Small businesses you can start within Nairobi’s industrial area


Nairobi city has one main industrial area located to the south-east of the central business district. However, there are also other industrial areas located in Kahawa, Kasarani, Ruaraka and Dandora not to mention those in the neighbouring places such as Machakos, Kajiado and Kiambu.

Even though these areas majorly have manufacturing and service industries that employ many people, not everyone ends up working in these industries as there are scarce opportunities that are also very competitive.

If you have ever wanted to work in the industrial areas but unsuccessful to secure employment or you just want to start something of your own which will draw you some income on a daily basis, then you can consider the following ideas:

Kibandaski restaurant

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A majority of individuals working in industrial areas are casual labourers paid between Sh15,000 and Sh35,000 a month meaning their earnings per day ranges from Sh500-1,000 while some get as low as Sh300 a day depending on the job.

With this small amount of money and the nature of work which is always heavy-duty, these people do not have time for classy foods but just a decent and well-prepared meal is okay.

Indeed, they will need to eat well and save for other needs and this is where your local hotel popularly known by many Nairobian residents as kibandaski will be of mutual benefit. 

With kibandaski, you will not need to necessarily rent some room but just a small temporary shade or structure which can cost you Sh2,000-5,000 to put up and which will keep your food safe, offer you some space to cook and serve your customers.

You will also need to part with Sh1,500 as a license fee for the local authorities, some Sh10,000 for supplies such as charcoal, grocery, cooking oil, rice, sugar and flour among others just for a start assuming you have the equipment.

You can therefore make breakfast and lunch meals with foods such as porridge/tea + mandazi/chapati for breakfast and ugali + veges/fried eggs/beans/omena(dagaa)/fish/beef, chapati + dengu/beans/beef, githeri and rice + beans for lunch.

For the breakfast meal, your prices can be Sh5 for mandazi, Sh10 for black tea and Sh20 for white tea, Sh10 chapati while for lunch meals your prices can range fromSh50-100 depending on the food ordered. 

This is generally affordable for a wide range of people working in the industrial areas something which has made kibandaski food a darling for many city dwellers who are faced with tough economic times.

Hawking fruits

Moving a variety of fruits in the industrial area is also another viable business whereby you only need a cart (mkokoteni) which you can hire at Sh100 a day and Sh500 to buy some fruits such as oranges which you can sell Sh5 or Sh10 each, watermelon, pawpaw and pineapple which you can cut in sizes and sell at Sh10 or Sh20 a piece.

In fact, there is a crop of women in town who have recently mastered the art of doing this business and they are making a kill. Very early in the morning, you will see them with buckets or troughs getting to Nairobi’s Marikiti Market to buy these fruits.

For watermelon, pawpaw and pineapple they buy already cut pieces at Sh10 each. Depending on the size of the transparent or clear buckets, they carry 30-50 pieces. Others with troughs opt for bananas, avocadoes and oranges.

They then start moving the fruits in jua kali areas, garages and construction sites selling a piece at Sh20 each for watermelon, pawpaw and pineapple and by noon they shall have made doubled their buying price.


If you cannot move with fruits, then a small booth of M-Pesa where you can also sell some small items such as credit cards, snarks, bottled drinking water, soft drinks such as soda and juices can really be a good business in these areas. You can also sell some fruits especially bananas.

You do not need a permanent structure, just a temporary one is enough as you hustle for a place to store your items at night. 

Some companies which have bigger operation space with many people working therein, also do offer some space within their premises for people who approach them with such a business idea.

Now you know, you can move and make your decisions.

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About Kuza Biashara

About Kuza Biashara

Starting a business is a leap of faith even in the best of circumstances. We at Kuza Biashara are focussed to encourage these daring small business owners who have the potential to innovate and change the world by contributing to the nation’s economy and livelihood.