Having set up at 11 and now running a business with 30 staff, Ben Towers hopes getting a business bank account from Metro Bank at 17 will make it easier for fellow young entrepreneurs to do the same in the future.
When a family friend challenged Ben Towers to build them a website he probably had no clue that it would one day blossom into a business spanning the worlds of digital marketing and PR.
However, in the last seven years Towers Design has become a thriving Kent-based digital agency providing design, printing, website development and hosting services to a wide range of clients.
While his ability to attract customers has never been a problem, achieving financial service parity with older contemporaries has been. Until recently, Towers had been forced to conduct business from a children’s account – something which he sees as unnecessary in today’s business climate.
“Without a business bank account I relied on clients paying my personal bank account. For most clients this was fine but some found problems with this due to security and due diligence and so it held us back when wanting to get paid,” he explained.
“When my original bank found out I was using a child’s account for business use they quickly objected and froze it. After fighting my case I managed to get the account back open until I was 18 where they expected me to open a business bank account with them – until Metro Bank provided me with the solution.”
Metro Bank, one of a new wave of challengers that are disrupting the traditional banking space, stepped in to provide Towers with the account he needed to conduct his operations properly.
Ian Walters, MD for business banking at Metro Bank, said: “Ben impressed us from day one. His mature attitude coupled with his business acumen was outstanding. By investing in our relationships, and meeting people on a one-on-one basis, we’re able to better consider the opportunities and challenges posed and make the right decision for each, individual business.
Now that he has a proper business bank account, Towers can get clients to make payments to the business name – rather than to his own personal account. He is of the belief that, while services such as overdrafts will continue to be a problem for under-18s, young entrepreneurs should be able to get access to a debit account for their business.
“Other banks need to wake up and realise that people are starting a business at a younger age and follow Metro Bank’s example,” he added.
Named by Richard Branson as one of the UK’s most exciting entrepreneurs, Towers was also included by The Times in its global Super Teen Power List. He has a client list including Pot Noodle and Intuit and recently merged with another agency, Zest The Agency, to grow the company’s skills and offering.
Going forward, he hopes Metro Bank’s decision to award him a proper business bank account whilst still under 17 will set a precedent for other individuals to be considered on a case-by-case basis, as well as inspiring other young entrepreneurs to take control of their finance.
If you’ve been inspired by the story of Ben Towers, check out our look at the ten of the most exciting young entrepreneurs to watch.
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