CREATIVE and small businesses were the focus of a careers and business network event at Pocklington School.

Former students Beth Todd and James Wilkinson returned to share their experiences of setting up in business, their motivations and the challenges.

Beth worked in the family business, LMA Services in Pocklington, while undertaking a degree in Marketing and Business, followed by a PG Diploma in Business and Finance, both completed online with the University of Essex. In her spare time she launched F&B International, which creates and sells country homewares, clothing and gifts online, and is growing.

James who graduated in Business, Management and Marketing from Leeds Beckett University moved to Uganda in 2014 to help start Agri Evolve which works with farmers to help improve agricultural output and focuses on coffee processing. He 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 Western Uganda.

The pair also spoke about the power of social media and how it has helped them to grow their businesses and communicate with their customers.

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

Mr Seth 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. That is why I think our Values and Virtues are fundamental.

"Beth and James demonstrated these in so many different ways and I am so grateful to them for coming back to Pocklington. I was also delighted to see so many of our current students in the audience. This is really energising to see – they can learn so much from people like Beth and James. We were also so pleased to welcome a great mix of current parents and returning Old Pocklingtonians.”

The PSF Careers and Business Network is open to everyone in the wider Pocklington School community, including current and former parents, Old Pocklingtonians, current and former staff and supporters. Its aims are to help each other thrive in a competitive world and, by working together, to help inspire students, and each other.