AFTER being nominated in previous years, it was finally the time for Matthew Larcombe, who was announced as the Young Businessperson of the Year.

“I’m still in shock about it,” Matthew said after coming off the stage. “I’ve worked hard for this and to grow my business, and it is really nice to get this reward for all of the hard work.

“It goes to show that both me and the business are on the right track.

“I was a finalist at the 2013 awards, and I almost didn’t enter again this year, but I am glad that I did.”

At just 26, Matthew is the founder and managing director of B2B Expos which organises local business shows and networking events across the south of England, with the aim of connecting local businesses.

Having started the business in 2011, Matthew quit his job to found the company at just 19-years-old.

The events run on a local level and happen all across the south of England, including Basingstoke, Andover, Brighton, Farnborough, Southampton and West Sussex.

Matthew said: “We have seen massive growth in the company and the franchising is expanding, and it is good that our success is being recognised for the success that we are having as one of the fastest-growing business networks.”

The business is home-grown success story, with the headquarters of the enterprise in the Devonshire Business Centre in Wade Road.

He added: “Basingstoke is a great place for business, and I am looking forward to continuing to grow here.”

Young Businessperson of the Year Award, sponsored by Minuteman Press.

Winner: Matthew Larcombe.

Nominees: Farah Fonseca, Jade Binsted.