We couldn’t resist a networking and guest speaker event this morning – especially when it turned out to be such an interesting subject. The event, held on International Women’s Day, was aimed at promoting prominent women in business right here in Kent.

The speaker was Kate Hofman from Grow Up Farms and she certainly blew our socks off with her story. We left totally in awe of her business and her personal dedication to sustainable farming. Kate has a farming business that is innovative to its green-fingered tips. It has to be because it is the only current UK farm dedicated to vertical farming… the growing of sustainable crops indoors in a controlled environment – and thanks to substantial US-led investment, her farm is right here in Sandwich.

We’ll leave you to have a look at her website, and we’re sure you’ll be as impressed as we are. However, what we loved about this morning was her honesty and down-to-earth approach to the business of running, growing and driving her business forward. Grow Up was founded entirely on her dedication to sustainable farming and growing the right crops in an innovative environment. She has taken a massive punt on the technology and the tide of consumer demand for salad crops and at no point has she wilted in her determination to make it work.

We also had some sympathy with her noting that she found herself as an ‘accidental entrepreneur’. We thought this was the most ‘female’ statement she made about her business life. Sometimes ‘entrepreneurial’ seems a bit hard edged and determined; that if you set out to be ‘entrepreneurial’ you are wholly confident, strategic and ahead of the curve, in other words you look like you know what you’re doing.

Not so for us, nor for Kate, as it turns out. Rowena and I have to be ‘entrepreneurial’ in its broadest sense because we want our business to grow and thrive; but three years ago we set out to build a holiday letting agency that does things the ‘right way’, our way.

Don’t get me wrong, we are ambitious for the business, ourselves and our team but very much accidental in the way that drive manifests itself. We don’t wake up thinking about whether our entrepreneurial instincts are right today; we’re more concerned with where we’re off to and what we can do make things happen. Like Kate we’ve had to be resourceful and learn from our mistakes.

So thanks Kate for a great insight into your business and into doing great things in farming here in Kent. You’re certainly helping the Garden of England maintain its reputation for growing whilst showing it a bright, new, female -led future.