National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

Entrepreneur of the Year Award Finalists 2021 

Thank you to everyone who entered or nominated someone for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2021, supported by NatWest. The five finalists and the winners of this category have been chosen by Roddy McClean from NatWest, Alexia Robinson, Founder of Love British Food, Zoe Colville (the Chief Shepherdess), and YFC AGRI Chair Tom Pope.  

WINNER: Vicky Smith, St Albans YFC, Hertfordshire

In the first three months of opening West End Barns, Vicky had already taken over £15,500 in weekend sales and still shows no signs of slowing down.

Her idea to use a disused barn on her fiancé’s farm and turn it into a location to sell takeaway hot drinks, homemade cakes and other local produce has made it a destination in the local area.

In late 2020 she borrowed an ice cream bike to sell ice creams from the farm gate, with a view to one day giving the beautiful, unloved barn a new lease of life and creating a sustainable business using local suppliers and educating the public about farming.

She applied for funding from the Henry Plumb Foundation and successfully received a £3,000 grant and a mentor to help her make her ideas a reality.

While working in a full-time job, Vicky would spend her evenings revamping the barn and surrounding yard while planning, product sourcing and completing training.

Starting off with a takeaway option during lockdown, her barn has now grown to offer under cover and outdoor seating and the product range has expanded to include local ice creams, oils and honey.  As well as employing local people (she currently has two part-time staff), Vicky has plans to expand the business with longer opening hours, sales of her fiancé’s home-reared meat and being a collection point for locally produced turkeys at Christmas.

Her enterprise also aims to make minimal impact on the environment by using low food miles and compostable cups among other initiatives.

Educational farm talks and local history handouts with suggested walking routes are also among her ideas for further development of the business.  

Described as inspirational, tenacious and ambitious, Victoria has shown that if you are determined you can succeed. 

See Vicky's business on Facebook 

See Vicky's business on Instagram  

RUNNER UP: Luke Watts, Martletwy YFC, Pembrokeshire  

Glamping never looked so good – or as green – as it does at Moithan Meadow. Luke Watts and his partner Beth Davies have built an environmentally friendly campsite on the edge of their working farm, and are successfully renting out ensuite bell tents to holiday makers and improving the local biodiversity in the process.

It’s a diversification project to be commended as the couple have used locally sourced and recycled materials where possible to build their site and have implemented energy efficient services too – such as solar panels to power freezers, lighting and individual charging lockers in the welcome area. It has also been certified by the Greener Camping Club. 

Every one of their nine pitches on the six-acre field includes an en-suite, complete with shower and compost toilet, and there’s also a kitchen/dining look-out shelter. Each pitch even has its own campfire space and the individual glamping spots feel secluded thanks to the 1,000 trees Luke and Beth have planted between pitches to give everyone privacy – and for safety during the pandemic.

As well as the trees, the couple have produced a wildlife pond, fenced off a re-wilding area and created a woodland walk. 

Their business has already hired a YFC member to help maintain the site, and there are plans to take on more people as the business grows. 

Luke is also offering local businesses the opportunity to sell locally produced products through the campsite alongside their own Moithan grass-fed lamb boxes and regularly encourages visitors to the site to shop locally.  

It has taken a lot of hard work to get the idea off the ground, with the couple doing the groundwork and building the timber shelters themselves. 

Their entrepreneurial spirit has shown others that it is possible to transcend the doom of the pandemic and launch a business ready for a growing tourism industry in Pembrokeshire. 

https://www.moithanmeadow.co.uk/

FINALISTS:

Daisy Haigh, Tuxford YFC, Nottinghamshire 

Working with her Granny’s pedigree herd of British Blue Cattle inspired Daisy Haigh to pursue a course in artificial insemination to understand more about genetics and breeding. After investing in equipment and seeking support and a grant from the Henry Plumb Foundation, Daisy launched Beckside Farm Fertility last summer. 

The business provides farm fertility services in and around Nottinghamshire, including cattle artificial insemination, ultrasound pregnancy scanning in cattle and sheep, cattle programming and general farm advice or work. Daisy also sells livestock ear tags for farmers through her business.

Daisy managed to get her venture off the ground alongside working 40-hour weeks as a dairy farmer and while studying a degree in agriculture and being Nottinghamshire’s County Chair. She also looks after her own herd of cattle and rears calves.

YFC has proven to be a great training ground for Daisy as many fellow members allowed her to work with their animals as her first customers. 

She has recently started advertising her services through social media and is attracting customers from further afield now too. She hopes to help farmers throughout the country with tighter calving blocks and to update records, so they are aware of what’s happening with their livestock. 

While Daisy admits there are not enough hours in the day for all she wants to achieve, she is passionate about her business and the industry she works in.  

See Daisy's business on Facebook

See Daisy's business on Instagram 

Toby Hall, Uttoxeter YFC, Staffordshire 

Toby Hall has taken a keen interest in antiques from a young age. So when the pandemic forced antique retail fairs to be cancelled at short notice, it gave the 20 year old a new business idea. 

In October last year, Toby launched Leighton Hall Auctions – an online auction house. 

Toby acts as the agent on behalf of the vendors to advertise and sell antiques to customers across the globe. His business involves him collecting consignments from residential and trade vendors, researching and cataloguing items before broadcasting his auctions across the world to several hundred people at a time who bid on the live sales. 

Toby manages all of the packing and shipping of items to their new homes – which can often be to other countries. 

Toby has worked in the auction industry for six years and needed to register his own company to sell through live online bidding platforms. His first online sale was in January 2021 and involved bidders from Australia, America and Asia, as well as local customers in Staffordshire! Interest has picked up and he’s now responsible for running monthly auctions on his own with around 400 lots. 

Toby invested his savings into the new project to pay for equipment, software subscriptions and advertising. 

Through his early success, Toby has been keen to support his YFC, of which he is currently Club Chair, and his company is the proud sponsor of the club’s new sports shirts, as well as other local sports teams too. 

He has ambitions to hold his auctions in person and is determined to make his company a trusted brand name throughout the world of antiques.

www.leightonhallauctions.com 

See Leighton's business on Facebook. 

See Leighton's business on Instagram

Leighton Snelgrove, Chailey District YFC, Sussex

Hardworking and enthusiastic are how Leighton Snelgrove is described by those who know him. His new enterprise to sell local grass-fed meat boxes has been a labour of love as he seeks to support his community and create an environmentally sustainable business. 

Leighton found land to rent in the local area, where he now grazes a small flock and a small herd of cattle. He has also connected with another landowner so he can use a barn for lambing and space for a few pigs. 

His sights are set on owning more cattle and sheep – and he’s hoping to slowly increase his business.  

While it’s early days for Leighton, he is selling his meat to local pubs and residents in the area – and gaining positive feedback. He’s found people like knowing where their meat has come from and how it has been raised. 

Leighton has managed to launch his new enterprise while also working on one other night lambing job on a seasonal basis and also deputy farm manager on an organic pedigree beef farm. 

He’s passionate about helping others in the sector and volunteers for The Farming Community Network to support other farmers and farming families too. 

See Leighton's business on Facebook.

 

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