National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

21 September 2021

An enterprising young farmer from Hertfordshire who transformed a disused barn into a thriving business has been awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, supported by NatWest, at the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs YFC Achiever Awards 2021.

Victoria Smith, from St Albans YFC, was revealed as the winner at an online awards ceremony on Wednesday 15 September 2021. Luke Watts from Pembrokeshire was announced as the runner up for a green glamping site he launched last year called Moithan Meadows.

Victoria launched her business during lockdown last year after converting a disused barn on her fiance’s farm and turning it into a location to sell takeaway hot drinks, homemade cakes and other local produce. Victoria used funding and support that she successfully gained from the Henry Plumb Foundation and spent weekends and evenings making her idea a reality – all while working in a full-time job.

The business started with a takeaway option, but Victoria has now grown it to offer undercover and outdoor seating and the product range has expanded to include local ice creams, oils and honey. 

As well as employing local people, Victoria plans to expand the business with longer opening hours, sales of her fiancé’s home-reared meat and selling locally produced gifts for Christmas.

Victoria said:

“I am absolutely thrilled to win this award, something that I couldn’t have imagined possible this time last year, when my idea really was just an idea.

“West End Barns is proof that if you are determined enough and are prepared to work hard, anything is possible, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the business.”

Victoria’s approach to business planning, research and funding impressed all four judges, which included Zoe Colville, aka The Chief Shepherdess on social media and owner of the Little Farm Fridge, Alexia Robinson, director of Love British Food, Roddy McLean, director of agriculture at NatWest and Tom Pope, NFYFC’s YFC AGRI Chair.

Roddy McLean, director of agriculture, NatWest, said: 

“NatWest is very proud to support the Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2021 and to have helped choose the overall winner. 

“All five of the finalists achieved impressive results during the uncertainty of the pandemic but Victoria Smith’s business really stood out. Victoria had a vision and executed it in the right way – she did research, sought funding and has plans for growth. She already has a profitable business and I am excited to see where Victoria takes West End Barns next. 

“It was encouraging to see so many of the entries for this award were considering the environmental impact of their businesses too. Runner up Luke Watts’ glamping site Moithan Meadow is a great example, not only has he created a new income stream, he has added nature value to the land by planting trees and creating a pond, both of which will deliver greater biodiversity.”

The YFC Achiever Awards announcement shows ran from 13-17 September 2021 and each evening was introduced by NFYFC President and former international rugby referee Nigel Owens MBE.

All the awards videos can be seen here

The awards are a celebration of achievements from the previous membership year and mark a positive start to the new YFC membership year. Clubs are now meeting again following the pandemic and more information about joining a local YFC can be found here.

See more information about all five finalists of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award here.

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