Are you a chemical engineer looking to start a business to earn extra income? If YES, here are 50 best profitable small business ideas for chemical engineers. Chemical Engineering is a branch of engineering that impacts almost every sector of life. Chemical engineering is all about turning raw materials into useful, everyday products.
The clothes we wear, the food and drink we consume and the everyday products we use mostly credit their existence to chemical engineers. Chemical engineers are one creative set of people who use science and mathematics to develop a wide range of products for everyday use.
This means that there are no limits to the businesses a chemical engineering graduate can get involved in. If you studied chemical engineering and you want to be your own boss, here are 50 very lucrative business ideas you can start. Just pick the one that is within your budget, modify it to suit your tastes and you are good to go.
50 Best Small Business ideas for Chemical Engineers
1. Product/process development business: Product development scientists are responsible for identifying and developing new processes for product manufacture, as well implementing process controls to make sure the products are of a high quality and are manufactured in a reproducible manner.
A chemical engineer would make a great product development scientist. Development scientists work across the manufacturing industry on a diverse range of products, such as foods, medicines, cosmetics and paints, and they can as well start their own development centers.
2. Start a fibers and polymers processing industry: chemical engineering is mostly about transforming raw materials into valuable products. You could set up an industry where you research on how to produce various unique household items through these fibers. You can specialize in making clothing materials, plastics and the likes in your industry.
3. Urea production plant: Urea, also known as carbamide, is a white crystalline solid containing 46% nitrogen. It is widely used in the agricultural industry as an animal feed additive and fertilizer.
It is also used in the production of certain creams, lotions, gels, ointments, and solutions which are used to moisturize the skin and to treat some nail problems. As a chemical engineering graduate, you can start a small urea production plant. There is good market for this product especially for export purposes.
4. Chemical engineering consultancy: Many chemical engineers work for engineering consultancy and contracting firms.
On the other hand, if you are thoroughly grounded in the industry, you could set up your own consultancy firm where you would offer consultancy services to engineering related firms. You can also consult for people working in pollution control, environmental protection, energy conservation, recycling and alternative energy.
5. Start a recycling business: recycling is all about using discarded materials to create something new and useful. One of the industries chemical engineers do well is in recycling, as they can create just about anything from trash. You can set up a plant where you get to recycle either paper, metal or plastics and you would earn a lot of revenue from it. You can also think of a new product that can be gotten from the trash.
6. Agro Chemical Manufacturing: This chemical industry formulates and prepares fertilizer products, pesticides (e.g. herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides) and other agricultural chemicals (e.g. insect repellents, sheep dips, fly sprays and flea powders). Agrochemical manufacturing is considered as one of the most profitable chemical engineering business ideas to start with a substantial capital investment.
7. Bio-Diesel Production: another business idea that a chemical engineer can play with is to start a bio-diesel production business. Bio-diesel can be gotten from processing household wastes. A bio-diesel production unit can be established on a small scale basis at any place where the main raw material to be used is easily available.
There is a continuous search for renewable sources of fuel due to the rate of depletion of fossils. The term biofuel is used to define fuels that are obtainable from plants or animals. Being a renewable source, it is gaining attention all over the world today.
8. Cartridge Refilling Business: cartridge refilling is another good business idea for a chemical engineer. Cartridge refilling is a great small-scale business that can easily be run from home, but a retail location ensures better profitability. If you have the equipment and skills, you can start this business.
9. Mini Cement Plant: starting a mini cement plant might be capital intensive but it is a very lucrative business for a chemical engineer. Major raw materials needed for this industry are limestone, clay, pet coke and iron dust. Before you can start your plant, you have to get permission from the Pollution Control Board.
10. Start manufacturing plastics: manufacturing plastics is very easy once you can gain access to the required raw materials. If you are stumped for cash, you can set up a mini plastics factory where you produce plastics that are needed for everyday use. As a chemical engineer, you would do well in this industry.
11. Start a water treatment plant: a lot of places still find it difficult to get access to clean water, and as a chemical engineer, you can set up a water treatment plant to ensure that such places have access to clean water. You can equally combine water treatment with water bottling where you get to sell your treated water in bottles. This is an easier way to make profits from this business if you are in a place that does not really need water treatment services.
12. Specialize in the formulation of food and drinks: a good business a chemical engineer can specialize in is in the production of food and drinks. A lot of foods such as pasta came about as a result of experimentation, as a chemical engineer, you could set up an industry where you specialize in creating unique foods and drinks. With good marketing skills, you would make a fortune if you happen upon a unique creation.
13. Start a Training Institute: You can set up a training institute to train people who are interested in working in the chemical industry. Chemical engineers are professionals who have had adequate training. With your training, you can set up an institute where you get to train chemical engineers and you can offer diploma courses. You would make a lot of money by offering this service.
14. Ceramic Colour Manufacturing: manufacturing the colour used in glazing ceramics is a good business for a chemical engineer. Underglaze Ceramic colors are commonly used for decoration. You can use them directly in enamel slip, pottery, colored wall tiles, sanitary wares etc. You can initiate the manufacturing unit on small scale basis if you have financial challenges or if you are just a fledgling manufacturer.
15. Insecticide Formulation business: Insecticide formulation comes under the knowledge base of chemical engineers, so as a person that has experience in this field; you would surely make profits from it if your products are very effective. Registration and permission from the pollution control board is very necessary when starting this type of business.
16. Latex Rubber Thread Manufacturing: another plastic related business a chemical engineer can dabble into is to manufacture latex rubber thread. Generally, hosiery industries are the major consumers of latex rubber threads. Apart from this, latex rubber thread is an essential raw material for fishing baits, toys and many of consumables. Latex rubber thread manufacturing is a very profitable business idea. There are provisions for starting this business on a small scale.
17. Naphthalene Balls Making: Naphthalene balls are the popular household preservative of woolen clothes. They are also a popular deodorant tablet for the toilets, urinals, bathrooms etc. This product finds extensive application in cities and as such it has a good scope for growth.
Naphthalene ball making is one of the most profitable home based chemical business ideas that a chemical engineer can go into. Making naphthalene balls can be done on a small scale and even from home if one can get clearance from the local authorities.
18. Manufacture Cleaning Chemicals: Cleaning chemicals are used in the cleaning industry. They are useful for washing utensils, hard surfaces, cloths and toilets. The chemicals could be in form of liquid, soap or powder.
You need to choose a specific type of product niche, but you can as well combine other products too. Knowledge of cleaning chemical manufacturing is essential. The type of equipment, chemicals and solutions you would need depends on the chemical you want to produce.
19. Chemical Based fire Extinguishers: Chemical based extinguishers are usually sprays that are used to put out infernos. The products are not only useful for putting out fires, but also for defense. Every car needs a fire extinguisher including homes, schools, factories and offices. Fire extinguishers are mandatory in most government or public utilities. This manufacturing idea is suitable for chemical engineers.
20. Manufacture synthetic Fertilizer: Although the world is turning to organic fertilizers but there is still a place for synthetic products especially as developing countries still make use of them. Fertilizers are important for plant growth and farmers use billions of tons worldwide.
Cashing in on this huge market makes a lot of sense for a chemical engineer. Make sure your products strictly comply with government rules and regulations. Use effective marketing strategies and offer competitive prices to attract farmers. You can equally produce synthetic fertilizer for export.
21. Air Fresheners, Aftershave and Facial Cleaners: These products have different compositions and are under the chemical industry. An investor needs to choose a niche area and specialize. You need startup funds and a good chemical formula to start this business. Your product should get national food and drug certification before going to the market to avoid being penalized.
22. Rubber Gloves Manufacturing: Rubber gloves are essential items in the medical, automobile and manufacturing industry including food processing.
The major purpose of using rubber gloves is to protect the hand and fingers from heat, abrasion, electric shocks, chemical attack and contamination through direct contact as in the case of medical examination gloves etc. The rubber gloves manufacturing process is not complex. Additionally, you can easily procure the main raw material rubber latex.
23. Organic Chemical Manufacturing: Basically, organic chemical manufacturing is one of the most profitable chemical business ideas that is within the grasp of a chemical engineer. A lot of people are currently switching to the use of organic chemicals and this business not only has market in the domestic market, it also has very good export potential. Selecting the right product and machinery is important in this business.
24. PET Jar Production: Different sizes of PET jars are an essential item in so many industries for various types of food and non-food items packaging. You can start this business and make profits from it if you market your jars optimally. Additionally, you can initiate this lucrative small business opportunity as small-scale basis with small capital investment.
25. Start a Cosmetics manufacturing company: Many cosmetic products are formulated using chemicals and as such, a chemical engineer can easily start it. The business is highly competitive and profitable because people are always using cosmetics. Millions of cosmetic products are sold daily worldwide and they attract good prices. Make sure you follow strict government rules regarding cosmetics production.
26.Start a pharmaceutical company: a chemical engineer is very qualified to start a pharmaceutical company of any scale. You may decide to start producing food supplements or teas that are beneficial for weight reduction, or foods/snacks that are all organic and free from normal industry chemicals and preservatives if you do not have the capacity to run a pharmaceutical company because of the licenses and huge startup costs.
27. Start a recruitment service: with loads of students graduating from the department of chemical engineering every year, there would need to find jobs relating to the industry, and the loads of small businesses springing up in the industry would need qualified workers. You can set up a recruiting service where you get to match chemical engineering graduates with their dream jobs.
28. Start a chemist and materials company: Chemists and materials scientists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels and analyze the ways in which the substances interact with one another. They use their knowledge to develop new and improved products and to test the quality of manufactured goods. You can start a business and offer your services to companies.
29. Start manufacturing tires: Tires have become essential hardware for the automobile industry. They are part of the mobility of bicycles, cars, trucks, vans, heavy equipment and airplanes. The market is huge and highly competitive.
To setup a tire manufacturing company you need serious cash for molding equipment, storage, marketing and operations. The product is needed worldwide and manufacturers hardly meet the huge demand. Apart from new vehicles, old used tires need replacement to avoid accidents. If you are considering a very lucrative venture and have the financial capability, tire making is your best bet.
30. Chemicals import and export business: this business is focused on the international trade and distribution of chemicals of various kinds including minerals, rare earth and oxides to businesses and industries that are in need of such chemicals and minerals. Your business can target industries that produce glass, ceramics, construction chemicals, foundry, steel industries and adhesive manufacturing industries etc.
31. Start manufacturing perfumes: Perfumes are part of the fashion and beauty industry. For such small items they attract premium prices and lots of buyers. To leverage on this massive industry, you need to produce quality products and brand the products properly in order to achieve lots of visibility. Try to produce high quality perfumes and use effective marketing strategies in order to carve a market niche for yourself.
32. Produce baking soda: in our society today, baking soda has a lot of uses. It can be used as a green cleaning agent, as a rising agent for cakes and pastries. It helps to preserve the colour of vegetables and can be used as a teeth whitening agent amongst other uses, thus making the demand for this product quite high. As a chemical engineer, you can set up a small industry where you manufacture baking soda.
33. Start a micro encapsulation industry: Microencapsulation is a process in which active substances are coated by extremely small capsules.
It is a new technology that has been used in the cosmetics industry as well as in the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and food industries, being used in flavors, acids, oils, vitamins, microorganisms, among others. This is one business a chemical engineer can comfortably start and make much profits from as long as they follow high ethical standards.
34. Waste disposal service: chemical industries generate a lot of waste and a lot of them would be happy to have someone take those wastes off their hands. You could set up a waste disposal business as a chemical engineer. Additionally you could figure out what wastes have recycle potentials and use them to fund your recycle plant.
35. Become a Researcher: A chemical engineer can also start his own business as a researcher where he will assist businesses and clients in researching new processes of manufacturing chemicals and other products. Apart from doing the research work, a chemical engineer may also design programs, processes and machinery and facilitate the manufacturing of the products.
36. Analytical Chemist business: Analytical chemists assess the chemical structure and nature of substances. Their skills are needed for a variety of purposes including drug development, forensic analysis and toxicology.
A chemical engineer can start his business as an Analytical Chemist who basically works in the laboratories along with the team of other scientists. He will be required to study chemical compounds in order to identify their construction. A chemical engineer may start his business in association with an environmental or pharmaceutical company.
37. Start an energy managing business: Energy engineering or energy systems engineering is a broad field of engineering dealing with energy efficiency, energy services, facility management, plant engineering, environmental compliance and alternative energy technologies.
A chemical engineer may also become a freelance energy manager. In this role, he will be responsible for planning ways energy can be utilized effectively in companies. Heavy industries and manufacturing units are energy-intensive and a chemical engineer can provide his services to these manufacturing companies. He may improve the energy efficiency of lighting, campus utilities, laboratories, dining and residence halls, classrooms, etc
38. Become a freelance Manufacturing engineer: Manufacturing engineers develop and create physical artifacts, production processes, and technology. It is a very broad area which includes the design and development of products. A chemical engineer can also start his own business as a freelance manufacturing engineer.
As a manufacturing engineer, he will be required to deal with various manufacturing science and practices including the research, layout, plan and development of processes, systems, tools, machines and equipment. Industries like semi-conductor and steel manufacturers use the services of chemical engineers for production and for other reasons.
39. Start a chocolate factory: the scope of chemical engineering spans even to food, and a lot of innovation in this industry is credited to chemical engineers. You can start a chocolate factory where you research and produce different kinds of candies. If your chocolates are good, you would not have problems marketing your candies.
40. Start a dairy company: as a chemical engineer, you can start a dairy company where you process milk gotten from dairy farms. Your factory can bottle the milk, can them or make them into powdered form for export. You can also produce cheese and other milk derivatives.
41. Start a mini refinery: as a chemical engineer, you can start a mini refinery where you refine crude oil into various derivatives. Modular mini refineries may be in units from 4000 to 30,000 bpd, though some are as low as 1000 bpd capacity.
Mini-refineries can produce a variety of products from naphtha, gasoline, jet fuel and diesel. This business maybe capital intensive, but if you can put the funds together, you would have a very profitable business in your hands. You can pool funds with various other investors to start this business.
42. Start a winery: A winery is a building or property that produces wine, or a business involved in the production of wine. As a chemical engineer, starting a wine production company is right within your alley as you would excel in this trade. You can choose not to own a vineyard as well and opt for buying grapes from farmers. But if you have the capacity to also run a vineyard with your winery, then by all means do so.
43. Start a juice factory: another business a chemical engineer can start is a juice factory. Fruit juice is one of the ready to serve items that gets the most orders in restaurants. Fruit juice production business can be initiated on a small scale basis. Product should be selected according to the availability of raw materials. You can package your juice both for export and for immediate consumption.
44. Iodized Salt Production: Iodized salt is a white crystalline powder salt fortified with Iodine. Iodine deficiency disorder can be easily avoided by consuming sufficient amounts of salt fortified with Iodine. Iodized salt production can be started on small scale basis also. As a chemical engineer, you can as well set up an iodized salt factory.
45. Rice Bran oil Production: Rice bran oil is considered the world’s healthiest oil. It is now being used by many restaurants in deep fryers to improve food flavor and eliminate Trans Fat. This oil is obtained from the core of rice and it is 100 percent natural.
The oil is rich in natural antioxidants and it has a sweet almond taste. It acts as an excellent dressing oil for salads, and it is ideal on raw foods and even in deep frying. As a chemical engineer, you can start a rice bran oil production plant as the market is very viable.
46. Tomato Processing: Tomato is a widely available vegetable and processed tomato products are also very popular. Some of the most popular tomato products are tomato sauce, puree, juice, ketchup etc. In initiating tomato processing, you can also produce tomato pulp for other small scale industries. Production process is not complex. Simple machinery and equipment are required.
47. Manufacture Lubricants: A lubricant is a substance, usually organic, introduced to reduce friction between surfaces and it ultimately reduces the heat generated when surfaces move. There are thousands of lubricants for different purposes.
To enter the lubricant business, you need to choose a niche and specialize in it. The quality of the lubricant you produce will sell the brand. To get noticed you need an effective marketing strategy and make sure you get government certification.
48. Manufacture feminine products: Feminine products are one of the fastest moving industries in the world today. Research has it that tampons alone are used by up to 70 percent of menstruating women in the united states. The remaining number use pads (cotton, cloth or synthetic) and cups.
Other feminine products such as douches, sprays, washes, and wipes, are used by 20-50% of women. This goes to show that the market for feminine products is quite huge. As a chemical engineer, you can start a company where you produce feminine products, but you have to ensure that your products are free of toxic chemicals.
49. Metabolic engineering research Centre: Metabolic engineering is the practice of optimizing genetic and regulatory processes within cells to increase the cells’ production of a certain substance. The ultimate goal of metabolic engineering is to use these organisms to produce valuable substances on an industrial scale in a cost effective manner.
As a chemical engineer, you can set up a center where you carry out research on cell metabolism in order to fashion out ways to increase productivity. Ensure you patent all your findings and you can live off the proceeds for a long time.
50. Textile manufacturing industry: The textile industry is primarily concerned with the design and production of yarn, cloth, clothing, and their distribution. The raw material to be used may be natural or synthetic. As a chemical engineer, you can carve a niche in the textile industry and start your business of manufacturing and distributing fabrics.