The winning streak continues for a young Tamworth businessman who has been voted Entrepreneur of the Year for the second time in row.
The trophy cabinet is filling up nicely for 23-year-old Kyle Raffo and his digital marketing, print and design company, Expand Digital, after collecting more gongs at the 2017 Business Networking Awards. The event was held at Drayton Manor Park on Saturday, March 11.
As well as defending the Entrepreneur of the Year title, Kyle also picked up an award for Expand Digital, which was highly commended in the Employer of the Year category.
The prestigious event saw a total of 12 awards handed out to the best of the best among the region’s vast business networking community, with four finalists vying for each accolade.
Kyle was up against some tough competition and was delighted to retain the title for a second year.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have won the Entrepreneur of the Year award for a second time, it was totally unexpected. Once again there was some tough competition, from some very successful and enterprising business people, so to win it again was amazing,” he said.
“I’m also really pleased to have won the recognition for Expand Digital. Our success just wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication of the Expand Digital team; they are our most valuable investment.
“More than 80% of our staff are currently studying towards, or have completed, further or higher education programmes. This is something we want to not only maintain, but increase, to ensure every member of the team has the opportunity to develop their skills further.
“The creative, marketing and interactive industry is known for having a more laid-back work atmosphere, even with its fast pace. It’s no surprise that the Expand Digital team love our company experience days and fun traditions, such as ‘Fast Food Fridays’. Our next goal is the Investors in People award.”
On a personal level, Kyle is a big supporter of local charities. As well as being a Community First Responder, he is also Tamworth Rotary Club’s run director for the new sell-out Lichfield Cathedral to Tamworth Castle 10-mile charity run. This takes place on April 9 and is being organised by the four Rotary clubs of Tamworth and Lichfield.
This dedication to local charities is also continued through Expand Digital.
Kyle said: “We are big believers in delivering services that benefit the local community, including our Community Fund, which has supported more than 100 local charities/organisations. This enables our employees to feel good about the work they are doing at Expand Digital.”
As a teenager, Kyle was mentored at Dragons Den investor Peter Jones’ Enterprise Academy and started his company, Expand Digital, soon after.
Since then the business has grown into a full-scale digital marketing, print, embroidery and design company, employing 14 people, with offices and vast production facilities on the Tame Valley Industrial Estate in Tamworth.
Expand Digital was highly commended as Business to Business Service of the Year in the Tamworth Business and Community Awards at the end of last year, as well as being shortlisted for the Professional Business of the Year title.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Kyle has continued his entrepreneurial journey during the last 12 months, including investing in several award-winning start-up businesses, delivering services to blue chip companies and working with schools and colleges to inspire other young entrepreneurs. He was also named among the UK’s top 20 entrepreneurs to watch in 2016 by Startups magazine.
Hundreds of nominations were submitted for the fifth Business Networking Awards competition, covering individual and company awards ranging from trades business of the year to employer of the year.