Do you want to start a profitable business in Maldives as a foreigner? If Yes, here are 50 best small business ideas & investment opportunities in Maldives.

The Maldives which is officially known as the Republic of Maldives, is a country in South Asia, located in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) from the Asian continent.

Comprising a territory spanning roughly 298 square kilometers (115 sq mi), the Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed sovereign states as well as the smallest Asian country by land area and population, with around 427,756 inhabitants. Malé is the capital and the most populated city, traditionally called the “King’s Island” for its central location.

The World Bank classifies the Maldives as having an upper middle-income economy. Fishing has historically been the dominant economic activity, and remains the largest sector by far, followed by the rapidly growing tourism industry. Maldives is rated “high” on the Human Development Index, with its per capita income significantly higher than other South Asian Associations for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations.

Maldives is ranked 139th among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. But in recent time, the country has been making commendable efforts to make it easy for people who are interested in importation and tourism to easily setup and grow their businesses in any of the islands in Maldives.

So, if you are looking towards starting a business in Maldives, here are 50 best business opportunities you can choose from.

50 Best Small Business Investment Opportunities in Maldives

  1. Build A Commercial Aquarium 

Although Maldives is a small country, but it attracts huge numbers of tourists from all across the globe. So, if you are looking towards starting a business in Maldives, then you should consider building aquarium where tourists will pay to visit. The Maldives have a range of deep sea, shallow coast, and reef ecosystems, fringing mangroves, wetlands and dry land.

There are 187 species of coral forming the coral reefs. This area of the Indian Ocean alone, houses 1100 species of fish, 5 species of sea turtle, 21 species of whale and dolphin, 400 species of mollusk, and 83 species of echinoderms. The area is also populated by a number of crustacean species: 120 copepod, 15 amphipods, as well as more than 145 crab and 48 shrimp species.

  1. Start a Business as Tourist Guide

Since the economy of Maldives is centered around tourism, it will be wise to look towards starting a business as a tourist guide. All that is required to successfully launch this type of business is that you can speak at least one or more foreign languages.

Furthermore, you must also know the terrain well. Once you are certain that you can effectively translate or interpret, then all that is expected of you to do is to position yourself in places where you can have access to tourists; it could be in an hotel lobby (you would have to negotiate with the hotel manager) or via referrals from a travel and tour company.

  1. Open a Water Refill Station

Although Maldives is surrounded by water, but the fact is that clean and portable water tends to be scarce. So, if you are looking towards starting a business in Maldives, then you should consider opening a water refill station. The truth is that you may not need aggressive marketing to promote your water business, but you need to market your water refill station to create general awareness.

  1. Start Bread and Breakfast Business

If you have interest in investing in the hospitality industry but you lack the startup capital for a hotel or motel, then you should consider starting a bed and breakfast. A typical bed and breakfast is a small lodging accommodation that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast to guests.

Aside from breakfast, they usually do not offer other meals. Normally, people that run bed and breakfasts make use of their private homes or their family homes. The average bed and breakfast has 6 rooms, but generally, bed and breakfasts operate 4 to 11 rooms within a facility.

  1. Start a Hotel Business

A hotel business could eventually be one of the best things to attain for you if you intend setting up a business in Maldives. This is because of the lucrative nature of this industry in the country. Every day, visitors travel to Maldives and the option they are faced with is staying in hotels.

There are different categories of hotels, like the 5-star, 4 star or even 3-star hotels. One of the essential things unique to each category of hotel, are the facilities that make up each. Starting a hotel business is capital intensive and it is considered a long-term investment because it takes a while for the owners to break even.

  1. Start Coffee and Beverage Importation Business

If you are considering starting a coffee and beverage importation business in Maldives, the good news is that you can’t get it wrong because coffee is consumed by a large percentage of the population in the country.

It is important to state that starting a coffee and beverage importation business in Maldives comes with its own fair share of challenges especially as it relates with logistics, but that does not rule out the fact that it is indeed a profitable business. An aspiring entrepreneur can either choose to start the business on a small scale supplying a handful of outlets or covering several Islands in Maldives depending.

  1. Open a Boutique Hotel

Chief amongst the reasons why tourists troop to Maldives is to maximize their vacation, hence the need for them to stay in hotel that can help them achieve this. One of such hotel niches is the boutique hotel. The Boutique Hotel industry comprises of intimate, luxurious and fashionable hotel environments that feature unique architecture and design.

They are also known as lifestyle hotels, villas and wellness hotels. Boutique hotels might offer food and beverage services as well as having restaurants, spas and salons on the premises. So, if you are looking towards starting a business in Maldives, you should consider opening a boutique hotel.

  1. Start a Fishing Boat Charter Business

If you are in Maldives and you are tinkering with launching a business as an aspiring entrepreneur, one of your best bets is to launch a fishing boat charter business. The right time to start such business in the Maldives is now because this business is presently at its growing stage.

The Fishing Boat Charter industry consists of businesses that engage in Inshore/coastal fishing, offshore fishing, tournament fishing and commercial fishing. Operators in the industry provide charter boat fishing services for individuals, parties and companies. Operators may vary greatly in size, ranging from large operators with a fleet of vessels to single boat owner-operators and part-time charter companies.

  1. Start a Boat Cleaning Company

Another thriving business that an aspiring entrepreneur can successfully start in Maldives is a boat cleaning company. The truth is that boat cleaning business is easy to set up and it is equally profitable especially if you locate the business in a riverine area where residents make use of boats.

A boat cleaning business requires low startup capital, and you can be rest assured to attract loads of customers if you know how to deliver excellent jobs. The amount you can make per day is largely dependent on your ability to market your services.

  1. Open a Fishing Tools and Accessories Store

Another flourishing and of course profitable business idea that an aspiring entrepreneur should consider starting in Maldives is a store where everything about fishing will be sold. In other to do pretty well with this type of business, you should ensure that your fishing tools and accessories store is located in a fishing community or close to a coastal area. A location where you can easily access tourists who are in the Maldives to fish for fun.

  1. Start Language Translation Services

Language translation services is yet another thriving and profitable business that an entrepreneur who is looking towards starting a business in Maldives should consider starting. All that is required to successfully launch this type of business is to ensure that aside from Dhivehi which is the official language of Maldives, you can speak at least one or more foreign languages.

The truth is that over 90 percent of tourists that visit Maldives cannot speak their official language hence the need for a language translator. One good thing about this type of business is that you can successfully start it with little or no startup capital.

  1. Start Jet Ski Rental Services

Another business that an entrepreneur who is looking towards starting a business in Maldives should consider is Jet Ski rental services. The truth is that a rental business is one of the easiest ways to start out as an entrepreneur especially if you can’t afford to go through the production of goods.

So, if you live around any beach where people either ski for fun or for sports, then you should consider starting your own Jet Ski rental business. You can indeed make cool cash from this business with little effort if you are well positioned.

  1. Start the Rental of Canoes and Speed Boats

Another thriving and profitable business venture that an entrepreneur who is interested in starting a business in Maldives should consider is the rental of canoes and speed boats. The major means of transportation in Maldives is water hence the daily usage of canoes and speed boats. It is a cool way of earning money but you must ensure that you have safety measures in place if you intend starting this type of business.

  1. Start a Travel Agency

Another profitable business that an entrepreneur who is looking towards starting a business in Maldives should consider starting is a travel agency. Travel agencies render services that covers all aspect of traveling. They help their clients in securing visas, purchase flight tickets, book hotels, book taxi cabs and bus shuttle services etc.

Interestingly, visitors to the Maldives do not need to apply for a visa pre-arrival, regardless of their country of origin, provided they have a valid passport, proof of onward travel, and the money to be self-sufficient while in the country.

The truth is that there are loads of people out there who want to visit Maldives but don’t know how to book flights and access hotels in the country, and they will be more than willing to deal with a travel agency that is based in Maldives.

  1. Open a Coffee Café

The fact that loads of tourists visit Maldives on a regular basis means that a business like coffee café is bound to thrive in the country. A coffee café can be located in any part of town as long as there are people living or working there. On the other hand, if you operate a mobile coffee café, then there won’t be any restriction to the places you can sell your coffee, just like the conventional food truck business.

  1. Start a Waste Management Company

Although the Maldives is kept relatively pristine but little litter can be found on the islands, as no good waste disposal sites exist. Most trash from Malé and other resorts is simply dumped at Thilafushi. This goes to show that any entrepreneur who is able to start a standard waste management company in Maldives will rake in good returns on his or her investment. As a waste management company, your duty is to collect hazardous and nonhazardous waste and recyclable materials from homes, offices, and industries.

  1. Start Fishing Business

Another highly thriving business that can be started in the Maldives is fishing business. For many centuries the Maldivian economy was entirely dependent on fishing and other marine products. Fishing remains the main occupation of the people and the government gives priority to the fisheries sector.

As of 2010, fisheries contributed over 15 percent of the country’s GDP and engaged about 30 percent of the country’s work force. Fisheries was also the second-largest foreign exchange earner after tourism.

  1. Open a Fish Processing and Canning Plant

The fact that fish is cheap in Maldives means that the only way to maximize profits in this business is to process the fish so that it can easily be exported to other countries. In 1979, a Fisheries Advisory Board was set up with the mandate of advising the government on policy guidelines for the overall development of the fisheries sector. This was done to encourage both locals and foreigners to establish fish processing and canning plants in Maldives.

  1. Start Airport Shuttle Business

Most visitors arrive at Malé International Airport, on Hulhulé Island, adjacent to the capital Malé. The airport is served by flights to and from India, Sri Lanka, Doha, Dubai, Singapore, Istanbul, and major airports in South-East Asia, as well as charters from Europe. Gan Airport, on the southern atoll of Addu, also serves an international flight to Milan several times a week. British Airways offers direct flights to the Maldives around 2–3 times per week. This goes to show that airport shuttle is essential and a thriving business in Maldives.

Airport shuttle service is all about transporting passengers and their luggage within the airport, or from their hotels to the airport and vice versa. Depending on the kind of permit you obtained to operate your airport shuttle, you would need to acquire standard and comfortable automobile for this kind of service.

  1. Start a Car Rental Business

Car rental business generally is a competitive business and any entrepreneur who intends to go into this business should ensure that they carry out thorough feasibility studies and market research. The first thing to consider before launching this business is the niche of car rental business you intend to operate.

You will have to know the niches available – contract hire and daily hire et al, and decide which you want to go on. Contract hire is usually for business customers who hire the vehicles for a set period of time, while daily hire is for individual customers who hire the vehicles usually for a shorter period of time.

  1. Open a Gift Shop

The fact that loads of people visit Maldives regularly means that they would always buy gifts when leaving the country hence starting a gift shop business is a profitable business in Maldives. A gift shop is a shop that retails a wide range of gifts, merchandise, souvenirs, greeting cards, party supplies and seasonal and holiday decorations. In order to maximize this business, ensure that you position your shop in a busy route or location that attracts tourists and visitors.

  1. Open a Bureau De Change Shop

The fact that tourists would always want to change currencies when they visit Maldives means that starting a bureau de change is one of the best businesses that can be started in the country. Bureau de change is a business that makes profit from selling currency at a higher exchange rate than a rate at which it buys the same currency. In setting its exchange rates, they ensure that they keep an eye on the rates quoted by competitors.

  1. Open a Consignment Shop

Another good business that can be started in Maldives is a consignment shop. A Consignment Shop is simply a shop where fairly used goods are sold at giveaway prices. You can start this business without money because you would only be required to collect goods from people who are cleaning and clearing their wardrobes, houses, offices or garages at no cost at all. In other words, you would be automatically helping them get rid of the items they do not want and in turn make your profit.

  1. Freight Packing and Logistics Services Business

A freight packing and logistics services business provides consolidation of freight consignments, trade document preparation, packing, crating and otherwise preparing goods for transportation and logistics consulting services. With this type of business, you can choose to operate from any part of the country as long as there are businesses and people who will patronize your services.

The truth is that starting a freight packing and logistics service is very easy even though it is capital intensive. Getting the right medium (boats/ships, motor cycles, drones and delivery vans and trucks et al) and good tracking devices are some of the secrets of running a successful freight packing and logistics business.

  1. Start Micro Money Lending Business

Maldives is not a rich country and loads of entrepreneurs are making money from offering small loans to individuals who cannot access loans from banks.

Starting a micro money lending business can be demanding and risky at the same time, but if you have done your due diligence before venturing into the business, you are likely not going to run at a loss. First and foremost, you are expected to have experience in the financial industry. It will pay you to study accountancy or banking and finance if indeed you want to venture into this line of business.

  1. Open a Juice and Smoothie Bar

Another thriving business that can be started in Maldives is a juice and smoothie bar. A smoothie is a blended, sometimes sweetened beverage primarily made from fresh fruit or vegetables combined with ice, frozen fruit or other frozen ingredients.

Some juice and smoothie bars give their clients option of add-ins, such as soy milk, whey powder, green tea and herbal or nutritional supplements et al. Opening a smoothie and juice bar might not be entirely easy, but the fact remains that it is a straight – forward business that can generate steady profits if well positioned and properly managed.

  1. Start Buying and Selling Business

One of the seemly easy to start businesses that an aspiring entrepreneur with little or no education can successfully start in Maldives is buying and selling business; it could be buying and selling stuffs from physical stores or an online platform.

The bottom line is that there are vast business opportunities open for as many people that are interested in the business of buying and selling. If you intend starting your own buying and selling business in Maldives, then you must take out time to choose your products or services and properly learn the trade.

  1. Open a Cigar Lounge

The fact that there are emerging laws restricting where people can smoke makes a cigar lounge one of those businesses that are in high demand in Maldives. A cigar lounge or bar is a place where smokers go to buy their preferred cigar brand and smoke freely without the fear of being embarrassed, arrested or fined.

You might agree that it is now illegal to smoke in public places. The World Health Organization (WHO), in conjunction with Governments of various Countries (Maldives inclusive) are clamping down on smoking in public places in a bid to protect non- smokers from the harmful effect of smoking.

  1. Start the Production of Cupcake

Cupcake production is one of the suitable businesses that can be started in Maldives. Cupcake is a small cake that is baked in small thin paper or aluminum cup and designed in different unique shapes to serve just one person. Aside from the fact that it is a small cake, it still contains icing, candy or all other decorations that can be found in traditional big cakes. The truth is that if you are a baker or even a caterer, it is easier for you to venture into the cupcake business.

  1. Start a Forex Trading Company

A forex trading company is yet another viable business opportunity that is bound to thrive in the Maldives. As a forex trading company, your responsibility is to provide forex trading platform for retail forex traders. What you need to do is to hire experts to help you develop a user-friendly forex trading platform.

Your trading platform must be secured and easy to navigate. It is also important to make use of a secured payment portal and also forex traders should be able to withdraw their earnings without stress.

The number of people that register and trade on your trading platform is what will determine the money you will make. In order to attract people to your trading platform, you should develop forex trading demo; a learning tool for forex trading.

  1. Open a Frozen Food Shop

A frozen food shop is one of the businesses that can be started in Maldives. A frozen food store is a retail outlet where different frozen foods are sold and it is a business that can be started in any location in Maldives. A frozen food store is a very easy business to start and it is not so capital intensive. Getting the right stock that people want to buy and good stock keeping records are the secrets of running a frozen food store.

  1. Start a General Contracting Business

A general contracting business is no doubt one of the businesses that is bound to thrive in Maldives. A general contracting company or general contractor is responsible for providing all of the material, labor, equipment (such as engineering vehicles, construction tools and machines) and other services needed for a construction project. Usually, the general contractor hires specialized sub-contractors to help them execute all or some portions of the construction project.

  1. Open a Gourmet Popcorn Shop

Gourmet popcorn shops/kiosks can be located in any part of Maldives as long as there are children and even adults who love popcorn around the location. Gourmet popcorn kiosks and shops are located in schools, parks, shopping malls, hotel lobby, railway stations, bus station, campuses, and sport centers and in any public facilities as long as you are given the permission to locate your gourmet popcorn kiosk or shop there. On the other hand, if you operate a mobile gourmet popcorn shop, then there won’t be any restriction to the places you can sell your gourmet popcorn.

  1. Open a Green Cemetery

A green cemetery is one of the businesses that is sure going to attract support of the government of Maldives. The world is going green, and most people alive want an eco – friendly world. People are also adopting the green burial option when they die or for their loved ones. Green burials are done in green cemetery and a green cemetery is a burial site that does not allow the use of vaults, non-biodegradable caskets or even embalming chemicals.

So also, operators of green cemetery do not make use of herbicides, pesticides or irrigation for the maintenance of the cemetery grounds. As a matter of fact, all the materials that are used at a green cemetery must conform with the goal of going green and preserving the ecosystem.

  1. Start Hardwood Flooring Installation Business

If you studied building engineering or any related course and you are keen to own a business, then you should consider starting a hardwood flooring installation business. This is one business that you can successfully start on a small scale and if you are good with what you do, it won’t be too long before you become a household name.

In Maldives, you will notice that a good percentage of homes have wood flooring. This goes to show that there is indeed a large market for hardwood flooring installation business. Hardwood flooring installation howbeit technical can learnt within few months.

  1. Start a Monogram Business

Monogramming involves the artistic designing of gift items by cresting 2 or more alphabetic letters on the gift item. The gift item could be cups, Tee Shirt, Towel, Bags, Wedding Invites, Caps, and Jackets et al. Although a small-scale monograming company can be operated from home, especially if it is being managed by an individual, but it pays to operate from an office/production facility.

  1. Open a Restaurant

A restaurant is another viable business that can be started in Maldives. Restaurants might not be entirely easy to start, but it is a straight – forward business that can generate steady profits if well managed. If you are considering starting a restaurant business, all you would need is some capital to purchase or lease / rent a suitable facility, the required equipment, and furniture.

You would also need some additional capital to purchase the required ingredients, pay your employees at least for the first 3 months, and also to pay your utility bills. These expenses are called “working capital.”

  1. Start a Solar Water Heater Installation Business

If you studied electrical engineering or any related course and you are keen to own a business in Maldives, then you should consider starting a solar water heater installation business. You can start this business on a small scale and if you are good with what you do, it won’t be too long before you become a household name in your city.

In Maldives, you will notice that a good percentage of homes and offices have solar water heaters, this goes to show that there is indeed a large market for solar water heater installation business.

  1. Open a Tanning Saloon

If you are looking towards launching a beauty related business in Maldives, one of your best bets is to launch a tanning salon. The right time to start such business is now because the industry is presently at its growing stage in Maldives.

So, if you are considering opening a tanning salon, all you need is some capital to purchase or lease/rent a suitable facility, the required equipment and working tools. You would also need some additional capital to purchase the initial tanning supply, pay your employees at least for the first 3 months, and also to pay your utility bills.

  1. Start a Temp Agency Business

A temp agency business is yet another thriving business that can be started in Maldives. A temp agency is responsible for recruiting temporary workers for businesses and organizations. Organizations in need of short-term workers, contract temporary work agencies to send temporary workers, or temps to them.

Some temp staffing agencies offer services beyond just recruiting employees. They also help in training and preparing the employees to fit into the role that they are being recruited for. Usually such temp staffing agencies charge more than those that just recruit employees for their clients.

  1. Open Electronic Repair Shop

Almost every home and office in Maldives has one form of electronics or the other, and over time, these electronic gadgets will require maintenance, servicing and repairs. This goes to show that there is indeed a large market for electronic repair shops. All you need to do to get started with this type of business is to learn the technical skills required to service, maintain and repair electronic gadgets.

An electronic repair business requires low startup capital, but it is indeed a very lucrative and profitable venture if it is well positioned and you know how to deliver excellent jobs. The amount you can make per day is largely dependent on your ability to market your service to users of electronic gadgets.

  1. Open a Flower and Gift Shop

If you have eyes for colors and designs, as well as have a penchant for beauty and decoration, then you may want to tinker with opening your own flower and gift shop in Maldives. The market for both fresh and artificial flower in Maldives has continued to soar, this is as long as we still have weddings, burials and other special events taking place all around us. The fact remains that as insignificant as most people think flower is, it is still a major requirement for weddings, funerals, love gatherings, design and decoration of event centers and even worship centers.

  1. Start Liquid Air Freshener Production Company

What most standard liquid air freshener production companies rely on to increase sales cum revenue generation is robust distribution network within their coverage areas. Retailers are some of the key business entities that you should partner with if you want to do pretty well in this line of business.

So, if you are considering going into liquid air freshener production business in Maldives, all you need is some capital to purchase or lease/rent a suitable production facility and then equip the facility with the needed machines and equipment. You would also need some additional capital to purchase chemicals and other packaging supplies, pay your employees at least for the first 3 months, and also to pay your utility bills.

  1. Start a Solar Energy Company

A solar energy company is no doubt one of the ideal businesses to start in the country. Solar energy has become one of the most reliable sources of power supply especially in the operation of lifts in commercial buildings. The market for solar energy is increasing and it is still open for new investors to come in.

In as much as the market for solar energy is growing all over the globe, you must adopt a workable marketing strategy to be able to make good sales and huge profits. You can go into contract agreements with those who manufacture products that use solar (panels) energy so that you can be in charge of supplying solar panels to them.

You can also make more sales if you work with your customers to produce customized solar panels that can suit their purposes. There are regions where solar energy sells like wild fire and you can only discover these regions if you carry out proper research.

  1. Start a Bakery Business

Another simple but profitable business idea that can be started in Maldives is a bakery business. Bread and all flour – based food are consumed by almost everybody, and as such, anyone who chooses to establish a bakery in Maldives is sure going to get good returns on his or her investment.

Aside from bread which seems to be the face of the bakery industry, cake is also doing pretty well in the market all over the world. Yes, people eat bread and other flour made snacks on a daily basis in Maldives, but you will quite agree that cake making is also one of the major money spinners for bakers.

  1. Start a Courier Service

Another thriving business opportunity that an investor who is consider starting a business in Maldives should consider is a courier service. Courier companies provide air, land, sea or combined express delivery services of parcels, documents and packages for individual and corporate clients. Courier companies provide services between metropolitan areas or urban centers and form a network that includes local, national and international pickup and delivery.

  1. Start Commercial Drone Delivery Company

A commercial drone delivery company is yet another business idea that an investor should consider starting in Maldives. Commercial drone delivery business is one of the many businesses that emerged with the advent of new technology.

A commercial drone delivery business involves helping your clients deliver their packages via drones to any destination of their choice. With this type of business, you can choose to own a store (online or offline), or you can choose to operate without a store.

  1. Bottled Mineral Water Production Company

Another viable business that can be started in Maldives is a bottled mineral water production business. Mineral water is said to be water that comes from a mineral spring which contains various minerals. There is indeed a very large market for bottled mineral water in the Maldives due to the fact that the country lacks portable water.

  1. Open an Ayurveda Clinic

There are massive business opportunities in the alternative medical practice industry and an Ayurveda clinic is one of them. This line of business is profitable in Maldives and in some countries of the world. If you are interested in starting a business in the alternative medical practice, then you should consider opening your own Ayurveda clinic business. When it comes to starting an Ayurveda clinic, you should make use of herbs that are non – toxic and does not contain heavy metals.

  1. Start an Environmental Consulting Firm

If there is any country that needs the services of environmental consultants, then Maldives will be among the list. Environmental consulting firms offers advice to businesses and individuals on environmental issues. Environmental consultants identify problems, measure and evaluate risks and recommend solutions.

A standard environmental consulting firm employs a multi – disciplined staff of scientists, engineers and other technicians. So, if you are considering starting a business in Maldives, then one of your options is to start environmental consulting firm.