A resourceful and ambitious young farmer hailing from Hertfordshire has been honored with the esteemed Entrepreneur of the Year Award for her exceptional transformation of a disused barn into a flourishing enterprise.
Victoria Smith, a member of St Albans YFC, seized the opportunity during the lockdown to launch her business venture by converting the abandoned barn into a charming hotspot for selling delightful hot beverages, homemade cakes, and locally sourced produce. She demonstrated remarkable dedication, working tirelessly on the project while managing a full-time job, utilizing funding and support acquired from the Henry Plumb Foundation.
Initially starting as a takeaway option, the business has expanded significantly under Victoria’s astute leadership. It now boasts both undercover and outdoor seating areas, and the product range has grown to include locally crafted ice creams, oils, and honey. Emphasizing community development, Victoria has provided employment opportunities to local residents and has ambitious plans to further expand the business with extended opening hours, featuring her fiancé’s home-reared meat, and offering locally made gifts for the upcoming Christmas season.
Recognizing her outstanding achievements, Victoria was declared the winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the esteemed National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs Achiever Awards 2021, held on 15th September. The ceremony also celebrated Luke Watts from Pembrokeshire as the runner-up for his remarkable green glamping site, Moithan Meadows, which launched last year.
Expressing her joy and gratitude for the recognition, Victoria shared her disbelief at how her once nascent idea has blossomed into a thriving reality. She credited her unwavering determination and hard work for the success of West End Barns, underscoring the potential of pursuing one’s dreams with dedication.
Victoria’s meticulous approach to business planning, extensive research, and adept utilization of funding sources greatly impressed the judging panel. The panel, comprising Zoe Colville, known as the Chief Shepherdess on social media, Alexia Robinson, director of Love British Food, Roddy McLean, director of agriculture at NatWest, and Tom Pope, NFYFC’s YFC AGRI Chair, recognized her as a true exemplar of entrepreneurial spirit.
The announcement of the YFC Achiever Awards took place from 13th to 17th September 2021, celebrating the remarkable achievements of young farmers across the nation. Victoria’s triumph serves as an inspiration to others, demonstrating that with unwavering determination and hard work, the possibilities for success are limitless.