“Hello Kuza Biashara, I have saved up to Ksh20,000 ($250) what business ideas would you recommend for me?”
“Good morning admin, with Ksh5,000 ($60) can you suggest some good businesses that one can invest in while in the rural areas?
These are just but a few of the questions we have been receiving from some of our loyal fans on a regular basis. Indeed, we appreciate your eagerness to learn and we have found it wise to start a special series of articles that touch on some of the best business ideas in Kenya and Africa-wide.
To start us off, here are some 13 ideas for you to ponder upon. Note $1 = Ksh86.
1.Brick Making Business (Estimated Budget:Ksh100,000)
The real estate market is booming and people are looking for ways to build cheaper homes. Bricks are relatively cheap to produce and provide a cheaper building option to stones.
Requirements: Brick making machine, enough sub-soil, a bit of training, spades and labor.
Challenge: A site evaluation has to be carried out to make sure you have suitable soil for brick making.
Advice: Take a brief course in brick-making before you invest your hard-earned money. Set-up your business in a developing estate and make sure to market aggressively.
2.Fruit Vending Business (Estimated Budget: Ksh80,000)
Fruits are a healthy food option across the globe. With people gradually appreciating the importance of healthy living, you can never go wrong if you invest in a small fruit shop.
Requirements: Fruits, blender, knife, labor
Challenge: You might struggle finding market for the first 90 days. But you can make it if you are persistent.
Advice: Shop for your fruits from the cheapest outlets (marikitis) in your area. Those in Nairobi can shop in: Githurai 45 and Wakulima Markets. Find a good location for your business (preferably by the roadside).
3.Popcorn Business (Estimated Budget: Ksh50,000)
This is yet another small business idea that can be started on a tight budget and return excellent profits. You however need to be very keen to pick the right location for your business.
Requirements: Vendor’s license, popcorn machine, high-traffic location, popcorn seeds
Challenge: High traffic locations are not always easy to get.
Advice: For higher profit, you need to make it easy for your customers to drop in and make a purchase. Look for shopping malls, busy shopping outlets and high-traffic streets.
4.Red Earth Worms Business (Estimated Budget: Ksh20,000)
According to research and training facilitated by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, red earth worms can be used in a process called vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is used to transform organic waste into useful compost. Organic waste is useful in the production of organic foods which are in high demand in most up-town residential areas.
Requirements: 5 Kgs of hybrid worms (Ksh3,000), warm-dark and dry environment, waste food
Challenge: Market for worms is yet to peak, especially in Kenya, you might need to do a bit of marketing and research before investing in this business.
Advice: Search for a supplier who supplies hybrids of red worms. Be ready to start small (preferably part-time). Look for market first before you start keeping these worms. You can learn more about this business in this article.
5.Rabbit Farming Business (Estimated Budget:Ksh100,000)
Rabbit farming is yet another lucrative business idea that you can tap into even with meager savings. On the downside, though, the market is yet to peak and one might need to be a good marketer to make sizable returns.
Requirements: Right breed of rabbits, pellets, well-constructed rabbit hutches and labor
Challenge: Most buyers are looking for a consistent supply of rabbits yet most farmers keep few rabbits. Farmers are being encouraged to work in groups when looking for market.
Advice: Be sure to link up with an experienced farmer to get some more insights into this business. More advice about rabbit farming is available on this blog-post we wrote sometime back.
6.Online Payment System (Estimated Budget:Ksh100,000)
Millions of transactions are done online. Unfortunately, there are no straight-forward avenues of withdrawing or sending money across the board. You can start a service that helps people send and receive payments locally and internationally. Note: This business might require more capital to set up but you can start small and still make it.
Requirements: Knowledge of how online payment systems work, good online marketing skills, trust from customers
Challenge: Marketing your business might be difficult from scratch
Advice: Make sure you have enough money to facilitate for instant mobile money transfer for people who would like to withdraw their money instantly.
7.Baby Diaper Business (Estimated Budget:Ksh5,000)
If you are looking for viable business ideas that you can comfortably start with as little as Ksh5,000, think of selling diapers. You can find a local supplier who will give you a substantial discount for wholesale purchases.
Requirements: Good marketing tactics, some capital, labor
Challenges: You need to work hard for the first three months to establish a thriving market for your products. Clearly, this is not a business for lazy fellows.
Advice: Ensure you get a reputable supplier. Make sure your price is competitive and that you are giving your customers good value for money.
8.Mushroom Farming (Estimated Budget:Ksh10,000)
Mushroom farming is yet another high-return agriculture venture in Kenya. And it is probably the cheapest and easiest to start. The market is easily available to those who know how to market their merchandise.
Requirements: Room, substrate (material upon which mushroom grows), spawn (mushroom seeds), mushroom farming knowledge
Challenges: Some cultural bias concerning mushrooms have reduced the demand of mushrooms in the local market. This can however be dealt with through public training and sensitization.
Advice: Oyster and shiitake mushroom breeds are usually recommended for beginners. They have a wider market and can be nurtured on small scale with moderate investment. There isn’t much competition in this line of business at the moment.
9.Body Weight and BMI Calculation Business (Estimated Budget:Ksh3,000)
This is yet another one of the ideal small business ideas that our youth can take advantage of; to start small. You don’t need much expertise or certification to start this business.
Requirements: Weighing scale, a good location, labor, high-traffic location
Challenges: Finding a high-traffic venue and complying with the local government regulations (when operating in major towns) are the two biggest challenges here.
Advice: You can look for areas near educational institutions (universities and colleges), markets or bus stops.
10.Small Bakery For Cakes (Estimated Budget:Ksh100,000)
A bakery is a sweet business idea that you can start, but you need more than baking skills to be successful. If you are a young person, with meager savings you can start a small outlet and keep ploughing back the returns until you build on to a large investment.
Requirements: Baking equipment (pans, ovens, mixing equipment, cake decorating equipments and measuring equipment), raw materials (flour, eggs, sugar), consistent recipes, business permits and licenses and marketing skills.
Challenges: Getting the right licenses and permits might be a bit tasking. It is always best to consult a lawyer on matters of business registration and permits.
Advice: If you would like to make the most of this small business idea, you need to be passionate about baking. Moreover, you need to be a shrewd marketer in order to stand out from the pack. You can find more advice on this business idea on this website.
11.Watch Import Business (Estimated Budget:Ksh25,000)
This is yet another of the brilliant ideas that you can comfortably start with less than Ksh30,000. A nice watch costs about $2.1 on alibaba.com (China’s equivalent to eBay). You can order for a minimum of 100 watches and start your small watch import business.
Requirements: Internet, contact person in China, good understanding of tax systems, good social media marketing skills (You can read a more detailed article on the requirements of starting a watch import business in this article).
Challenges: You need to have a trustworthy person in China (or any other country) to help you with the importation process.
Advice: You can start small with this business and then move on to importing other merchandise like phones, computers, clothes etc. You can learn more about different taxes that are applicable to your business in this article.
12.Running Errands (Estimated Budget:Ksh50,000)
People are getting busy nowadays and are locked up in offices most of the time. They don’t have the time to queue in the bank nor locate government offices or find packing space in the busy streets of Nairobi. So, what about you start the good business of running errands?
Requirements: Website, time, good phone, labor, trust from your customers, relevant certification
Challenges: This business requires a great degree of trust which may be hard to earn during the first few months of operation.
Advice: As long as you have a reliable method of transport (public/private), a mobile phone, a personal computer for emails and a few coins for marketing your business, the cost of starting an errand business in Kenya is almost zero.
13.Day Care Business (Estimated Budget:Ksh20,000)
The number of working mothers has grown exponentially over the last few years creating an ever-growing need for quality child-care services. You can create a job for yourself out of this small business idea with potentially huge returns in revenue.
Requirements: Good location for your business (you can use your home as you start), a bit of ECD training, license may not be necessary for informal arrangements
Challenges: You need to work hard to earn the trust of your target market and this might take some time.
Advice: Of course, the job of caring for children bears a tremendous amount of responsibility and requires serious commitment. You need to be prepared to play a key role in the overall development of the young ones.
This is the first part of articles that will be exploring various business ideas in Kenya and Africa-wide. Feel free to keep adding your ideas and comments via the comment box below. Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook, follow us on Pinterest, Twitter and Google+.