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50 Best Small Business ideas in Kenya for 2016

Are you interested in starting a business in Kenya? If YES, here are 50 small business ideas and investment opportunities in Kenya that you can start in 2016 with small capital.

Okay, having provided a detailed analysis of the legal requirements, market feasibility and every other thing it takes to start a business in Kenya and a series of industry-specific sample business plan templates; here is an in-depth analysis of the top 50 best small business ideas in Kenya for 2016. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.

Starting a business isn’t a luxury but a necessity for anyone whose aim in life is to make good money and become a millionaire. This is one of the reasons why you have got to look at starting a business in the Kenya. The ground is so fertile and there are loads of people to patronize you. Even though entrepreneurs complain of the heavy taxes they are subjected to pay, it cannot be compared with doing business in some other countries.

Here are some very lucrative business ideas to look at;

50 Best Small Business ideas in Kenya for 2016

  1. Real Estate

In large urban centers, towns and rural communities, there is an overwhelming interest in land and small plots. In almost every community in Kenya, owning a piece of land has been a coveted investment and with increasing population, this has become even more urgent.

You are almost assured 100% that you will make very huge gains in this business. If you have access to a larger capital base, you will make much more by buying and developing the land then selling it off. This can work very well in the out skirts of Nairobi such as Kamulu, Joska, Isinya, Ngong, Kiserian and other towns where land is still inexpensive.

  1. Child Care Centers

With increasing cases of insecurity from house helps who abuse or sell babies, many parents are opting to take their non-school going children to child care centers. Many middle class parents in Kenya have working mothers and fathers who leave home as early as 5:30 am and get back home as late as 7:00pm, thanks to perennial traffic holdups in our roads, especially in Nairobi and Mombasa.

  1. Taxi Cabbie

Taxi cabs are probably one of the oldest forms of transportation within African cities and towns. They are preferred by higher income earners for short and long trips within the city although cab fares can be much higher than motorcycle and tricycle taxis. While taxi cabs are known to pick customers off the road, private hire taxi cars serve customers who make a prior booking (especially via telephone). Although many taxi cabs in the cities are operated by their owners, there is a growing trend of private taxi cab companies on the continent.

  1. E-Commerce stores

By providing a platform for all these people to sell their items, you will make good money. Come up with an online store such as jumia, pigiame, rupu etc. Ask people to place their items for sale at a small fee and market this platform vigorously. Your platform should have categories for example cars, real estate, households, electronics, furniture, clothes, gift items, jewellery, books, foods, services etc. complete with beautiful pictures for easy navigation.

  1. Vending Machine

Kenyans are busy people and many of them would like to buy things quickly and move on. You can meet this need by installing a vending machine for stuff such as water, milk, juice, soft drinks, snacks, sweets, cigarettes, newspapers etc. This business idea in Kenya will best work with items sold in small compact forms. Shop around for the appropriate vending machine and locate it in a strategic position such as a busy residential area, near busy bus terminus, near a college or school etc.

  1. Event and Party Planning

Every day, week, month and year, Kenyans are partying. Company and religious entertainment events, weddings, birthdays and many other events are taking place everywhere all the time. Planning and holding parties can be a very stressful undertaking. Many people who are throwing these parties and events could be busy and may desperately need others to plant and execute for them. Generally this work goes for a flat fee, depending upon the size of the party. By targeting at least 2 or 3 parties or events in a week, imagine what you will make in a year.

  1. Consulting

If you are good at solving issues or if people always come to you for help on certain areas. Well may be it could be time to offer your services to people out there at a fee. Businesses need consultants who can help them realize their mission and visions. Individuals want help with the problems in their lives. People are willing to pay you if you can help them stay focused and work their way towards achieving their goals.

  1. Coaching

If you are good at a particular subject or area, you can also teach others at a fee. Thus could be students, business people or employees. You stand a good chance of making money with this business idea in Kenya. You could choose to do it face to face or online.

  1. Government Contractor

Many youth and women have won tenders worth millions of shillings to supply stationery, grade roads, offer services such as cleaning or repairs and many others. With the creation of county governments in the new constitution, servicing tenders will be a major business idea in Kenya for 2065.All you need to do is to register a company and look out for these tenders in the daily newspapers.

  1. Janitorial Services

Residential and commercial buildings must be regularly cleaned. With many companies and county governments now outsourcing their cleaning needs. For buildings and business premises, the opportunity is in offering cleaning services. With a few cleaning tools and shampoos, you can negotiate with owners of these buildings and businesses to clean their premises at a monthly fee. You can charge as much as Sh100,000 or even Sh500,000 depending on the size of the building.

  1. Garbage Collection

Garbage collection services by local authorities collapsed in Kenya decades ago. This service is now provided by private individuals and private entities. For residential areas, the major opportunity is in the collection and disposal of garbage generated in the houses. Walk around and sign homes to collect garbage from at a fee, say Sh500 per house per month. With thousands of Kenyans having built their own homes in Nairobi and its outskirts and also in other major towns, this business opportunity in Kenya is limitless.

  1. School and College

Every year, thousands of children sit for national exams in Kenya but only a few get admitted to secondary schools or universities. The demand for schools and other colleges in Kenya outstrips supply. Year after year, thousands of school leavers are unable to get places to advance their education. Qualified and experienced teachers in all subjects and competent school administrators are readily available in Kenya. Hire a few of them and provide quality equipment and facilities and you will attract thousands of candidates.

  1. Agric Value Addition

Kenya’s economy is essentially still agri-based and looking around almost every single home in rural Kenya and many urban homes, there is some sort of agriculture going on. Food is and will always be in demand all over the world. Agribusiness is therefore one of the biggest business ideas in Kenya. You can never go wrong if you add value to agricultural produce and sell. For example, instead of just selling milk, turn it into mala (sour milk), yoghurt or cheese. You will fetch much better prices in the market.

  1. Bakery and Fast Food

From wheat flower, to corn flower, and to other forms of flour, Kenyans just love to eat baked meals. This is one of the reasons why you may want to consider starting a bakery business. Before you start out it is vital garner all the necessary information that you will need along the line.

  1. Poultry Business

Starting a poultry farm might appear easy but starting it as a business too is something entirely different. This means that you are not only just a chicken farmer but an entrepreneur as well. Starting this business you would need to define your target market. And the part of the chicken industry you intend to go into. The chicken industry has two main parts; Layers, where the chickens bred also lay or produce eggs, or Broilers, where chicken are bred mainly for meat.

  1. Aquaculture

Delving into the fish farming business means that you must have knowledge about the business. Why is this important you just might ask? This is especially important because you do not want to come across as a dullard who is in business. You can start out by carrying out a thorough research on the internet.

  1. Freelance Writing

It’s very possible to become either a full-time freelance writer earning a living, or to be a part-time freelancer supplementing a regular paid income. Another role is to simply do it for fun or to build up a broader portfolio of skills. In this article, you’ll get the basics on what it takes to ease your way into freelance writing as a career or to be put properly, turn your writing hobby into a career that doesn’t affect your day job.

  1. Pest Control Business

If you are thinking of starting a business that can guarantee you steady income, then one of your options is to consider starting pest control business. Pest control businesses is a business that is involved in removing or eradicating potentially harmful insects, rodent and reptiles from, farms, commercial and residential properties. These days more than ever before in the world, more and more people are conscious of eradicating things that might bring ill health to them. So you will find that it is a very good business to start.

  1. Disc Jockey

Employ your compilations of music from a variety of eras to please every generation in music. The wedding DJ can make or break the event. If you have a lot of energy, knack for detail, love for music and personality, this could be the perfect role for you. Some DJs also serve as the wedding planner. By learning both trades, you can make yourself more valuable to your clients.

  1. Vehicle Towing

Obtaining a license to start or operate an automotive towing business can be a frustrating task since auto-towing licenses are heavily regulated. Some operators of towing companies forego the license entirely and don’t provide towing services to the general public; instead they only subcontract their services on an exclusive basis to car dealers and property managers.

  1. Cooling Van Business

Kenya is a relatively hot and nobody wants to drink warm drinks; you can tap into this idea by starting a cooling van business. You will ice drinks with your cooling van, this business is mobile and with the right marketing strategy you will have a wedding to attend every week.

  1. Tricycle Transportation

The opportunities for the tricycle transport business are enormous. This stems particularly from its unique features and advantages. Its portable nature, route flexibility, convenience for charter service, maintenance efficiency, durability/life span among others adds up to its tremendous business opportunity. The establishment and creation of new route for tricycles across the state is a contributing factor.

  1. Car Hiring

The car rental career is a very lucrative career, especially when you are located in a strategic place especially a city with huge population, commercial centers and entertainment outfits. However, I must point out the fact that a car rental career can be capital and management intensive. The vehicles you hire to customers must meet higher safety standards before you can provide them for hire.

  1. Travel Agency

The travel industry is a big industry within the tourism industry but it is still within the transportation business. The major players is this industry are the transportation companies (Airline, Cruise and Shipping companies and other transporters) and a special category of people that work behind the scenes to ensure that travelers are comfortable on their trips and get value for their money. With the booming tourism industry in Kenya, this will be a lucrative business especially if you extend your nest to the internet so that individuals can make reservations online.

  1. Car Washing

Cars get dirty and need regular wash but most people have no time to spare. Driving to the car wash to get your car professionally cleaned is much easier and faster than spending time washing it yourself. Starting a car wash requires having an open space and some money for the necessary equipment.

  1. Auto Mechanic

All over the globe, the auto repair business is such that is important. This is because of the need to have cars fixed. One of the things that must be done before even commencing this type of business is learning all that is required to be known in the auto repairs business. This means that you will be required to go and garner some good skills in this light. This business is even more profiting in Kenya due to the conditions of cars imported into the country.

  1. Solar Panel Sales and Repair

With the abundance of sun light in Kenya, you can start a business in this field. The solar panel repair business isn’t for everyone. This is because it has a very technical aspect that requires lot of patience and handwork. If you do not have a penchant for technology, then you may want to look elsewhere. However, if you do have a passion then you will excel in this trade.

  1. Mobile Device Repair Business

People would always encounter issues with their mobile phones and that is why you can pick the trade of a phone repairer up. First rule of thumb before starting out is to acquire phone repair skills. This is so because you will need to be at the top of your game to attract the best clients that can pay a premium for the service you render.

  1. New and Second hand cloth business

The clothing store (boutique) industry comprises of small retail stores that sells a limited range of clothing and accessories. The industry is defined as single-establishment stores only. Clothing stores (boutiques) can be strictly designer based (i.e. only one designer’s collection is sold there), or they may sell a mix of designers’ labels (brands) that are specifically catered to the local market.

  1. Selling Insurance Policy-: The idea of creating a niche to grow your book of business for insurance agents is certainly not a new idea. However, It is often heard from insurance agents wanting to find their niche market, but unsure of where to start.
  1. Chemical Merchant

Demand for certain chemical product far outweighs the supply in Kenya; you can make turn this into a profitable opportunity by importing the chemical to meet the needs of your local market. Simply find out about the products, connect with manufacturers in foreign countries, and seal the import deal with them. Similarly, you can make money by exporting chemical products manufactured in your country to foreign countries where there is huge demand for those products.

  1. Cement Manufacturing

Cement manufacturing business is yet another business that an entrepreneur should consider starting in Kenya. Starting a cement production plant might be capital intensive, but one thing is certain, you aren’t going to struggle to sell your cements especially if you are selling at a competitive price. If you have a solid capital base, then you should consider opening your own cement manufacturing plant.

  1. Soap Making

Soaps are part of the products that are manufactured from chemical products and they are used for washing and for bathing. No doubt there is a large market for soaps and the industry is still pretty much open for as many people that are ready to start their own soap making company. So, if you are looking for a simple business to start in the chemical industry, a business that requires few weeks or months of training and one that you can start on a small scale, then you should consider going into soap making business.

  1. Start an entertainment Lounge

There are a lot of expatriates in Kenya, especially in Nairobi; and these expats (Kenyans included) definitely need a place to wind down in the evenings and on weekends. You can cater to these needs by setting up an entertainment hotspot such as a hotel, bar, restaurant, cinema, casino, fast food joint, night club, etc. In fact, the list is endless. Just choose an entertainment business you are passionate about and give it a go.

  1. Sell Recharge Vouchers-: Sell Recharge cards, the lower denominations to friends, colleagues and family and make some small cash for yourself, it doesn’t cost anything to start at least with 5,000 shillings or even much less.
  1. Private Security Outfit

You can setup your own security guard company, train able-bodied men and women, deploy them to companies that need to protect sensitive infrastructure and make your money. It is as easy as ABC but you must bear in mind that your business needs to be license with the assigned regulatory authority.

  1. Laundry Services

This business thrives well in any economy – recession or not. There’s a large market to cater to, as many Kenyans are busy with their day jobs and have little or no time for laundry. To start a laundry business, all you need are a washing machine, pressing irons, and a few other items. So, it’s very easy to start, but very lucrative.

  1. Brick Moulding Business

The real estate market in Kenya is growing. Demand for cheap homes is on the rise. Bricks are cheap to produce and thereby providing a cheaper building option. You need Brick making machine, enough sub-soil, spades and labor, etc to start brick making business. Training in brick-making before you invest will come very handy.

  1. Appliance Repairing-: Fix your customers appliances and other electronic equipment. Many Kenyans have both electrical and electronic appliances that they want to fix; you can tap into this business and make good money.
  1. Computer Repair and Sales

With the increase in sales in computers and laptops, scope of repairing services will automatically grow in Kenya. Computer repair and maintenance service is good business idea to start in Kenya. Additionally you can also provide computer cleaning services.

  1. E-Book Writing-: If you enjoy writing and you know the technique of making e-book, then E-book writing is one of the best business ideas for women. You can start selling these E-books from your website, blog or from Amazon also.
  1. Employee Training/Professional Certification

The demand for specialized employee training is enormous and it is increasing. Mostly required employee training courses are on customer service, money handling, working place safety measures, stress management etc. Normally these training courses conducted on employer’s site. One can operate this business from home location.

  1. Internet Café Business

You can start an Internet café business with many other add-on services like, printing, online researching, and other computer services. This is a money spinner in Kenya, as people always want to surf the net. You can position your internet café in a very busy area.

  1. Start a Driving School

Every year, anxious teens that have attained the driving age requirements and even adults alike, who don’t know how to drive; approach driving schools to learn how to drive. If you are looking for a steady source of income in the automotive industry, then one of your options is to open a driving school; a place where you can teach people how to drive.

  1. Selling Snacks and Drinks

Snacks are everyone’s in between meals they come in handy at the office, in school, on special occasions such as parties, meetings, conferences, seminars and so on. Soft drinks usually accompany them as well just think of selling egg rolls, sausage rolls, donuts and other tasty light snacks especially cakes. These can be sold in schools and in busy places such as bus stops and commercial areas along with milk, mineral drinks, yoghurt and so on.

  1. Mobile Store/ Office Supply

People who work in offices finds it difficult to go out to the market to buy certain things like Wrist Watches, Shirts, Ties, and Perfumes. You can decide to help busy [people do all their shopping. You will be doing this at a fee. So you have to work out what your service charge will be. This is so that you can make some good profit.

  1. Private Lesson Teacher

How about teaching children after school? Many parents are busy and can’t afford to pay home teachers, you can organize a small after school lesson from home and charge just a little less than home teachers and make some cool money you know? You will have to choose your area of expertise.

  1. Gardening and Landscaping

Turn your clients’ backyard into a breathtaking panorama. Doing this business require a lot of training and creativity. So you will have to undertake some research and trainings so that you can do your best to attract the best of clients at all times.

  1. Advertising Campaign Developer

You can plan and build creative online campaigns and content for your clients— from successful social media campaigns, apps, mobile contests, video, email distribution, search engine optimization, online media ad buys or a mix of all of the above.

  1. Creating Music Videos

People will always be in love with music and good music. This is why you can consider opening a music related business. Nowadays, lot of companies look for music videos for brand building activity. Artists and singers also look for music videos for promotion. You can try this creative work if you enjoy doing so.

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