Published: 16:52, 21 February 2021
| Updated: 18:56, 21 February 2021
A young Kent businessman once described by Richard Branson as one of the UK's "most exciting entrepreneurs" has raised £825,000 to launch a mental health app for the workplace.
Ben Towers, from Gillingham, joined forces with Mike Rose to launch Tahora in 2020, which is a mental health support system for workers and is being used by the Met Police.
The app aims to connect company employees in the same area by showing them social events, online groups and venues close to their workplace so that positive work relationships can be built.
Ben, aged 22, founded his first business Towers Design in Maidstone when he was 11.
Ben and Mike are now allowing companies with workers on furlough to use their app free in an attempt to help their mental health.
Ben said: “The response to Tahora has been phenomenal.
“This is because the loneliness pandemic is rapidly becoming as big an issue as the Covid-19 pandemic itself.
'Covid has disrupted the workplace as we know it...'
“Covid has disrupted the workplace as we know it and, as a result, the wellbeing of millions of people has been massively disrupted too.
“This is not going to magically end when we return to work.
“Society is fragmenting in front of us and companies are struggling more than ever to maintain engagement and to keep in touch with employees working from home and far apart from each other.
“I have spent endless nights up wondering how we can be so connected as a society using social media but our sense of purpose connected with work is just seeping away.”
The Tahora project was launched after research from multiple places showed 42% of employees have no close friends, one in four workers face a mental heath challenge and 85% of workers are disengaged with their work.
The former Rainham Mark Grammar schoolboy has been in the spotlight for many years after impressing the likes of Virgin's Richard Branson.
He topped the list of the the KM's Top 30 under 30 young businesspeople and won the Kent Excellence in Business Awards Young Entrepreneur award in 2016.
To find out more about Tahora, click here.