Published: 10:01, 11 March 2016
A 17-year-old serial entrepreneur has been named the person-to-watch for the future in a list of the county’s most exciting young business people below the age of 30.
Ben Towers, the boss of a creative web design agency which employs more than 15 people, came out as leader of the pack in the Top 30 Under 30 list, published by the KM Group.
The guide has been put together by an independent panel of Kent-based judges selected from a cross-section of industries and young people’s organisations.
Each entrant was judges based on their achievements to date, perceived influence and their potential to change the course of commerce in the future, both nationally and in Kent.
Mr Towers, from Gillingham, has already become a high-profile figure after gaining national attention for employing himself as an apprentice at his own business Towers Design to avoid staying on in higher education at school or college.
He is a sought-after public speaker, a prominent member of the Federation of Small Businesses and has also become a TV star as a business buddy on CBBC show Pocket Money Pitch.
In second place on the list was George Edwards, 20, from Canterbury, who has gained the backing of Sir Richard Branson for his innovative product Gas Sense.
The monitor gives users a reading of how much gas is left in bottles – handy for barbecuers and campers – and attracted investment from the Virgin Start-Up Loans and during a crowdfunding campaign. It is now sold around the world.
In third was Maidstone design agency boss Becky Campbell, whose firm Reflect Digital employs more than 20 people and counts Tottenham Hotspur and Sleepeezee among its clients.
Named Young Entrepreneur of the Year at KEiBA 2015, her firm handles design and development budgets of up to £100,000.
“Setting up a business at any stage of your life is a scary thing to do,” said judge Jane Ollis, managing director of RIFT Accounting.
“To do it at a young age really takes grit, determination, ambition and courage.”
Paul Barron, a judge and director of young entrepreneur’s support charity Kent Foundation, said: “To be successful, they have got to forget they are young and demonstrate they have the vision and drive.
“If they have got that, they will succeed.
“We wanted to see potential, flair and leadership. A lot of it is very personality driven.”
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