One Birmingham's leading entrepreneurs has scooped a top accolade at the regional final of Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year programme.

Competing against 37 of the region's top business executives, Mark Hales of Claimar Care Group was named Entrepreneur Of The Year in the Consumer Services category, at a ceremony held at Celtic Manor, Newport.

The firm was founded by Mr Hales's parents-in-law and they grew the business, before asking him to undertake a strategic review with the view to selling it. In doing this, he realised that the business had massive potential.

Entrepreneur Of The Year winners will now go through to the UK finals held in London in October, to compete with other regional winners.

The other winners were Dr Richard Steeves, Synergy Healthcare, Derby, Overall Entrepreneur Of The Year award and the Quoted

category; Ian Paling, managing director of Corin Group, of Cirencester, Business Products and Services; Steve Greenhalgh, of Kate's Cakes in Ashington, Consumer Products; Christina Domecq, Spin Vox, Maidenhead, Science & Technology; Crispin Thomas, TMTI, Beckington, Somerset, Emerging; Tony Laithwaite, Direct Wines, Reading, Master; Martin Leuw, IRIS Software, Datchet, Berkshire, Technology & Communication.