By Prudence Minayo
Jennifer Nashipae Lenkume is the proprietor of Lesan Caterers, a business she started after retiring from her banking career. Coming from a community where women are looked down upon, it was hard for people to believe she could be able to run a successful business.
“….I come from a minority community…our men don’t believe in women that they can actually do business. They would even ask, ‘…Unaweza Kweli?’…so if you ask funds from them, money from them to assist….it’s like they don’t believe in you,” she said in an interview that was aired on NTV.
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There was also the challenge of getting enough finances to fund her business. Nonetheless, she is a woman who has broken boundaries and proved that no matter where you are from, success is yours as long as you are determined to get it.
Apart from running the business, she is also big on supporting the disadvantaged in the community. Every October they organize to visit different groups where they give financial assistance, food and clothes to them.
Here is Jennifer Nashipae Lenkume’s entrepreneurial journey as told by WoK.
Founding Lesan Caterers
Founded in 2014, Lesan Caterers began in her home kitchen. She started with preparing food for one or two friends at her home then progressed to providing catering at birthday parties and friends’ events. Seeing an opportunity in the food industry, she grabbed it and did not stop.
She secured finances and was able to open the first outlet of Lesan Caterers. She got a space which needed to be equipped. Since she did not have enough money, she got a loan from Kenya Commercial Bank to actualize her dream. She started with a small space that could only feed 24 people but today she serve about 5,000 people in her outlets, which have grown to ten in number.
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Management and Employees
The caterer has a well established management team from her base to the head chef. They follow standard procedures so as to maintain consistency. The business has been able to provide jobs for 250 employees excluding the casual labourers and those indirectly employed at their outlets.
Among the challenges she has faced in the business, certification ranks up high. There are so many certificates involved and she can’t just get one certificate to run Lesan as a whole. Since she runs about ten units, she needs a certificate for each unit and they don’t come cheap. She spends nearly Sh500,000 annually for the certification.
Her five-year vision plan is to set up a four star hotel in Narok and to probably hand the reigns to her daughter. Her daughter graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics and Economics from the University of Nairobi and went on to pursue a Masters in Finance in Australia, graduating with a distinction. She is very much interested in the business
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