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Folkestone: Teen entrepreneur helping youths get into business

By Express reporter

A teenage entrepreneur from Folkestone who was too young to open a bank account to kick start his business has set up a social enterprise to help other young people find success.

This is 17-year-old Matthew Bridger’s second project, after he launched his creative agency, Whisper Media, from his bedroom when he was just 11.

The majority of banks only allow people over 18 to apply for a professional bank account, so when he started out he had to appoint a company director to open and manage accounts for his two businesses – Magnate Generation CIC and Whisper Media.

Matthew Bridger, Managing Director Folkestone Business Hub
Matthew Bridger, Managing Director Folkestone Business Hub

Mr Bridger said: “This has made collecting payments for work difficult and can destroy my business branding.”

Now he is campaigning for a change in the law to allow under-18s to open accounts.

He added: “Young people should have access to the necessities they need to run a business.”

Magnate Generation CIC is a community interest company that supports youngsters across Kent who are setting out in the business world.

He said: “Starting a business as a youth is like a minefield. Not only do you have challenges faced by older entrepreneurs, but you also have to face the misconception that you’re incapable of running a business.

Jo Stickland with Matthew Bridger, Managing Director Folkestone Business Hub
Jo Stickland with Matthew Bridger, Managing Director Folkestone Business Hub

“Our scheme allows young people to get involved in the local community, which strengthens their relationships with others and helps them to become more respected.”

Kent Police donated £10,000 to Magnate Generation from the Safer in Kent fund, which supports community programmes that tackle social issues. The money will be invested into an employment programme in schools, as well as funding a food-waste and recycling initiative.

Mr Bridger has recently moved into offices at the Folkestone Business Hub in West Terrace, appointing Jo Strickland as co-director of Magnate Generation CIC. She owns Strickland Accountancy in Folkestone, and launched the Business Hub last year.

He has now started an online petition calling on the Bank of England and Parliament to allow under-18s to have a bank account. To sign it: click here

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