AN ENTREPRENEURIAL teenager with big ideas is encouraging young people to take the plunge and set up their own business.

Attracting a 250-strong audience of students and local business people, 18-year-old Matthew Larcome held the official launch of his new social enterprise Student Startup with a business exhibition at Basingstoke College of Technology on Tuesday.

Student Startup is the eighth business the serial entrepreneur has set up since he was aged 11, when he started selling confec tionery to his schoolmates at what was to become Cranbourne Business and Enterprise College.

Since then he has learned from various business ventures and has even written a 140-page book called Student Startup: The Essential Guide to Starting a Business.

Last year, the BCOT student, who still has two months to go on his National Diploma in Business Studies, sold a print and a leaflet distribution company.

Pleased with how the day went, Matthew said: “I started Student Startup to help encourage young people aged between 14 and 25 to set up their own business.

“We help them with getting funding, finding grants and supporting with things like advice and putting them in contact with local businesses.”

“I’m really pleased with how today went and it’s been really interesting to see how local businesses interact with students, and how they can help them.”

Matthew, who lives in Rooksdown, Basingstoke, had plenty of support for his latest venture from family and friends, as well as Barbara Payne and Coral Iles, from Basingstoke Networking.

“Barbara and Coral have been absolutely tremendous throughout the whole process of organising this event,” said Matthew.

Among the exhibitors was Gary Livingstone, managing director of LG Motion and MiniTec UK, based in Telford Road, on the Houndmills Industrial Estate.

Gary said: “It’s great to support local events like this for the ultimate success of business in Basingstoke. I hope Matthew is inspiring a new generation.”

Business coach Dave Gammon, from Action Coach, based in Hartley Wintney, said he was impressed with Matthew’s efforts.

He said: “The younger you can get people involved in business, the better.”

To find out more about Matthew’s new venture, go to