Start-up gains influence after entrepreneur’s competition victory

    Young Start-up Talent
    YST Kent judges, finalists and winners: (L-R) Michael Adamou, Lorraine Nugent, Jackie Sumner, Serena Christie, Richard Reid, Edoardo Abati, Rob Nunn, Ben Jeffries, Ben Towers, Matt Turner, Kelly Culver, Pete Kenyon, Jonathan Wood and Simon Warne

    A Tunbridge Wells entrepreneur has admitted he was left ‘speechless’ after it was announced he was this year’s winner of the Young Start-up Talent competition in Kent.

    Ben Jeffries, whose company was profiled in the Times in July, entered the Dragons’ Den-style event last November in order to secure £50,000-worth of products and services for his fledgling company, Influencer.

    The 20 year old had to pitch the idea behind his company to successive panels of judges, while at the same time attending business workshops and seminars alongside his competitors.

    Eventually, only five contestants were left, and Ben discovered he had won the competition on September 15 at a ceremony in the Gulbenkian Theatre, at the University of Kent campus in Canterbury.

    He said: “I was left speechless as I honestly didn’t think I would win.

    Incredibly exciting

    “The support from all my friends and family at home has been fantastic, let alone all the support from the Young Start-up Talent team and sponsors themselves.

    “It has been a fantastic process and I really urge other young entrepreneurs to apply.”

    Influencer aims to connect global brands with famous individuals from social media – whether it be from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Snapchat – to help promote their business or products through targeted social media marketing campaigns.

    Among the biggest names Ben has signed up to become ‘influencers’ are Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho and TV presenter and model Amy Willerton.

    Businesses which use his platform include the taxi app Uber and South Beach swimwear.

    Ben said he is about to launch a crowdfunding campaign in order to source further investment.