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Teenage business prodigy from Custom House is invited to Downing Street by the prime minister

PUBLISHED: 09:00 18 February 2018

Ruben on the steps of Number 10 Picture: Ruben de Noronha

Ruben on the steps of Number 10 Picture: Ruben de Noronha

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A 17-year-old business owner from Custom House has been called on by the prime minister for his business expertise.

Ruben de Noronha on the steps of Number 10 Picture: Ruben de NoronhaRuben de Noronha on the steps of Number 10 Picture: Ruben de Noronha

A 17-year-old business owner from Custom House has been called on by the prime minister for his business expertise.

Ruben de Noronho was invited to meet Theresa May and two of her senior advisors at the start of February, for a discussion on how to give young people a boost in business.

Ruben is the director of RDN, a digital agency which helps companies and start ups better connect with their audiences. “When I got the invite I thought it was a joke, it took me a while to realise it was actually serious,” Ruben said.

“It was weird seeing people you’re used to seeing on TV. They cared more than I expected – after the discussion I felt potentially they wouldn’t take it on board, but they were interested and I think we might have helped them change policy.”

The invitation was extended to a group of small business owners to discuss how government could provide better access to opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Ruben said: “They were asking lots of questions - what can government do to reach young people, how can they help entrepreneurs?

“What struck me was there were so many good opportunities out there for small businesses but they’re not reaching the people they’re supposed to – they were talking about opportunities people hadn’t even heard of. I suggested creating a platform where opportunities and small businesses are listed.”

Ruben set up his business in 2014. After watching YouTube videos on app design, he began creating - by age 15, he’d built a note-taking app and a speed booster for your phone.

“After that I got a huge volume of requests to help with businesses, so I set up my own. It just sort of fell into place,” he said.

Ruben was working remotely at first, before landing his dream office in Canary Wharf’s Canada Square. At the end of 2017 he was approached by Tim Campbell, a former winner of the Apprentice, to help him rebrand.

And if the pressures of business weren’t enough, Ruben also has college to contend with, where he’s studying creative media production.

He said: “It’s difficult but I’m trying my best to balance. I have supportive people around me, really good mentors, and my parents obviously.”

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