We’re celebrating this week after our midland-based co-founders Marg Randles and John Woodward were announced as EY Entrepreneur(s) Of The Year at an awards dinner in Birmingham last night.
Held at the Birmingham Council House and hosted by Breakfast Business presenter, Steph McGovern, the awards dinner honoured local business leaders across 10 categories, all of whom will represent the Midlands at the UK finals in October 2016.
Both born, raised and educated in the Midlands, Marg Randles, Managing Director and John Woodward, Group CEO, also took home the International award and were described by the judges as having built a ‘well-established business that started 33 years ago’ which ‘continues to grow internationally having taken the emerging UK market by storm’.
John and Marg particularly impressed the judges with their international growth and future expansion plans, already operating 60 nurseries in South East Asia.
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. Over 30 years later and following huge success in the UK, they’ve been able to grow their business internationally by making it relevant to other markets, particularly in Asia.”
“I didn’t have a speech prepared, I certainly didn’t think we would win but we’re absolutely over the moon. It has been such a lovely experience and we’d like to thank EY for inviting us to take part, it has been a great privilege. It was a very humbling evening to be sat amongst some truly inspirational people doing great things. There was such a diversity of industries but we were all united by our passion and commitment to try and make a little difference in the world – and to enjoy the journey! For us, it was simply to provide flexible and affordable childcare for working parents – we created something that we needed at that time – an idea we penned out on the back of a beer mat over 33 years ago. We’ve made many mistakes along the way but we’ve been lucky to work with some extraordinary people who believe in providing better outcomes for our young children. So we will continue to grow and improve and learn by our mistakes and hopefully we will inspire others to come and join us.”
John, who is currently in Singapore working with our South East Asia team, was equally thrilled and added:
“We are delighted to receive this award as a reflection of Busy Bees fantastic achievements and in light of our plans for the future in the UK and globally. We have only been able to achieve great things because of the dedication and devotion of many, many people that work tirelessly to provide quality childcare and education, and those that ensure we have a sustainable business with plenty of scope for growth. We can’t believe how much fun we have had along the way. Yes, there have been risks and yes there have been problems we’ve had to overcome, but we’ve kept on going, one foot in front of the other and we’ve got many exciting plans for the future. I’d like to thank the EY team and the judges, including Lord Digby for their acknowledgement and support throughout”
Lord Digby commented:
“Entrepreneurship is about taking risks. Busy Bees are an exemplar of risking everything, working hard, re-investing, keeping their feet on the deck and constantly raising the bar”