Confidently learning and rising

16 April 2021 | People

Wetumwene Shikage

Elise Abraham started assisting her aunt at a catering company known as “Kitchen LaPeney”. Now she runs her own business.

Abraham attended primary and secondary school in the northern part of Namibia. She then moved to Windhoek to further her studies and obtained an honours degree in business information systems. She is currently studying towards a bachelor’s degree in logistics and supply chain management at NUST. She is also completing a short course in events management to learn about new trends in that area.

Abraham says the journey towards being an entrepreneur has been a steep learning curve.

“The start was not easy at all, as many mistakes were made, but with good guidance I managed to follow instructions carefully and now can manage an event on my own. I am very thankful for those lessons and empowerments, which brought me where I am today. There are days where everything goes smoothly while other days are just not the best, but all in all, I think of where I want it to take me and that has been motivating enough to keep me going,” she says.

Accomplishments and challenges

Her greatest accomplishment so far has been her position within the market. When she first started, she mostly thought of only the people closest to her as her clients but now she has a large customer base that supports her small business and enjoys her food. Her cooking has become people’s choice in a highly competitive catering market. “I am very thankful for all customers who are loyal and supporting my business,” she says.

The challenges she faces at times relate to service delivery. At times the demand is very high and the supply of products might be limited, and this ends up disappointing customers. Some simply crave her food or plan it as their lunch or dinner and order on the spot. However, she is always flexible and offers her clients a substitute.

Currently, she works from her apartment and that means putting household activities on hold when dealing with the kitchen. “I am hoping to be able to get a kitchen space and even employ some people who like cooking. My heartfelt goal is to be able to employ at least five people, considering the high unemployment rate in our country. To be a famous and trusted food establishment would be the great honour for my business one day,” she said.

Her short-term goals for the next two years are to grow her business and at least have a full-time employee at her own establishment.

Seeing happy customers after every event or receiving positive feedback after a delivery makes her very proud. She welcomes criticism and complaints, as she believes these help her improve her services.

A typical day for her is like having an eight-to-five job. After that, she goes home to her beautiful daughter and starts preparing the orders of the day. Her busiest business days are usually Saturdays and Sundays, when she spends almost the whole day in the kitchen.

Her hobbies are cooking, travelling, and entertaining friends and family. She also loves reading and watching TV with a glass of wine to relax after a long and busy day.

Abraham urges young people to learn how to be independent from a tender age. “I also want to encourage them to go for their dreams, no matter how long it will take, one day will be one day when their dreams will become real,” she adds.