Do you want to you start a business in Ethiopia? If YES, here are 50 best small scale business ideas and investment opportunities in Ethiopia you can start in 2017.

The economy of Ethiopia is growing stronger with each passing day. This has led to an increase in business opportunities in the country. We have compiled for you a list of the top 50 business ideas that you could consider to make the most of the present economic boom.

50 Best Small Business ideas in Ethiopia for 2017

  1. Agriculture and Food Processing

This is an important industry in Ethiopia. Accounting for over 85% of employment for the people of Ethiopia, agriculture is vital. There are different types of crops that can be grown in the country ranging from cereals to fibre crops and flowers, to teas and coffee plantations, etc. Forestry is also an important resource in the country along with fisheries. Also, commercial processing of produce and raw materials gotten from agriculture provides an opportunity for business in Ethiopia.

2. Manufacturing Industry

The Ethiopian economy today provides excellent opportunities in the manufacturing industry, especially in the clothing and textile sector. Other top rising manufacturing sectors to invest in include food and beverages, leather, metallurgy, electronics and so on.

Although, you may require a considerable amount of capital to start a manufacturing firm, it is one of the most lucrative businesses to venture into. Most of the top entrepreneurs out there are owners of successful manufacturing companies and plants.

3. Real Estate

This industry is growing at an alarming rate in Ethiopia. The construction and real estate industry is increasing in demand in all parts of the country. A simple drive around the country’s capital city Addis Ababa will show you a large number of luxurious apartments and villas occupying previously empty landscapes. This industry is growing every day, providing opportunities for new business aspirants.

4. Vending machines

Most people in Ethiopia are always on the move and would not like to waste precious time in the process of buying things. This has led to an increase in the demand for vendors and their machines. A vending machine for the sale of small items like drinks, snacks, water, milk, juice, newspapers, cigarettes, etc. can be installed in different strategic places to meet the immediate needs of people on the go. This is a splendid business idea for busy places like a bus terminus, schools or colleges or even a busy residential area in Ethiopia.

5. Milling Plants (Wheat and Maize)

There is a rise in the demand for wheat and maize flour in the country. This is due to the increase in population in Ethiopia. This has led to an opening for local business opportunities for Ethiopian people. Whether the grains are brought for milling by the customer, or the mills produce flour in large amounts and it is packaged and sold to wholesalers and retailers, this business is quite viable.

6. Event management and Party planning

There is never a dearth of parties in Ethiopia. Several events ranging from company events, religious and entertainment events to weddings, birthdays, etc. take place all the time all around the country. But planning for these events are usually stressful and time consuming. The organizers of these events may not have the chance to do the planning and would need other people to do it for them. Event planners are usually well paid depending on the size of the event or party. Planning these events can give you an impressive income yearly.

7. Consultancy

If problem solving comes easy to you or friends and colleagues often come to you for assistance or help on certain areas, then you could have a business opportunity in your hands. You can offer your services to people at a stipulated rate. Companies and business organizations need persons known as consultants, to help them achieve their visions and missions. Even average individuals need help too. All these people and bodies will be willing to pay a fee to somebody that can help them realize their organizational or personal goals.

8. Schools and Colleges

In Ethiopia, the demand for schools and colleges outweighs the supply. There are thousands of school students that take national exams in the country yearly but only a small amount of these students get the admissions they seek. Establishing a school with quality equipment, facilities and seasoned and experienced teachers is sure to meet the demands of these eager students.

9. Coaching

You can make good money in Ethiopia by coaching students. If you are excellent in a certain subject area, then you can coach students or people needing help on that subject area for a fee. You can do this online by creating an online website for yourself, or face to face by meeting your students at their homes or a designated venue.

10. Garbage Collection

Garbage collection services in Ethiopia are not very efficient. This service can now be provided by private individuals and nongovernmental bodies. You can collect and dispose garbage for residential homes. This can be done for them at a particular rate per month. There are thousands of homes in Addis Ababa and other cities in Ethiopia where you can collect refuse from and help them properly dispose it. The problem of proper waste disposal is a serious one in the country; you can turn that into an income spinner for you.

11. Janitorial Services

Cleaning is something that should be done regularly. Commercial buildings and residential homes should be regularly maintained. In Ethiopia, a lot of companies and government bodies now contract their cleaning needs to cleaning firms. These buildings can be cleaned for a monthly fee by you. You can charge higher fees with bigger buildings and vice versa!

12. Government Contractors

All you have to do is register a company and be on the lookout for tenders in daily newspapers and print bulletins. A lot of people have won government contracts worth millions to supply various government needs and supplies. This is an excellent business idea for good income in Ethiopia.

13. Solar panel sales and Repair

Ethiopia gets a high amount of sunshine. You can explore this to your benefit by learning how to make, install and repair solar panels. Although this is a technical sector that needs a lot of hardwork, skills and patience, it is also a viable sector. However, If you have no interest or love for technology, then this business idea is not for you. It requires the investment of technologically inclined persons and it is a lucrative business.

14. Repair of Mobile devices-: Another technical business sector is in mobile phones. You can also learn and acquire excellent phone repair skills. These skills can in turn be used to generate income for you by providing phone repair services for your clients.

15. Agric Value Addition

As stated earlier, the Ethiopian economy is growing very fast and this fast growth is also in the agricultural sector. There is always a demand for food and it has made the agribusiness an extremely viable idea. You can make money for yourself by value addition to agricultural products for example; you can turn milk into yoghurt, cheese, etc. and many other value-added products.

16. Bakery and Fast foods

Everyone loves baked goods. From corn flour to wheat flour and other forms of flour, Ethiopians love them all. This alone is enough to make you consider dabbling into the baking industry. It is essential however that you get all the information needed before going into the business. This sector is lucrative and open for all types of people regardless of gender.

17. Poultry

This might sound easy and simple but it really isn’t. It involves the full use of farming and entrepreneurial skills to make it possible. Before starting, you have to determine your proposed market and the type of poultry you want to go into. Poultry business has two main parts; firstly, Broilers, where the chickens are grown mainly for meat, and secondly, Layers, where the chickens are grown for egg production.

18. Private lesson teachers

You can teach children after school. Several parents out there are busy and cannot afford the fees of home teachers. You can seize this opportunity to organize after school lessons and charge at rates lower than the normal home teacher rates. This can serve as a way for you to make cool money. Also, you can choose any particular expertise area of yours to teach on.

19. Gardening and Landscaping

You can convert your client’s plain backyard into a spectacular view. Though it requires a lot of creativity and training but it also gives good pay. To do this business, you will have to learn a lot and research well to produce the best results for your clients every time. It is a very lucrative business once you have understood the basics and gained expert knowledge of it.

20. Advertising campaign developer

Creating and building contents for your clients is a good way to make money. You can plan and execute beautiful media campaigns, create online content, apps, email distribution, mobile contests, videos and other interesting things for your clients and customers and in turn be paid generously for these services.

21. Freelance Writing

You can decide to become a full time freelance writer to earn income or a part time freelance writer to support a regular income. Also, you can do it for fun or to build your portfolio/skill list. You can get clients to give you jobs and write properly for them to get money for your needs. Writing can be a great business option.

22. Creating Music Videos

Good music sells. This is the reason why the music industry is always booming. If you are a creative person, you can go into music related business by creating music videos for artiste promotion or brand building. This is an industry that is always sure to give high returns as long as you do good work.

23. Child care centers

Child care centers are a viable business opportunity in Ethiopia. Due to the increasing rate of insecurity as a result of abusive house helps or baby peddlers, more parents are deciding to go with taking their children to child care centers. Also, the busy and hectic daily schedules of many parents have made this business even more profitable.

24. Selling snacks and Drinks

Snacks are convenient in-between meals. They can be consumed anywhere whether at the office, in school, at special events, even during meetings, seminars, conferences, etc. The demand for snacks is never low. Also, snacks are usually served with soft drinks to accompany them. You can sell these soft drinks too. You can go into this business as a source of income generation for you.

25. Start a driving school

Yearly, there are more and more people who desire to know how to drive. Eager teenagers, young adults and even matured men and women who do not know how to drive look for ways to learn. You can establish a place for people to learn how to drive for a token or a fee, hereby providing for yourself a stable source of income. You have to be registered though to issue valid certificates.

26. Private security firm

Setup your own security firm. You can do this by hiring and training able bodied men and women, then deploying them to companies that need them for protection of important infrastructure. Although this business has to be licensed by the stipulated authority, it is a great way to make cool cash.

27. Mobile Store/Office supply

For office workers, it is difficult to go out and get certain things like shirts, wristwatches, perfumes, ties, etc. You can use this as a business opportunity by helping them do their shopping. You can also buy goods and take it to these people in their offices for them to buy from you at a rate set by you. So you can decide what your own service charge will be. This will ensure that you make good profit.

28. Computer sales and repairs-: Due to the increase in sales of computers and laptops, there is also an increase in the need for computer repair technicians. This sector is a great business to go into in Ethiopia. You can also offer computer cleaning services too.

29. Appliance repairing-: This industry is also lucrative. You can learn how to fix electronics and appliances, get certified and start fixing for people to get paid. It is a great business idea for idle youths in the country.

30. Laundry service

We have already established the fact that a lot of people in Ethiopia are very busy and do not have the time for some basic things. This includes time for laundry too. This business will do well whether the economy is bad or not. It is quite easy to start up but yet extremely profitable. You only need a washing machine, dryer, pressing irons and some other little items.

31. Brick Moulding business

As stated earlier, the real estate industry is growing very fast. The demand for homes is on the increase in Ethiopia and homes are made with brick. This therefore leads to an increase in demand for bricks. One can go into this to generate steady and good income regularly. Getting trained in brick making will however make things easier for you if you are considering this option.

32. E-Book writing

For people that enjoy writing and know the process of making e-books, then E-book writing is an excellent business idea for you. You can write different e-books and then sell them online from your website or on sites like Amazon, Blogger, etc.

33. Employee training and Professional Certification

There is high demand for specialized employee training in the country. A lot of employees require training on various aspects like money handling, customer service, stress management, etc. You can get trained in these aspects and in turn train employees for a fee set by you. This is a great way to make money.

34. Internet Cafe Business

In Ethiopia, people always want to browse the net. You can start an internet cafe business with other added services like online research, printing, photocopy and another computer services. You can even do better by positioning your cafe in a busy area to get more customers.

35. Disc Jockey

Popularly called DJ, this is one profitable business opportunity. Your diverse music compilation can serve as a source of income for you. This job is especially for music lovers and energetic personalities. You can make yourself more valuable by being a DJ and also a wedding planner.

36. Pest Control Business

If you need a steady flow of income, then you should think of starting a pest control business. This business involves the removal or eradication of potentially harmful insects, reptile and rodents from farms, residential and commercial properties. All over the world, and especially in this part of the world, people are becoming more and more aware of removing things that may be injurious to the health. This makes the pest control business very viable.

37. Vehicle Towing

Before going into this business, you have to first of all get a license to operate a mobile towing business. From then on it is game on for you. Although this license is not easy to get, it can help you get the chance to work well with car dealers and property managers to move their business cars, buses or trucks.

38. Cooling Van Business

Ethiopia is a hot country. This makes warm or hot drinks not really in demand, but there is a high want for cold drinks all around the country. You can tap into this to create a business opportunity for yourself. Start a cooling van business. With a cooling van, you can supply cold or even ice drinks to events and parties. This can fetch you good money every week and even every day.

39. Tricycle Transportation

There is a great opportunity for tricycle operators in the country. This is as a result of the special features of tricycles; features like its portability, convenience for hire service, flexibility, efficiency of maintenance, life span and durability, etc. This business opportunity has been widely accepted in the country and it is actually quite viable.

40. Car Hiring

This sector is a very lucrative business opportunity. It is even more profitable when it is situated in a strategic location where there is high population of people with numerous commercial and entertainment centers. This business however is quite capital intensive and requires close management. Your vehicles must be up to the required safety standards for you to get good customers and clients.

41. Car washing

It is a normal thing for cars to get dirty but most people do not have the spare time to wash their cars. Providing a professional car cleaning and washing service is a sure way to get steady and regular income in the country. This business requires an open space and the right equipment for a successful startup. You can also hire boys to help you with the washing if you want to start on a large scale. It is not very expensive to set up.

42. Auto Mechanic

This is an important business all over the world. This is due to the fact that cars that break down must get fixed or repaired. But before you can go into this business, you should know all that pertains to auto repair and its applications. You can do this by getting trained in auto repair or hiring trained hands to work in your auto repair shop or garage. This business is even more lucrative in Ethiopia due to the state of imported cars in the country.

43. Travel agency

Travelling and tourism is a big deal for a lot of people. The industry is a major industry in the country. The main stakeholders in this industry are the transport companies including airline, shipping and cruise companies, and also a particular group of people that work in the background to make sure that the travels are comfortable and hitch free. With the current economic boom, it would be a wise move to start a travel and tourism agency.

44. New and second hand cloth business

The clothing business is an industry that is open for exploration. It is made up of small retail stores that sell a wide variety of clothing items. You can go into this industry to make money for yourself. By buying new or second hand clothes from wholesalers and selling in the retail market, you can make profit for yourself and by doing this also give yourself a brand name.

45. Cement Manufacturing

This is another viable business idea that should be looked into in Ethiopia. Although it may be quite expensive to start up, but there is no shortage of demand for your product as it is needed everywhere, especially if you put the price of your product at a reasonable rate. If you have an abundant source of capital, then do not hesitate to go into this business and open your very own cement manufacturing plant.

46. Soap Making

There is without doubt a very large and expanding market for soaps. Soaps are products manufactured from chemicals and are used for either bathing or washing of clothes, plates, cars and even glass windows. This industry is still expanding and there is more than enough room for new soap makers to come in and market their stuff. So if what you see is a simple business in the chemical industry that can fetch you steady income, then you should think of going into the business of soap making.

47. Chemical Merchant

The demand for some chemical products has not been met by the supply rate in the Ethiopian local market. This can become a profitable business for you. All you need to do is to find out about the product that is needed, link up with foreign manufacturers to supply you, seal the deal and sell locally. You can also produce and export chemical products to other countries with great demand for these products.

48. Selling Insurance policies-: This isn’t a new idea but it is most certainly a profitable one. You can get information from insurance agents and sell policies to clients thereby attracting a commission fee for yourself.

49. Sell recharge vouchers

This business idea is almost costless to start up, yet it is profitable. You can sell the recharge cards to the public, friends, family members and even colleagues. You can get the vouchers at a cheaper rate from the service providers and sell them to people at the standard rate, thereby making profit for yourself.

50. Start an Entertainment Lounge

There is a high number of foreigners and foreign workers in Ethiopia, especially in Addis Ababa. Most of these people and even locals would need places to relax and unwind after a hard day’s work and on weekends. You can meet the needs of these fun lovers by starting up an entertainment lounge such as a bar, hotel, casino, restaurant, cinema, night club and so on. There is an infinite number of possibilities here so pick one and set up the business.

These are the top 50 business ideas and opportunities that are quite lucrative and open to you in Ethiopia. Do not hesitate to choose any one you like and start making good money for yourself. Cheers!