School business event hosts two creative entrepreneurs

Trevor Loten, (Old Pocklingtonian Association), headmaster Toby Seth, Beth Todd (F&B International) and James Wilkinson (Omwani Coffee Co).
Trevor Loten, (Old Pocklingtonian Association), headmaster Toby Seth, Beth Todd (F&B International) and James Wilkinson (Omwani Coffee Co).

The Pocklington School Foundation (PSF) Careers and Business Network recently held its latest event in the Schools’ new Art and Design Technology Centre.

The focus for the evening was firmly on creative and small businesses.

The guest speakers for the evening were former pupils Beth Todd, who left the School in 2014, and James Wilkinson who left in 2010.

After trying a few different career paths, Beth decided a career in business was what she wanted to pursue.

Whilst working in the family business, LMA Services in Pocklington, she undertook a work-funded degree in Marketing and Business, followed by a PG Diploma in Business and Finance, both completed online with the University of Essex.

Part of Beth’s studies included developing a proposal to establish a new business, which she then decided to launch in her spare time.

Her company, F&B International, creates and sells country homewares, clothing and gifts online and is growing rapidly with customers both in the UK and overseas.

James Wilkinson graduated in Business, Management and Marketing from Leeds Beckett University and worked in marketing and business development before moving to Uganda in 2014 with another former pupil, Jonny Rowland, to help start Agri Evolve. Agri Evolve works with Ugandan farmers to help improve agricultural output and focuses on coffee processing. James has now set up Omwani Coffee Co to develop the UK side of the project, importing speciality arabica beans directly from Agri Evolve’s processing plant in Uganda.

Beth and James shared their experiences of setting up their own businesses.

Toby Seth, Headmaster co-hosted the event with three Pocklington School business studies students, who helped create the highly informative question and answer session.

He said “This is my third Careers and Business Network event. We have heard from OPs who are lawyers, business people and now entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses.

“What former pupils get up to when they leave Pocklington is astonishingly varied and so I think it is even more important that we prepare them for life after school with more than just excellent grades.”