There are many small businesses that one can start using a small capital in Kenya especially in Nairobi and make it a booming venture with time.
One of them is cooking and selling mandazi either along the busy streets of the city, at bus stations or at a strategic location in residential areas.
Unless you want to set up a fairly big business, a small mandazi business do not need a license from the city council, instead, with just Sh1,000 capital you can make up to Sh1,500 a day and expand with time.
However, just before letting all systems go, you need one more thing- studying your prospective customer’s way of life and purchasing power.
On normal weekdays, Nairobians like waking up early to prepare for work and escape traffic jams which see them spend much on fare hence they will be taking their breakfast early or passing by at your cooking point to buy.
In this, you need to wake up earlier than them by around 4:00 am or at latest 5:00 am to begin operations and be able to catch with them.
Most mandazi sold in Nairobi goes for Sh5 or at most Sh10 and studying your customers’ purchasing power will help you know the quantity and quality of the product you need to make for fair pricing.
When all these is done, you may start just by using some of your kitchen utensils and equipment which you can set in an open space.
Remember to start small on the first day if it is the first time or a new location. This will give you time to get used to the customers.
With the Sh1,000 capital, you need baking flour, salt, sugar and cooking oil.
For a start, a 2kg of wheat flour that goes for about Sh130, 0.5kg cooking fat of about Sh110 and other small ingredients such as sugar, baking powder and salt which can cost at most Sh100 are necessary.
A packet of 2kg wheat flour can produce over 50 mandazi depending on the size and sell at between Sh5 and Sh10 each. This will earn you Sh250-500 just from one packet or Sh1,250-2,500 from five packets.
It is also important to be thoughtful. Because it is always take-away foodstuff, you may need to arm yourself with some packaging materials such as the used flour packets which sometimes are discarded to use as wrap up materials.
You can also identify some places nearby such as construction and juakali sites where you can sell your mandazi and ensure the whole stock is sold so that you begin with fresh ones the following day.
Nairobians like fresh but cheap food, remember.
Do not stick there, move to 15-20 packets a day depending on the demand and with time you can start serving tea before expanding to cooking some chapatis served with beans or green grams (dengu).
Yes, this is how Mary Wanjiku,38, started her Silger Enterprises, a cake bakery business in Nakuru Town.
After completing her course in food and catering in 2008 but failed to get a job, her mother gave her some Sh1,000 while a friend helped with a modern energy saver jiko.
After buying a pan and a frying spoon she started making mandazi and hawking.
Soon the business became overcrowded and much competition threatened her existence. This is the time she shifted to baking cakes something which is more viable in the area and more earning.
Today, she has employed over 10 youth who help her in her bakery enterprise. “It is good to start from somewhere and be creative along or else you can find yourself out of business in a short while,” advises Wanjiku.