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Thursday, 8 November 2018

Top 35 small business ideas in Kenya and their cost estimates

small business ideas in Kenya
Are you an entrepreneur or investor? Looking for the best small business ideas in Kenya to start with?  If yes, here are the list of best small business opportunities in Kenya to invest in.

Kenya is a country located in East Africa and has about 49.7 million population as at 2017.

As an entrepreneur or investor who is willing to start any kind of business in Kenya, it will be very ideal of you to get to know the benefits and challenges you would face when running a business in Kenya.

Here are the reasons and facts about starting a small business in Kenya that you will find useful

1. Kenya was ranked as number 92nd of ease of doing business by World bank in 2017.

2. Kenya's economy has seen so much expansion by strong performance in tourism, telecommunications, and higher educations. This will be a good sector for entrepreneurs and investors to explore more

3. The agricultural sector is the largest employer in Kenya, contributing 25.3% of the gross domestic product in 2014

4. Kenya is generally considered to be the economic, commercial and logistics hub of East Africa.

5. With a strong diversified economy, Kenya has become the center and headquarters for many industries in the area.

6. Kenya has a low-risk investment environment

7. Kenya is the most advanced and largest economy in East and Central Africa, with strong growth prospects supported by an emerging, urban middle class.

Challenges you will face when running your small business in Kenya

1. Insecurity:  Safety and security has recently been a major concern in Kenya, most especially in the city of Nairobi

2. Limitations to infrastructure

3. High level of corruption

4. Lack of advanced technology

5. Poor road networks

6. The high rate of competition: So be ready to adapt and know how to overtake your competitors

7. The high cost of doing business ( such as taxes and access to business funds)

8. Counterfeiting of products

Top 36 small business ideas in Kenya.

1. Agribusiness

 Agriculture is noted to be the second largest contributor to Kenya's gross domestic product. An entrepreneur can take advantage of this sector by going into the plantation of cash crops(such as tea, coffee, cocoa, and spices) these can be exported to other neighboring countries in other to generate income.

You just have to identify the most fast-moving and profitable agricultural products that thrive most in Kenya.

2. Car wash business

This is another thriving and lucrative small business idea to start in Kenya, reasons because with the large population and a good number of vehicles, not everyone can maintain their car through professional washing service, what they do is take to take it to car wash center and they get it done for them and pay them for their service rendered. You can set a pace for yourself in this small business by getting a good business location(most especially busy location or close to major roads) and invest in the required car washing tools.

Cost between KSH100,000 and 500,000

3. Real estate

The real estate industry happens to be a profitable one to go into not only in Kenya but across different part of the world. An entrepreneur can go into this sector either by going into real estate agency. You need to know have the knowledge about this business by getting yourself acquitted with an experienced real estate agent in your locality and also have a reasonable capital to kick start this business.

The cost estimate is between KSH 1Million and KSH 5 million

4. Mobile food vending

Food is known to being one of the highest lucrative business of all time. People wouldn't go a day without satisfying their bellies, not everyone has the time to make meals for them self-based on the nature of their jobs and businesses.

If you are a great cook consider this business specially made for you, you can start making popular and most loved foods in Kenya such as the Ugali, Irio, Githeri, Kenyan pilau, Matoke, Bajia, Mutura and so on.

 You just have to make tasty foods and market your business in different streets within your locality in other to pull in more customers.

The cost estimate is between KSH30,000 and below

5. Professional cleaning service

You can offer professional cleaning service to small and big business firms, one interesting part is that this business doesn't need any certificate before you can venture into it. To get started in this business, you need to get in touch with business firms who are in need of professional cleaner in other for them to have a better working business environment for their customers.

6. Poultry farming

Poultry farming is another profitable business idea to start in Kenya. Eggs, chickens, and turkeys are mostly consumed on a daily basis in Kenya so it will thrive a lot if you decide to venture into the poultry farming business, a good approach to this business will be very important.

Cost between KSH50,000 and KSH100,000 for smaller markets.

7. Start a cereal shop

You can start up a cereal shop in Kenya in a very strategic and busy location where you sell cereal products such as beans, maize, groundnuts, green gram, porridge flour, and rice. To get started, you need to get a supplier of cereal products from different brands in wholesale price and then sell it at retail price in other to make you profit and also let them know the type of stock you may need.

Cost between KSH50,000 and KSH100,000 for smaller markets

8. Laundry business

Most people living in Kenya are the working class and business owners who have little to no time to take care of their untidy clothes. An entrepreneur can easily take advantage of this business by even starting it straight from your home. The first step in starting this business is to invest in laundry tools such as washing machines( you can purchase a 2nd hand one if you don't have enough money for the new one), iron board, detergents, and other laundry equipments and also have an aggressive marketing strategy. To retain your customer base, you need to provide them with the best laundry service.

Cost between KSH50,000 and KSH100,000

9. Transport business

This industry happens to be one of the best small business ideas that thrives the most and at the same time, it is profitable because you can make money on a daily basis if you know how to play your cards right. You have three options when starting a transport business, either you start with a tricycle, motorcycle or minibus. Get your transport business registered to avoid getting harassed by road officials. Situating yourself in a busy location will be a good move to make when starting this business.

Cost between KSH100,000 and KSH200,000

10. Mobile phone sales

Selling of mobile phones is a lucrative small business idea to start in Kenya because the number of people who wish to communicate between themselves and making use of the internet is increasing every day by day. If you pick interest in this business, you can start purchasing quality phones from well trusted and known phone brands such as Infinix, Tecno, Samsung, Lenovo, and Gionee. You can make good returns on your investment if you have a good business plan.

Cost estimate ranges between KSH60,000 and Ksh100,000

11. Manufacturing business

An entrepreneur can start any manufacturing business ideas either by manufacturing products that are highly needed in Kenya such as building blocks, creams, aluminum windows, detergents, bottled/sachet water productions, purses/handbag production (try making it with Kenya native fabrics) and many more.

12. Video game center

Video game business can easily be started because it doesn't require much capital. Most people love being entertained, you can start a pace in this business by getting a good business location with high traffic footage in Kenya. The things you need to invest in are popular game gadgets such as PlayStation 2, 3, &4, television sets, standby generator, chairs, and standing fans. You can equally get a second-hand PlayStations, t.v sets, and generators if you don't enough money to get a brand new one and also consider getting quality ones.

Cost estimates between Ksh30,000 and Ksh50,000

13. Furniture business

With the increase in rate of people who are planning to get a new house of their own and renting an apartment in Kenya which has to be a major concern among Kenyans. You can start by manufacturing and selling most used furniture products such as chairs, tables, wardrobes, shoe rank,  wooden doors, and kitchen cabinets in return, you make handsome profits on your investment.

Cost estimates between KSH85,000 and KSH100,000

14. Setup a pharmacy store

Starting your own pharmacy store is a lucrative business to think of in Kenya inasmuch as human lives are concerned, people need to be taken good care of whenever illness comes either by taking prescribed drugs by an health personnel. This business is highly regulated by government in most countries, so you need to have your license at hand, and make sure your documents pass through the legal procedure by health bodies governing Kenya to avoid being shut down from the business.

Cost estimates between KSH400,000 and KSH700,000

15. Livestock production business

Is livestock feed production a profitable venture? Let the following numbers entice you: the worldwide animal feed market was valued at 14.9 billion USD in 2013 and it is projected that it will hit over 20 billion USD by the year 2020. You can learn more about this business from already existing livestock feed production venture within or outside your locality. With a good business plan, business funds and your marketing strategies at hand, you are good to go.

16. Fruits selling

Selling of fruits happens to be one of the best lucrative business to start with little capital. To get started in this venture, you need to locate various fruits suppliers(mainly you should target those in towns/villages where fruits are mostly planted), get a good business location( a busy or commercial area will be perfect).

Cost estimates between KSH15,000 and KSH20,000

17. Rentals business

In a busy and well-populated city like Nairobi, Mombasa,  Kisumu, Nakuru, and Eldoret. They will be many different activities going on such as business seminars, events, weddings and much more. It will be a good idea for an entrepreneur who is planning to start a business to venture into rentals business where you rent out chairs, tables, and canopies to those that are planning to host various occasions in return you will make a good profit.

First and foremost, you need to have your business marketing strategies in place, purchase quality chairs, tables, and canopies in a reasonable quantity. Also, have a means of transporting it to various locations either by getting your own truck or hiring one.

Cost estimates range between Ksh500,000 and  Ksh 1million

18. Mobile phone repair

Mobile phones are man-made and can develop faults at any time, so the only way to get it fixed is by taking it to an experienced phone repairer who knows what caused the problem and how to provide the best solution.

Mobile phone repair can be learned through acquiring the skill from an experienced and skillful phone engineer. It comes with two options when learning phone repair either hardware or software but you need to start with the basic which is hardware. Once you have gotten yourself acquitted with the skill then you need to raise capital, have a business plan and kick-start the business.

Cost estimates between KSH70,000 and KSH80,000

19. Auto mechanic business

With the high rate of vehicles in Kenya, most vehicles are prone to developing faults at any time and must be fixed by a mechanic. First and foremost, if you are interested in starting your own auto mechanic business, you need to learn the skill through skill acquisition program or you pay some certain amount of money to an already existing experienced mechanic to teach you the skill.

20. Snacks business

This business can easily be started from home with little capital and investment in equipments used for making snacks. Snack business is another alternative for stay at home mums in Kenya. You can learn how to make snack products easily online.

Cost estimates between Ksh15,000 and 20,000

21. Soft drink distribution

Becoming a major distributor of popular soft drink brands such as Coca-cola, Pepsi, and Coastal bottlers is a viable small business idea to start in Kenya. You just need to have the knowledge of the game, starting this business you need to purchase soft drinks from major soft drinks companies at a wholesale price and sell them to those that are need of it such as the restaurant, supermarkets, and those hosting an event at a retail price for you to be able to make your own profit.

You just need to have own personal truck which will enable you to transport soft drinks to various cities in Kenya and also have your own business location so that people can reach out to you easily whenever they need your service.

Cost estimates between KSH115000 and KSH200,000

22. Start a movie store

Starting a movie store is one of the easiest and fast-moving venture into if you are good at entertaining people and your business location is situated in a strategic location. This business is likely to be making you money on a daily basis if you have enough customers patronizing your business. Read a detailed guide on how to start a movie store in Kenya

23. Import fast moving products

Mini importation has become one of the best viable small business idea to consider going into if you know the rules of the game. This business doesn't require much capital for setup. You can learn mini importation through an online course which you will certainly get for a certain amount of money.

Cost estimates between Ksh 60,000 and Ksh100,000

24. Daycare business

Most mums in Kenya are the working class type while some are the those who are managing one business or the other, leaving home as early as possible and probably returning late . They will have little to no time to be taking their kids to the working place. What they do is to take them to a nearby daycare center, if you love kids and you need a small business opportunity to start then this business is a good option for you.  The children's safety should be your number one priority.

Cost estimates between Ksh30,000 and Ksh35,000

25. Start a security company

Insecurity has been a major challenge in Kenya and this is a good reason an investor should give it a second thought by starting a security company where you train and recruit young people on security tips. This type of business needs aggressive marketing strategies in other to attract individuals and institutions that may require your service. A good approach to this venture will be very paramount.

Cost estimates between Ksh150,000 and Ksh200,000

26. Selling of second-hand clothes

Not everyone has the money to purchase brand new designer clothes, rather they go for cheaper and fairly used one. This is one of the highly thriving and profitable business ideas in Kenya an entrepreneur can easily start with little capital. You just need to know where you can get quality used clothes in Kenya by getting more information from those who are already in the business.

Cost estimates between Ksh15,000 and Ksh20,000

27. Internet cafe business

Cyber cafe business has been recognized as one of the most thriving and profitable businesses in Kenya. This is a gap for entrepreneurs to fill in by starting an internet cafe business where you offer internet services such as internet browsing, online registrations.

28. Recruitment agency

With the unemployment rate in Kenya, starting a venture in the recruitment agency will be a very good option because most local and foreign companies are on the lookout for qualified and skillful employees to help fill different positions in their various companies and the best way they achieve that is by patronizing recruitment consultant as they find it very effective and easier way of employing people at low costs and valuable gain.

Before starting a recruitment agency business, you need to consider the following:

1. How much capital is needed for investment?
2. Am I good at networking?
3.Identifying  the skills an employer wants in an employee
4. Are you knowledgeable about human resources?
5. What are the marketing strategies you need to take to attract clients to your business?

29.Butchery business

Butchery business is one of the thriving small business ideas to start in Kenya inasmuch as meat is consumed every day and is also considered to be a good source of protein. You can start your own butchery business on a small scale either by checking out other butchery venture and know how it is being managed. Getting to know where you buy livestock is a good thing to take note of most especially goats because some breeds come at an affordable price. Finding a good business location is a key to success in this business.

Cost estimates between Ksh30,000 and Ksh60,000

30. Popcorn business

This is another small business idea in Kenya with well-calculated business funds. You can learn how popcorn is being made from already existing business within or outside your neighborhood. Things to consider when starting popcorn business are;

1. Getting popcorn machine( get the type that produces salt and popcorn sugar at the same time)
2. Purchasing the popcorn seeds from commercial markets
3. Buy a gas cylinder( an alternative when they is no electricity )
3. Other added things to consider getting are salt, butter, and sugar
4. Determine the quantity when selling so that you wouldn't run out of loss
5. Situate yourself by the roadside or in a busy location

Cost estimates between Ksh42,000 and Ksh50,000

31.Setup a boutique store

Starting a boutique business in  Kenya where you sell brand new designer shirts, bags and shoes is a lucrative venture to think of because most people don't mind buying expensive designer wears as long as they look best in their outfit.

You just need to decide which niche you would like to target, is it children's wears? men's wear? or ladies wear?. Most clothes brands have an online presence with contact information where you can reach out to them and purchase clothes in large quantity and at a wholesale price. One of the key tenants to this business is to buy at low and sell high.

Cost estimates between Ksh150,00 and Ksh250,000

32. Beauty salon

Most people see this business as a less making money venture due to its nature but the same business is making lots of money for entrepreneurs who are already in the business, reasons because they have what it takes to attract customers either by providing them with the best service ever. You can as well join the move training and make a good amount of money either by setting up your own female salon

Cost estimates between Ksh50,000 and Ksh100,000

33. Selling of fabrics

Selling of native and foreign fabrics is a profitable small business idea to think of starting in Kenya. You can choose to purchase fabrics from Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanzania in large quantity and sell it out in smaller divisions to tailors that are in need of it.

Cost estimates between Ksh200,000 and Ksh300,000

34. Bookshop store

With an increase in interest in education in Kenya, an entrepreneur can start a bookshop store in a locality surrounded by schools or with high traffic footage. Reading helps increase literacy and this can help improve society so this business can never die out.
You just need to locate where you can get stationary materials and books in large quantity.  Make more inquiries from already existing stationary store on how to suppliers.

Cost estimates between Ksh150,000 and Ksh200,000

35. Start a barbershop

You can start your own barbershop easily in Kenya because this business only requires you to be skillful when giving your customers a haircut which you can learn from an experienced barber in your locality by paying him to teach you the skill, with Ksh5000 or thereabouts you can acquire barbing skill within few months. Once you have known the in and out of the business then you need to consider raising capital for your business and getting a good business location.

Cost estimates between Ksh100,000 and Ksh150,000

36. Start an home appliance business

You can choose to become a major dealer in all kinds of home appliances product such as television sets, home theatre,fridges, generators, glass center tables, television stands,deep freezers, fans, and DVD players. Starting this business, you need to know where you can purchase various quality, reliable and durable products from at whole sale price from major home appliances company such as LG, Panasonic and so on. Also business location matters a lot

The cost estimate is between Ksh250,000 and Ksh500,000


They you have it, Top 35+ small business ideas in Kenya and their cost estimates. With these listed above, an entrepreneur or investor can choose to pick anyone based on the one their interest falls in.

I wish you all the very best and success in your business.

About Author:

Kingsley Umeh is a business avid, online entrepreneur that loves sharing new business ideas for new and existing entrepreneurs on how to start, run and manage their business with less risk.

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1 comment:

  1. These are some very profitable ideas for business. Good share.