THE founder of electrical retailer Empire Direct has been honoured by Huddersfield University.
Jaswant Toor, managing director of Empire Direct, has received an honorary doctorate in business administration from the university in recognition of his entrepreneurial skill.
Born in the Punjab, India, Mr Toor came to Huddersfield when he was eight years old and was raised in the town.
After graduating in chemistry, he decided to go into business with family friend Madan Showan. Together they opened a small shop in Bradford selling branded household electrical goods.
The business took off with the arrival of the internet as Empire Direct became one of the first UK electrical retailers to set up an online sales website.
The company is now market leader in the UK with more than 400 staff and 12 retail stores across the country selling a range of more than 10,000 items, including TVs, DVD, laptops, camcorders, kitchen equipment and mobile phones.
It also has a large national distribution centre, call centres and has invested in the latest technology.
Empire Direct, now based in Leeds, has also won several accolades, including the prestigious E-Commerce Awards. It also won the Top 100 Worldwide Website Award in 2004.
Mr Toor has also found time to raise cash for good causes by competing in several charity runs and walks.
University vice-chancellor Bob Cryan said: “I was delighted to present an honorary award to Jaswant.
“His company’s success in offering excellent customer service and harnessing new technology to drive the business forward is a great example to us all.
“We hope we will be able to welcome him back to the university to share some of his experiences with our students.”