Our Entrepreneurs

Cheryl Nesbitt


Cheryl Nesbitt Cheryl Nesbitt

Impact metric

40% growth in revenue since engagement, and 33% increase in jobs
“I saw an opportunity to provide a culinary future to otherwise overlooked South Africans.”
South Africa
Prof. Services
Year selected

Company Snapshot

Capsicum is a South African company that provides vocational training in the art of culinary excellence through affordable, national education and training centers. By actively recruiting and training mid- and low-income students, Capsicum provides a future to people otherwise overlooked in today’s South Africa while at the same time pioneering a new niche in affordable culinary training. Its founder Cheryl Nesbitt won the SA Council for Business Women Small Business Category Award (2008), in addition to other distinctions.

A master of the kitchen, Cheryl Nesbitt has found the perfect recipe for business success with Capsicum Culinary Studio. Cheryl mastered the art of cooking at an early age under the tutelage of her grandmother and mother. At the end of high school, wishing to continue her training in a more formal educational environment, Cheryl discovered that she couldn’t afford tuition and living expenses at the exclusive chef schools in South Africa. This would later prompt Cheryl to become an entrepreneur, not only to attain personal financial security but also to provide more educational opportunities to the middle and lower classes.

Her closest alternative to culinary training at the time was hotel management, which she studied at the Technikon Witwatersrand Hotel School in Johannesburg. Following graduation in 1990, she honed her food presentation skills at Protea Hotels while working as deputy manager of a small limited services hotel. Two years later, she launched her own catering company, Country Catering, which she ran for the next six years while managing, simultaneously, the Pietermaritzburg Golf Clubs catering facility. She sold that business in 1997. She then held various managerial level positions with INTEC College and Damelin (part of the International Colleges Group and South Africa’s leader in distance learning) helping to structure a culinary and hotel management course while preparing them for South African accreditation. In 2003, Cheryl realized that there was a growing demand for chef learning in South Africa. This demand was unmet as suppliers were limited to; exclusive chef schools, which charged hefty fees, or government schools, which failed to meet the industry quality standards. Both programs also had curricula that extended over three years. Cheryl identified a gap to provide accredited chef training at a lower cost over a shorter period of time and Capsicum Culinary Studio was born in October 2003.

Endeavor and Capsicum

Georgetown eMBAs have explored in a feasibility analysis for a new project, and a Kellogg eMBA helped create a financial model for expansion. Cheryl has also benefited from a Corporate Governance event, key introductions, and mentorship.

Cheryl demonstrates commitment to Endeavor by participating in advisory meetings and helping to screen entrepreneur candidates.

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