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Ben Towers, 16, from Gillingham aims to raise £100,000 through crowdfunding for his social media company Social Marley

By Chris Price

A 16-year-old entrepreneur is aiming to raise £100,000 to launch a new social media company aimed at saving time for small businesses.

Ben Towers, of Oak Avenue, Gillingham, hopes to raise the cash for his company Social Marley using crowdfunding website Crowdcube.

The company has until the end of next month to attact armchair investors, who he hopes will want to buy a stake in “the future of social media”.

Ben Towers, 17, has been ranked alongside Richard Branson and Lord Sugar in a list of the UK's top entrepreneurs
Ben Towers, 17, has been ranked alongside Richard Branson and Lord Sugar in a list of the UK's top entrepreneurs

Social Marley has been designed primarily for small businesses who want to save time when posting items on the web.

The software presents various streams from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others all on one screen.

Mr Towers, who set up his first business when he was 11, intends to use the cash to develop a mobile app and the online platform where the accounts can be managed.

He has just moved the business into a new office in the Medway Innovation Centre in Chatham, where he hopes a future sales team will be based.

Mr Towers, who has been nominated for young entrepreneur of the year at the KEiBAs, came up with the idea in August last year and decided on a name in December, when he made the firm a limited company.

Ben Towers, 16, hopes to raise £100,000 for his new business Social Marley
Ben Towers, 16, hopes to raise £100,000 for his new business Social Marley

He has hired business coaching expert Neville Gaunt as corporate director, who he met through his membership of the Federation of Small Businesses.

“We are talking to some big investors and I think we can do it...” - Ben Towers, Social Marley

So far the business has earned £8,000 of investment, which he hopes to boost with a series of investor events in Kent to raise awareness of his crowdfunding venture.

However, if he does not reach his £100,000 target by the end of July, he will not get any money through Crowdcube.

Mr Towers said: “With crowdfunding it’s about trends.

“At the moment we are starting a trend and when we have raised £50,000 then investors will be following a trend.

“We are talking to some big investors and I think we can do it.”

The venture is his second business, having launched website-building firm Towers Design from his bedroom when he was at school. The company now employs 15 people.

Mr Towers admits many investors are put off by his age.

He said: “On the other hand, some people are up for investing even more because of my age, as they are investing in the future.

“This is not a normal tech business. It is the future of social media and a lot of people are realising that.”

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