By Beatrice Gondyi
A LIFE IN BRIEF
Beatrice Leritshimwa Yelkopba is a Bauchi-based caterer. She is the fourth child among six children and young and single. She went into food commercial preparation purely out of passion, following her stay with her aunt, who was a caterer and whom she described as “a very good cook.” After her NYSC in 2013 she decided to take her cooking passion seriously and enrolled for a one month basic catering class. She got her major catering contract about a year after. Looking back, Beatrice’s only regret in life today is that she didn’t start the business, early enough.
My Name is Beatrice Leritshimwa Yelkopba. I come from a family of eight; the fourth of six children to Sir Clement and Lady Christiana Yelkopba. I attended Jobet Progressive Nursery and Primary School Jos, from there I proceeded to Government Girls Science Secondary School Kuje, Abuja. Thereafter I studied English and literary studies at the University of Abuja. I served my fatherland at Industrial Training Fund Akure, Ondo State. I am caterer.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
It started way back when I was staying with my aunt. She was a lover of good food and she knew how to cook very well. She took contract jobs from time to time to cater in events and I was always a part of it.
I developed my love and passion for cooking from there, and always got complimented for my good cooking.
In 2013 after my NYSC I decided to take my passion cooking seriously so I enrolled for a basic catering class which lasted for about a month; after which I started making cupcakes, doughnuts and zobo drink for sale. I got my major catering contract about a year after. Everything went well and my contractors were really pleased. I was greatly encouraged and I took off from there.
YOUR DRIVING FORCE
I will say I am driven by the passion to cook and serve good food and to satisfy my customers; by putting smiles on their faces and making their event worthwhile.
WHAT STANDS YOU OUT FROM COMPETITORS?
I believe in being excellent and giving my best at all times. I never compromise my standards in terms of quality and quantity. I also believe in building a cordial relationship with my customers, always giving them a reason to come back. I try my best to stay current and updated with new trends. I am not afraid to try out new recipes.
My major challenge is the hike in food prices. This challenge is common to most caterers and restaurant owners. There is instability in prices of food items in the market. It affects our business greatly and sometimes leads to great losses.
I can say I have been able to train other people who can confidently run catering services on their own and by the grace of God I have encouraged others to become independent and start up their own businesses.
I totally depend on God for directions and He has never failed me.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT
It is when and how I started. I didn’t have any income or money when I got my first contract. I then had to go and borrow plates from my sisters’ wedding gifts and I borrowed a few from my neighbours. But today the story has changed I am not where I want to be yet but I am so grateful for where I am. God has been so faithful.
SECRETS OF YOUR SUCCESS
I am a very inquisitive person, so I try to learn from everyone around me. I also learn a lot from the Internet.
Not being able to deliver on time and meet up with customers’ demands.
The only regret I have is not starting early enough.
YOUR FUTURE PROJECTIONS
I hope to get more training and eventually become a professional chef. I want to open a big restaurant, a catering service outlet and also to train and mentor young people.
Cooking, shopping, reading and listening to inspirational messages.
It’s never too late to start and you really don’t need a lot of money to start up a business. To young people waiting for government jobs- instead of waiting and whiling away time- discover your talent and develop it; aim to be your own boss; with determination, hard work and a lot of prayer you will succeed.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE BUSINESS AND FAMILY LIVES?
I am still single so I have a lot of free time to go about my business.