The managing director of a popular north Derbyshire garden centre has won a coveted national award.
Neil Grant, who is the managing director of Ferndale Garden Centre in Coal Aston, was named Leader of the Year at the Guardian Small Business Awards in London on Thursday.
He said: “I am both delighted and shell-shocked to have won the Guardian Small Business leadership award as the calibre and standards of all the shortlisted in all categories was extremely high.
“There were many IT businesses and business people shortlisted.”
More than a thousand nominations were put forward in the category, but Neil impressed judges for creating the country’s first National Children’s Gardening Week and securing backing from the industry and media.
Neil has also led the extension of the garden centre’s coffee shop to create a seating space for 200 people.
The investment has paid off, with the coffee shop achieving growth of more than 30 per cent.
In giving Neil the award, the Guardian judges said: “Having seen sales shoot up by 46 per cent in the past five years, Ferndale Garden Centre is clearly reaping the rewards of Grant’s entrepreneurial vision.”
The annual awards, hosted by TV presenter and author Rick Edwards, recognise innovation and best practice across the small business sector and the leader award was given to the inspirational entrepreneur who gained the most public votes.