Busy Bees founders are buzzing after Midlands entrepreneur awards success

THE founders of childcare nurseries Busy Bees have been named Midlands entrepreneur of the year at EY’s annual awards event.

 Marg Randles and John Woodward opened the first nursery in Lichfield in 1983 and now the business operates 250 nurseries in the UK and 60 in South East Asia. They plan to continue to grow the business nationally and internationally over the next three years.

The entrepreneurial duo behind the £180m-turnover group also won the International award at the awards dinner in Birmingham.

Andrew Spence, partner and Midlands Entrepreneur Of The Year Leader at EY, said: “Having grown the business from scratch to become the UK’s leading childcare provider, Marg and John’s entrepreneurial spirit is to be admired. They had a simple aspiration to create better outcomes for young children through exceptional care and education.”

10 other entrepreneurs were also named category winners, and they will all go forward to represent the Midlands at the UK finals in October.
A Chairman’s Special Award was also presented to Graham Wynn and Jennifer Wynn of TTC Group, the UK’s largest provider of national offender retraining schemes and drink drive rehabilitation schemes.

Chairman of the judging panel Lord Digby Jones commented that TTC Group “truly encapsulated how business and social enterprise should operate hand in hand” and wanted to recognise their significant contribution to the Midlands through this special award.



Overall and International
Marg Randles and John Woodward
Busy Bees, Burntwood, Staffordshire
A well-established business that started 33 years ago and continues to grow internationally having taken the emerging UK market by storm. The judges were particularly impressed by their international growth into Asia and future expansion plans.


Customer Services & Products
William Chase
Chase Distillery, Preston Wynne, Herefordshire
A serial entrepreneur, who started as a potato farmer, developed Tyrells crisps and sold that to start his new challenge Chase Distillery, which produces potato vodka.


Mark Jones and Jeremy Taylor
Green Frog Power, Coleshill, Warwickshire
An impressive business that provides National Grid and others with back up reserve power on demand. It has built a model of the future for power generators, with plans to build a nuclear power station. 


Rosie Ginday
Miss Macaroon, Birmingham
Produces premium gluten free French macaroons, reinvesting the profits in providing training and employment opportunities for unemployed young people. Extremely passionate about being a social entrepreneur running a social enterprise.



Michael Bruce
Purplebricks, Solihull
Estate agency combining the human face of the traditional estate agent with technology. A serial entrepreneur with an efficient business that is about to expand overseas.


Chairman’s Special Award
Graham Wynn and Jennifer Wynn
TTC Group, Telford, Shropshire
Largest UK provider of National Offender Retraining Schemes and Drink Drive Rehabilitation scheme. They also have a corporate driving training division devoted to helping with workplace safety. 


Prof Simon Fishel
Care Fertility Holdings, Nottingham
Pioneering the largest UK group of IVF clinics, established to serve both private and NHS patients and to drive new technologies into clinical practice. Very impressive model with advanced technology that would have a significant impact on society. 


Social Enterprise
Sarah Gill
Gro-Organic CIC, Birmingham
Started the business five years ago and achieved a huge amount from modest beginnings. Business involves urban regeneration, community skill development and garden design & landscaping services.


Construction and Building Services
Alan Hardy
Paragon Interiors Group, Nottingham
A true entrepreneur who overcame significant obstacle of switching from professional football to specialising in the interiors industry. The way he looks after employees is impressive, with 97% retention rate.


Automotive and Manufacturing
Ben Maughan
SHEco, Tipton, Sandwell
A group of companies that provide specialist engineering services and products to the automotive, energy, heating, air-conditioning and ventilation sectors. Moved the business from 5% to 90% automotive. 


Business Services and Products
Heather Penn and John Penn
SSE Audio Group, Redditch, Worcestershire
A hire, sales and installation business of professional audio and AV systems. Started the business because they couldn’t source systems elsewhere so decided to manufacture their own.