Entrepreneur award for founders of Lichfield and Burntwood nursery chain Busy Bees

The founders of a Lichfield and Burntwood nursery chain are celebrating after winning an entrepreneur award.

Marg Randles and John Woodward founded Busy Bees 33 years ago and have seen the company go on to become one of the largest childcare providers in the UK with 250 nurseries.

John Woodward and Marg Randles

John Woodward and Marg Randles

They won the EY Entrepreneurs of the Year title at an awards dinner in Birmingham and also walked away with the international award.

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, paid tribute to the way they had made their vision a reality.

“They had a simple aspiration to create better outcomes for young children through exceptional care and education,” he said. “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.”

The awards ceremony was held at the Council House in Birmingham and hosted by BBC business presenter Steph McGovern.

Marg admitted the award had come as a suprise. She said: “I didn’t have a speech prepared. I certainly didn’t think we would win but we’re absolutely over the moon.

“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. It was 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.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.