to the growth of businesses as identifying areas of inefficiency look to become increasingly important for the growth of profits in future.

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SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

UK consulting firm SQW Group has completed its first acquisition since it completed a management buyout in January 2019. BBP Regeneration joins the company having collaborated with SQW for more than 20 years.

Established in 1983, SQW Group now operates all over the world. Comprising SQW, Oxford Innovation, Oxford Innovation Services – one of the UK’s leading innovation centre operators – and Oxford Investment Opportunities Network, the organisation’s origins can be traced to Britain’s two ancient university cities: Oxford, through Oxford Trust founders, Martin and Audrey Wood, and Cambridge, through SQW’s work in producing The Cambridge Phenomenon.

The consultancy specialises in public policy, working with entities from the public, private and voluntary sectors to research, develop, implement and evaluate social and economic development interventions. It now employs over 250 people across regional offices in London, Oxford and Edinburgh, and provides business support to over 4,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses each year. At the start of 2019, SQW secured its independence in a management buyout, advised on by M&A experts from Liberty Corporate Finance and Penningtons Manches.

SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

SQW has strengthened its position as a provider of services across the business spectrum with the acquisition of BBP Regeneration. Founded in 1994, the consulting firm specialises in land and property-based regeneration and growth schemes, and is a leading social and economic development consultancy. 

The two firms first worked together over 20 years ago, when SQW and BBP collaborated to develop the first Regional Economic Strategy for the South East. More recently, they developed an economic strategy for Thanet and are now working together in locations stretching from Cwmbran via Oxfordshire to London.

With the addition of BBP, SQW can now provide an integrated advisory service for organisations developing property schemes which deliver economic benefit to their local area. By joining SQW, meanwhile, BBP hopes to further enhance its ability to support clients in delivering property and place-making ambitions. 

Speaking about the deal, SQW CEO David Crichton-Miller commented, “The UK more than ever needs solutions to the challenges of places – of high streets under threat, of meeting housing delivery targets, and of both economically over-successful and economically challenged towns and cities – and the combination of SQW and BBP is uniquely suited to developing those solutions. [This deal] brings together critical and complementary services relating to places to serve our clients with leading edge and practical advice.”

Andy Smith, Director of BBP Regeneration, added, “SQW shares with BBP the same values of seeking to provide outstanding, practical, real world advice that helps get buildings built and places developed.  We greatly look forward to the opportunities that come from joining our two organisations together.”