#WIB – Q&A With Lebogang Lekotoko MD & Principal Of NDS Chefs Academy

Lebogang Lekotoko MD & Principal Of NDS Chefs Academy
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1. Can you please tell us more about your business?

NDS Chefs Academy was established in 2013 to reduce the gap of students who could not be accepted in the Traditional University due to their inability to meet the University APS Score or application standards/requirements.

We pride ourselves with our excellent customer and personal service which ensures we meet and exceed our customer expectations.

We are committed to building long term relationship with our customers and businesses in the different industries that we operate in, so as to enhance and promote superior service excellence and customer experience for their customers.

NDS executive leadership has 20 years experience in Hospitality, Tourism, and Information Technology, business management as well as Education and Training. The outstanding results and services attained through focused leadership, which is hands on and with the out most goal of building long term relationship with customers and clients bears testimony to the caliber of the company’s leadership.

NDS Chefs Academy is affiliated with South African Chefs Association. The qualifications offered provide the students with world-wide exposure and the students stand a chance to be employed anywhere in the world. We are proud to say we offer State of the Art qualification.

Mrs Lebogang Lekotoko (Managing Director & Principal)

I am a woman full of determination. A strong believer of God. Very caring for the wellbeing of others. I draw my strength from seeing those around me happy and feeling loved. Was raised by two strong women, that’s my mum Princess Anne-Shielah Makhado and my grandmother Rosinah Sebobochi Makhado. I could not have asked to be raised by anyone BUT them, together they sum up my character.

2. When, how and why did you start your business?

The business opened in January the 22, 2013. But I started operating in the business full time, from the 09th September 2013. This came as a calling. I used to work for Vaal University of Technology, and during January registration, I will see that we are sending back a lot of students who wanted to study Hospitality, but because of their score points being low for university entrance, they would not be accepted. I thought to myself, we are sending this young people back to the streets or communities with no hope. I approached the Head of Department and discussed ways and means of starting a one year Bridging Course so we can assist those students in improving their results so that the following year would be accepted to study the full qualification. That was never to be and it was the birth of NDS Chefs Academy Private college.

3. What is your role in the business?

I am the Principal of the Academy.

4. Where did you study and what did you study?

I studied in the following institutions, for my Diploma in Food Service Management – Technikon Northern Gauteng now known as Tshwane University of Technology, B-Tech Food Service Management – Technikon Pretoria now Tshwane University of Technology and Masters (M-Tech) Food Service Management- Vaal University of Technology.

5. How did you finance your business?

I used part of my pension fund to start my business.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

Shoo! Where do I start. Can I say I ensure that the college stay open and running, keeping students and parents satisfied with the service we provide. Ensure that all staff are professional at all times. Maintaining the curriculum as prescribed by the different accreditation bodies, both local and international.

Managing all the finances of the college so that I can answer to all the questions from the accountant. Marketing the college and the business as a whole.

7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?

I have decided that I will not load my work email on my cell phone, so once I knock off from work I am off. I make sure everyday, I am in the office between 08:00 and 17:30 and do my daily duties.

8. What drives you and inspires you?

I have 10 staff members that are dependent on earning a salary. Those 10 staff members have an average of 4 people they are supporting. This is the greatest motivation for me. Secondly, I am inspired by students coming from a background, whose knowledge about food and hotels is very minimal, and to see the penny drop in their face and they begin to earn a living from the job they get after qualifying, its everything to me.

9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

During my moment with my God. It actually happens any time, but I make sure I write it down, when that happens.

10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?

We do road shows, visit schools, attend info chefs, running student’s functions where they invite the community to come see the college, do flyers , post on Facebook and Instagram. When we do in house training for companies as well, we ensure we do a good job as this is a marketing strategy. Collaborate with other institutions.

11. What is next for your business?

Open another branch in Limpopo specifically, Louis Trichardt and deep Venda areas where there is lots of Tourist Attraction. Ultimately a University on Hospitality Studies.

12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?

Consult with your higher power daily, it will guide. Be faithful in all your dealings and never try to short change your clients, staff, etc. Be prepared to work the hardest more than any of your employees. Serve God in your daily Job.

Short Bio: Mrs Lebo Lekotoko

Comes from the dusty street and wild life in the Limpopo Province. She has over 20 years’ experience in the industry of hospitality and out of those 19 years, she has worked at an Institution of Higher Education, Vaal University of Technology for over 13 years and has been running her on training Institution NDS Chefs Academy for 10 years. Apart from being in the education sector, she has worked within the Hospitality Sectors for big cooperates such as BMW South Africa, Mercedes Benz, Nu-Metro etc in management positions within Hospitality and Catering.

Her highest qualification is an M-Tech (Masters) in Food Service Management. She has a passion for training and her love for people makes her determined to work with much pride and compassion. Her motto is as per Dr. Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful tool we can use to change the world.” She believes that the power to make a difference in someone is to believe in their ability, for this reason she excels in training and upskilling others. “The Industry of Hospitality is very big and there is no stopping on its growth. With this fast growing Industry, comes the importance of training”.

Contact information:

Personal 083 709 8794

lebogangL@ndscademy.co.za

College: (() 087 004 1310, 071 179 0610

info@ndsacademy.co.za

Social media links:

Facebook- NDS Chefs Academy

Instagram- nds_chef_academy

Website: www.ndsacademy.co.za