The top award being presented was the Heropreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Black Isle Group, which recognises an individual who has created, or is running, a successful business, despite having been injured during their service in the Armed Forces. The winners of this award for 2019 were husband and wife team, Nick and Louise Goldsmith, with their business Hidden Valley Bushcraft.
Nick, a former Royal Marines Commando, was medically discharged after 11 years of service, suffering with complex PTSD. In 2012 he and Louise, who was working in a highly stressful position as a Detective Constable in Child Protection, had purchased some woodland as a therapeutic retreat for them both, never intending it to be used for business purposes. However, the business idea came about when Nick began teaching some friends and family the outdoor survival skills he had learned growing up and during his military career, after which it was no longer about managing the woodland for their own benefit, but what it could do for others. By 2015 they were running corporate events and birthday parties and in 2016 they started their ‘Woodland Warrior’ programme, in which Veterans share in the bushcraft activities. The Goldsmiths have faced their share of challenges, including time constraints, planning permission and weather, but their dedication to growing their business has paid off and, in 2017, it became an Ofsted-registered woodland kindergarten for children aged 3-5 years, turning the business from a seasonal venture to one that is sustainable year-round. The Goldsmiths comment:
“Despite neither of us coming from a business or sales background, we have surprised ourselves with how well we have made the change from military/police to entrepreneurs. We have applied our transferable skills from the military and police and made this business a success. Giving back is an important aspect to our business. We re-invest our profit into our Woodland Warrior Programme so that we can provide this free of charge to those who need it and employ veterans to help with the management of the woodland.”
Find out more about Hidden Valley Bushcraft here.