A 29-year-old entrepreneur who turned £500 into a £20 million online bathroom business has been crowned West Midlands director of the year.
Chris Li, chief executive and founder of Luxury For Less, was named the overall winner at the ninth annual Institute of Directors West Midlands Director of the Year Awards.
Mr Li, who arrived in the UK aged 17 with £500 in his pocket, also won the young director category.
He ran two restaurants before spotting an opportunity to supply taps to a builder and since 2006 has grown his business to a turnover of £20 million employing 106 people at his Coventry base.
Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham Airport, won the large business category.
IoD regional chairman Jason Wouhra said: “We have recognised the winners for their business excellence, drive, commitment and strong leadership qualities.
“The West Midlands has an excellent track record of winning at the national awards which is a great way to showcase all the hard work and enterprise that goes on in our region.”
The awards, presented at Edgbaston Stadium, were given to winners in six different categories who will go on to represent the West Midlands at the IoD’s national competition in London on October 11.
Mark Petty, managed services director from Lichfield based IT and communications company NextiraOne, was the winner in the SME categoty.
Mr Petty started his career as a teacher and is a leading light in the IoD’s student mentoring programme run in conjunction with the University of Wolverhampton.
Mike Bound, managing director at oak frame business Border Oak Design and Construction in Herefordshire, won the family business category.
Peter Suddock, chief executive of Dudley Zoological Gardens, took the not for profit category.
The environmental award went to Paul Hutchens, managing director of Kidderminster solar panel supplier Eco2Solar.