AN entrepreneur who makes his living from recovering lost golf balls has won an award for his online success.
Scott Phillips has proved to be a hit on Google which is where he does the bulk of trade for his company Premier Lake Balls.
Thanks to him and other town firms which trade online, Hartlepool has the second highest rate in the country for towns whose growth is down to its economic activity on the internet.
Only Scunthorpe had a better rate of growth, which won the Google eTown award after achieving a 47.2 per cent business growth in the last year.
Hartlepool was a close second with 42 per cent out of 700 towns surveyed and businessman Scott was chosen to collect the award as the face of the town.
Golfer Scott started Premier Lake Balls in 2004 as a business which retrieves golf balls lost in lakes, and then washes, grades and re-sells them.
Scott said: “I am delighted to accept the award on behalf of Hartlepool. Hartlepool is receiving the recognition it deserves as a town which is continuing to grow and develop.
“Hopefully businesses in Hartlepool will continue to thrive in 2012 and beyond.”
He received the award from Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, who said: “I really welcome the fact Google has acknowledged Hartlepool with respect to internet business.
“I really encourage this because it means firms based in our town can seek business all across the world through the use of the internet.”
Companies with an online presence grow from four to eight times faster than those companies without, according to the Boston Consulting Group which carried out the research.
To compile the list, Google shortlisted the 700 towns with the highest online economic activity, and then ranked them in terms of the percentage increase in local small and medium sized enterprises using AdWords over the last year.