…the story behind ‘Your Kitchen’
A renowned writer and theologian, Henri Nouwen, once said: “University has become a place that prepares you for the fights in the world”. One of the many people whose story resonates with this is Patrick Emery Sevor, the founder of ‘Your Kitchen’, a catering services provider.
Read on as he narrates his journey to this week’s Inspiring Startups.
Patrick is a product of the University of Education, Winneba, with a BSc. in Information Communication & Technology. He is also CEO of OminiSoft Solutions, a Ghanaian-based IT firm that provides technological services ranging from user-support to cybersecurity. With his IT background, one would ask how Patrick got himself into cooking or providing catering services.
According to him, cooking has always been his hobby. However, he never thought of it earlier as a business opportunity until he got to university. As is common in university hostels, students cook for themselves – and that is when Patrick realised he could make better use of his hobby.
He said his roommates and friends from other hostels loved his food and started paying him to cook for them. “This business started at university. I used to cook and my roommate and other colleagues (both ladies and guys) loved the food, so they always preferred I cook for them. Later on, I started preparing stew and soup for people at a fee,” he said.
So, even though Patrick concentrated on his IT career after graduating from school, his first love (cooking) never left him. He revived the cooking and made it commercial when the IT business failed him.
“I revamped the business while the IT wasn’t fetching enough, because though people needed the services they always complained about the cost. My sister Elorm Constancia and friend Monahonnon Phanaelle Benie Gnaze, who knew my cooking background, encouraged and supported me to start again. I conducted extensive market research to gain an understanding of the target market, the competitive landscape and potential customers. This included researching to know the food industry trends, customer needs, and formulating a comprehensive business plan. I also learned more to sharpen my cooking skills,” he said.
Your Kitchen currently takes orders for events, homes and offices upon request. It deals with local foods and continental dishes. What sets ‘Your Kitchen’ apart from other catering brands is that it uses organic or natural spices. “Our services are unique because we use everything organic and natural,” he said.
How education has helped
For Patrick, his education and work experiences have played a major role in his business decisions, actions and inactions.
“My educational background has definitely influenced my business decisions. It has provided me with a strong foundation of knowledge and skills that I can use to make informed decisions. I have learned about business concepts such as economics, marketing and management, which have all been useful in helping me make decisions in my business.
“It has also given me the ability to think critically and analytically, which has been essential in making decisions. I have learned how to analyse data, assess risks and evaluate different options to make the best decisions for my business. My working experience, on the other hand, has enabled me to develop strong communication and interpersonal skills – which have been essential in dealing with customers, vendors and other stakeholders.”
Patrick reiterated that one of the major challenges that start-ups face is securing funding. “Start-ups often lack the capital to get their business off the ground, and securing funding can be difficult. Many start-ups rely on venture capital or angel investors to provide the necessary funds, but this can be a difficult process. Also, start-ups may not have the resources or experience to properly pitch their business to potential investors – which calls for programmes to groom them, especially at a time government is championing entrepreneurship.”
Patrick’s vision in the next five years is to expand his services while providing the necessary training to people interested in learning, and also employing many people… especially the youth.
How should government assist start-ups?
To ensure that SMEs better establish themselves and provide job opportunities, Patrick said government and potential financiers must be willing to see beyond the fact that it’s a small business and focus on their profitability and viability potential; so they can provide financial support for the business to scale up.
Advice to young entrepreneurs
“My advice to any potential entrepreneur or youths who wish to become entrepreneurs is to first and foremost believe in yourself and your abilities. It is important to have strong belief in yourself and your ideas to be successful. It is also important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there.
“Secondly, do your research and be prepared. Before starting a business, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the industry, the market and the competition. Researching and understanding the industry and market will help you make informed decisions and develop a successful business plan.
“Thirdly, create a business plan. A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies and tactics of a business. It is important to have a well-thought-out business plan that outlines the steps you will take to reach your goals.
“The fourth one is to find the right team. It is important to have a team of people who share your vision and are willing to work together to achieve success – a team that is knowledgeable and experienced in the industry.
“Finally, don’t be afraid to take risks. Starting a business is a risky endeavour, but it is important to take calculated risks in order to succeed. It is also vital to be flexible and open to change as the business evolves. Remember that starting a business is a long and difficult process, but with hard work, dedication and a positive attitude, it is possible to achieve success.”
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