LIKE most 16-year-olds, Liam Young has a busy time ahead with his GCSE exams this summer. But unlike his peers he has another pressing concern - running a multi-national computer internet firm.
At the tender age of eight, the Widnes schoolboy started his first business in his bedroom after watching an older friend design web pages.
Now his company, OxyUK, has expanded with 12 directors, more than 1,500 subscribers and 1.5m worldwide clients who access a free website, paid for by advertising.
And, in the spirit of the hi-tech industry he is in, Liam, who goes to Wade Deacon High School in Widnes, still uses his bedroom where he talks to his executive team, aged between 15 and 26, via virtual computer-generated board meetings.
Yesterday, Liam's mother, Deborah Cotterill, a 41-year-old social worker, said: "I am so proud of Liam, he is a hard worker and he seems to be really excelling at what he is doing. But I always knew he would do well. Even from a young age he seemed to stand out against other lads at school.
"When he was five he was always methodical. When he went out playing with friends he used to make notes on them. I would ask him what he was doing and he would say he was 'analysing' them. He always had a different approach to things and was a great planner and thinker. So far as what he is doing now, though, I must admit it is a little above my head."
Liam is currently studying for 12 GCSEs and aims to go to Widnes Sixth Form College in September to study A-Levels in media studies, sociology, drama and IT. He is also a keen actor and has won a week's placement with the National Youth Theatre later this year. He has his own agent and has appeared as an extra in Brookside, Hollyoaks, and the Jude Law film Alfie.
Liam said: "Apart from my business, acting is my main passion. The two go together very well. I am able to promote myself on the internet with my acting, while my acting has made me become more confident as a businessman. I also skateboard and organise music events."
His company offers a complete web-design, web-host and tutorial service using virtual classrooms.
The teenager has also expanded into event management, research solutions and media solutions and lists customers as far away as the US, Canada, Spain, Africa and Australia.
Yesterday, Liam said his first venture was launched from his home computer and was called The Fun For All Network. His aim then was to provide computer users with "something for everyone."
He added: "It was very successful. My customers never knew my age or realised I was so young because everything was done over the internet. Nobody ever asked me how old I was."
Liam sought help in business know-how from Halton Business Link. They helped him enter the regional Young Enterprise of the Year awards, and Liam was shocked when he failed to win first prize. So he fired an angry letter asking the judges to explain themselves to him.
One of the judges, local author and businesswoman Arabella McIntyre-Brown said: "It was such an arrogant letter, but I read it with interest. I contacted him and we had a blazing row and then when he calmed down we started to talk about his work and his business.
"I was so impressed with his talent and ability that I commissioned him to do some design work for us, and it was spot-on. We will definitely use him again. He has done so well while he is still at school so I can imagine how far he will go when he is able to run his business full time."
Liam said: "We have divided the business into different divisions and, as well as being the head of OxyUK, I am also managing director of our Web Hosting and Web Design divisions.Our aim now is to revolutionise the way people learn, create and live, by using our advanced technologies."
Rob Polhill, executive board member for development at Halton Borough Council said last night: "It is great to see such initiative and such a sharp business mind in someone so young."