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Third business award final for young star

A 22-year old media entrepreneur has reached his third business award final in three months.

Owen Hunnam, who narrowly missed out on an inaugural Kent Excellence in Business Award (KEiBA) for Young Entrepreneur of the Year in June, has another chance of glory in the HSBC Start Up Stars Awards.

He is one of 25 finalists. He said: “We’ve worked really hard on the business from day one, so we thought we’d have a crack at getting national recognition.”

Owen set up Vine Media, a print and online publishing company, in Sevenoaks less than two years ago. In the past three months, it has been a top-three finalist in the KEiBAs, run by the KM Group and Kent County Council, a top-three finalist in the National Nectar Small Business Awards, and a top-two finalist in the West Kent Business Excellence Awards (Innovation).

Its flagship magazine is the Vine, a free advertising-funded glossy lifestyle magazine. The so-called “freemium” publication covers news, art, history, politics, gardens, interiors, fashion, culture, music, food, wine, travel and sport.

It has a circulation of 15,000 and reaches 37,000 readers. Owen dropped out of a four-year business degree course to launch Vine.

“I quickly realised that hangovers, baked beans and thirty grand in debt wasn’t really for me,” he said. “I wanted to run a business, not sit in a lecture hall learning about one.”

Since launch, the business has achieved a turnover of more than £250,000.

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