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Equas Ltd

EquasEquas is a UK company which helps organisations to achieve and maintain a range of management system standards through consultancy services and web-based software applications.

This Knowledge Transfer Partnership was transferred from the University of the West of England, Bristol when lead academic, Professor Umut Turksen, joined Kingston University's Law School in January 2016.

The challenge

Equas had identified demand for its service in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). However there was a limited amount of legal expertise and literature available to British companies which were interested in operating in these markets.

The company needed to be able to provide a system which incorporated not only a database of requirements applicable in the UAE, but also a means of demonstrating and measuring compliance with these requirements.

One of the challenges faced was the identification of the types of compliance methods applied in non-UK jurisdictions and non-western cultures; as well as interpreting and classifying this information into a form that could be easily translated into a searchable and accessible resource.

The solution

A two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) aimed to develop an environmental, health and safety legal compliance software tool and database for SMEs  operating in the UAE.

The company sought to develop in-house knowledge of how to navigate unfamiliar legal structures and share that advice with business clients, through the creation of this system.

The project was managed by an associate (graduate), Owen Roberts-Thomas, who worked under the supervision of both Professor Turksen and the company.

The objective of the project was to enable Equas to grow their software sales and consultancy services in the UAE. This would be achieved through the development of an innovative  new product which could identify legal requirements applicable to a business operating in the UAE, and then provide tools for demonstrating compliance with these requirements.

The opportunities arising from a successful project would be immense with potential applications in virtually all aspects of business operations and law including, maritime, insurance, health safety, risk management, and environmental protection.

The outcome

The KTP has been very successful and achieved a 'good' grading from its funders, Innovate UK.  It has transformed the company's core business by providing a pioneering product, enhancing its brand in the UK and increasing the quality of the consultancy services it provides. Key outputs were:

  • The development of a pioneering methodology for analysing different national legal structures.
  • The creation of the first environmental and health and safety legal database for Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
  • An enhancement to Equas' existing compliance manager software which has led to an increase in sales within its UK market.
  • Two successful field work visits to the UAE resulted in sound understanding of the business environment and the establishment of important contacts and relationships.
  • Interest from multinational companies and certification bodies, widening its scope beyond its previous focus on SMEs.
  • The project has also opened up new areas for knowledge exchange and collaborative research. Both parties are now actively pursuing EU funding for future work together.

Owen is now working full-time for Equas as the Legal Team Manager. Through the development budget included within the KTP programme, he has gained two industry recognised qualifications and has also lectured at the University to widen his academic experience.

"The administration support for the project and the ease of interface with the university partners we worked with significantly exceeded my expectations. Without this KTP, we definitely wouldn't be making similar progress.

"The KTP has enabled our relatively small but ambitious business to develop leading edge products that precisely meet real market leads. These products really distinguish our product and service offerings in what is otherwise a commodity market."

Julian Russell, Managing Director, Equas Ltd.