A YOUNG Tamworth businessman who started his own company at the age of just 17 is now in line for a top award in recognition of his entrepreneurial spirit.
Kyle Raffo, managing director of Expand Digital, has been shortlisted for the Entrepreneur of the Year accolade at the Tamworth, Lichfield and Sutton Coldfield Business Networking Awards.
It is one of 12 titles being contested in the prestigious competition which recognises the achievements of business networking group members across the region.
Almost 200 nominations were submitted across the 12 categories, covering individual and company-wide success and ranging from trades business of the year to employer of the year. Nominees were asked to provide a supporting statement before 48 finalists were chosen by a panel of judges to vie for the top honours.
Now aged 22, Kyle is one of four people shortlisted in the Entrepreneur of the Year category and will learn the outcome when winners are revealed at a glittering ceremony to be held at Drayton Manor Park on Saturday, March 5.
The award announcement comes just weeks after Expand Digital served its 10,000th customer in the year that the web design, digital marketing and printing firm expects to turnover £1million for the first time.
Kyle said: “I’m delighted to have been nominated and shortlisted for this award. The Business Networking Awards recognise the best of the best in the Midlands business community and to be recognised among them is a real honour. 2016 is already shaping up to be a good year.”
The former Rawlett School pupil set up Expand Digital after being mentored by Dragon’s Den tycoon Peter Jones at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy. It quickly evolved from a social media business run from the family home to a full-scale digital media, print and design company with its own offices and printing facilities on the Tame Valley Industrial Estate.
In the meantime Kyle has worked almost round the clock on growth and expansion, as well as supporting young enterprise initiatives and local charities.
Now in its fourth year, the Business Networking Awards rewards members of the dozens of groups which make up the area’s thriving networking community.
Kyle is a member of the regional FindaBiz business club. Its director Amanda Bourne said: “Kyle has shown true entrepreneurial spirit when building Expand Digital. His business is fast becoming one of the most talked about companies, not only in Tamworth, but throughout the UK.”