Jim Ellis (23) helps his father run the family beef and sheep farm on the Llyn Pensinsula. He says that being awarded a place on the Business & Innovation Programme has been an inspirational experience.
“The new networks and friends I’ve made, together with mentoring and guidance from experts, has been fantastic. I’ve met so many inspirational business people, who have given me a new sense of focus which I plan to put into practice both on the farm and in some of my other business enterprises.”
After attending Coleg Menai, Jim won a place at the prestigious Entrepreneurship Academy in Swansea, which also awarded him funding towards setting up a new photography business. Having developed that business further, together with a business partner, he now runs a successful company specialising in video and drone photography for businesses in North Wales, alongside his duties on the farm. And there’s yet another new business venture in the pipeline for Jim, who has now joined forces with another young Business & Innovation candidate, Gareth Thomas who farms near Cemaes Bay.
“We are both young, ambitious and keen to make our money in new markets, so we’ve set up a new joint business venture and hope to launch a new healthy energy drink.”
Jim says that he had to be persuaded to apply for the Agri Academy by his local Farming Connect development officer.
“I assumed that everyone else would have been to agriculture college and the focus would be mainly technical, so I didn’t think it would be for me! In fact, as the name implies, the focus was on business and on innovation – the two areas that really interest me both as a farmer and an entrepreneur!
“Although having returned home, I am now very involved with farming at grass roots level, I’m keen to bring my entrepreneurial skills to everything I do, so hearing how other farm businesses are achieving better efficiency and profits by benchmarking and getting costs down has inspired me to do things differently.
“The study visit to Switzerland was amazing, and every minute of every day provided a new learning opportunity. It was so relevant to speak to farmers operating outside the EU, and realise that despite having autonomy, they are still constrained by European rules, as it would disadvantage them not to.
“It’s concerning to consider that the Swiss opted for a relationship where they are engaged but not married to the EU, whereas in the UK we seem to be heading for a divorce!”