A 17-year-old from Hampshire has earned an impressive £10,000 after setting up a business whilst being off from college during lockdown.

Alfie Payne, a creative media production student at Farnborough College, found himself with a new business idea when his college was forced to close due to coronavirus.

In May, Alfie formed Ape technology solutions which provides digital services to struggling businesses at a cheaper rate as he only employs students like himself

He said: “I had been learning these skills in college and when the pandemic hit suddenly all the businesses who didn’t have a big online presence such as gyms and café’s needed to be online.

“They needed help in order to retain their customers and keep a presence whilst we were in lockdown and that is how it all started.”

Alfie has six other students freelancing for him, who he met at his former school Robert May’s in Odiham or while studying at college.

“The good thing is that all of the team have been able to build up a proper portfolio of client work so we have proof that we can do what we say.”

“The businesses I’ve helped have been really impressed and most of my new clients often come from being referred from existing clients.

“I didn’t expect it to be as big a success as it has been, I’ve been blown away by the response.

“It has now given me a glimpse of what I can go on to do in the future.”

Alfie hopes to turn the business into a full-time operation and keep his existing team on board.

“One of the most important things to me is that I have grown a team alongside my business, so I’d really like to grow the business and have a team in an office.”

Ape technology solutions now have a client base of around 30 and has made over £10,000 in the first three months.

Alfie is now in his final year at college and is studying hard to pass his BTEC in creative media production.

He says the trick to juggling college and running a business is to make sure you still go out and have fun with your friends.

“It is tricky trying to balance college and business but I put things in place to help me out such as having a separate work phone because it’s quite important that I’m still a young person who can go out and have fun and leave work at home.”

Alfie spent his first pay check on upgrading his car to a Volkswagen Polo.