Hi. My name is Philos Mudis, founder of Niabusiness.com. In this article I am going to show you a list of over 120 business ideas in Kenya. Business ideas and opportunities that take into consideration what marketplaces offline and online can offer – ideas that can work in the current state of the Kenyan economy (and thrive).
I’ll also be linking out to Amazon, to ebooks related to various ideas presented in this article. if you’d like to know more about an idea, click on the links that say ‘see related books‘ to purchase them on Amazon & read them on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.
Note that Niabusiness has linked to some of the resources on this page using affiliate links. When you click on something and purchase it, Niabusiness will receive a commission from every successful sale / referral, at no extra cost to you.
Most of these ebooks cost $5 (Kenya Shillings 500), $4 (KSh 400), $3 (KSh 300), $2 (KSh 200) & even $1 (KSh 100). To make purchases online, just use PayPal or better yet get a free debit card from your local bank (ask them if you can use it to shop online), load it with money from your M-PESA account – then click any of the related ebook links below to make purchases on Amazon.
Also make sure you download the free Niabusiness PDF guide: 10 Things to Look At if You Are Thinking of Starting a Business.
Let’s get to the business ideas …
Rental houses. Could be bedsitters, one bedroom houses, 2 bedroom houses, apartments – may be even renting out offices if you want to venture into commercial real estate – targeting other companies or small businesses.
Pig farming. Yes, people love pork. There is demand for the meat – for sausages among other things. You can get your piglets, care for them and sell them to local butcheries in your town / city, supply to supermarkets, companies or sell the meat / piglets yourself.
Poultry. Fried chicken, eggs, one day old chicks. These are but just some of the avenues open to those who want to venture into poultry farming in Kenya. You can keep layers. Or rear broilers. Just pick a breed you like – KARI Kienyeji, Kuroiler etc and get started.
Kindle book publishing. If you have ideas you want to turn into books now is a good time to put your ideas down on paper. Write a book, edit and then upload it on Amazon Kindle platform. Sell the books online as ebooks – even use CreateSpace to have Amazon make hard copies if you want.
Shop – online or offline. Start a shop in your estate / neighbourhood – or near town. Or start an online shop. At the beginning just focus on the essentials – and play to your strengths. The shop can just be the normal retail outlet selling different kinds of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) or a niche-specific shop – selling only laptops or a certain category of electronics / engines / clothes etc.
Freelance services – online & offline. Work as a contractor selling your services to businesses, organisations and individuals in your locality. Or venture online to offer various services such as virtual assistance, content writing, editing and proofreading, coding, graphic design among other things.
Cakes. Bake and sell cakes for different occasions. You can do wedding cakes, birthday cakes – or cakes for various occasions like Valentine’s day, mothers day and fathers day. You can also fulfill custom orders for corporate clients, SMEs and individuals.
Importing on Alibaba / AliExpress and reselling in Kenya. Import a variety of products from these two websites to sell in Kenya. Buy accessories for cars / electronics. Buy machines. Buy clothes & decor. Most of the things you see in supermarkets, you can buy on these two sites.
Buying / importing and selling used cars. Import used cars from Japan through the Mombasa port then sell the vehicles you bring into the country to customers everywhere. Import vans, pickups, trucks, cars, SUVs, lorries, station wagons, tractors & buses.
Buying / importing selling laptops. Buy new or used from various marketplaces such as AliExpress. Or buy from Amazon. Or buy straight from a manufacturer / reseller. Buy from eBay or classified ad sites in various countries. Buy Apple iOS / Windows / Linux / Android powered laptops from different brands such as HP, Dell, Lenovo, Macs, Toshiba, Samsung among others.
Selling on online classifieds sites like OLX Kenya /Jiji, PigiaMe, Star, Craigslist. Just find various items you can sell from your house, create free ads online -and whenever someone calls / messages you, close the deal – and keep repeating that. Later you can niche or continue selling items on different categories on the websites.
Coaching. Make money helping people reach a certain goal they desire in life or business. You can help people move up in their careers. You can help people build better relationships. You can help people grow their wealth. There is a lot you can offer in this space. See what you are good at, offer it and get paid for your work.
Consulting. If you are expert in any area / field, probably there is someone who can benefit from the knowledge you have accumulated for so many years. So, why not turn it into a business? They pick your brain and you get paid for it. This can be a lucrative business you run from home.
Online courses. Take your knowledge and turn it into a course. Then upload the course online on your own blog / website or on third party online course platforms such as Udemy, Teachable, Thinkific or Coursera. Make profits from your course sales and use the money to grow your business.
SaaS business / startups. Turn your idea into a startup or a Software as a Service business. You can do this by bootstrapping (initially) and seek funding later (or forego funding like some profitable startups have done over the years). As for the nature of your startup, only you can decide that. There are startups in all manner of niches / sectors. Do your research before you decide how you want to turn your idea into a business.
Matatu business. Make money taking people where they want to go. Get a 33-seater like the popular Isuzu mini buses, decide on a route and sacco and get to work. Some also get into the PSV / matatu business with the 14-seater Toyota Hiace vans (or smaller Mazda / Probox vans) offering town service. Some get into the business with bigger Isuzu / Scania / Nissan Diesel buses (capable of transporting 45 to 60 passengers) plying long-distance routes.
Vegetable farming. Plant and sell onions, capsicum, kales among other vegetables. You can also source the vegetables from other farmers and make your business around ‘buying and selling at a profit while skipping the farming bit’.
Fruit farming. Make money doing the business of growing, supplying or selling fruits such as passion fruit, water melon, tomatoes, oranges, mangoes, pawpaw, apples, pears, strawberries among others.
Home business. This can take many forms. Any business you can run from home – and have the customer come to you (or you go to them) can fall under the ‘home business’ umbrella. Any skill / idea that can be turned into a business you run from home would be great for most parents / married couples.
Errand services. Help people tick things off their to do lists. Help them shop, pay for services, transportation & making inquiries.
Money lending. This is simple. If you have some money lying around, you can lend it to others online or offline and make a profit – off the interest. You can start this business in your town / neighborhood / estate or reach the wider population by starting a website / blog (and using social media sites like Facebook & Twitter). You can help Kenyans get loans online at good rates.
Online research. Become a researcher and create reports for individuals, businesses, organizations & various institutions.
Make money online. Take your idea online and turn it into a profitable business. Market your products and services on the internet. Get customers / clients and keep growing your business.
Selling clothes. Start a business selling clothes for women, babies, men and children. Sell to your neighbours. Sell in your town / city. Open a shop if you have the capital – and know the market will help you recoup the money you put down. Sell shirts, socks, dresses, skirts, underwear, sweaters, blouses, trousers, shorts & more.
Home made yoghurt. Know how to make yoghurt? Why not get in this business? Sell to your family, friends, relatives and neighbors. If the business becomes big enough you might even start supplying the shops in your area.
Homemade liquid soap. If you know how to make soap, why not turn it into a business? Sell to your neighbors and grow from there.
Services to SMEs. Start a business offering various services to small and micro enterprises. Services such as accounting / bookkeeping / KRA taxes / auditing / NHIF & NSSF registration.
Hardware. Help people achieve their dreams of home ownership by sourcing, stocking and selling building materials. Sell cement, nails, timber, iron sheets, paint, ceiling boards, tools such as spades & hammer among other items.
Start a business selling a variety of items on third party online shops e.g. Jumia Kenya / KiliMall & Facebook groups / marketplaces. Just look at the trends, bestsellers (by category) then source for things you want to sell and create product pages on these platforms – and promote the items to reach more of the right people / prospects.
Start a digital marketing / online marketing / internet marketing company offering services such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media management, email marketing, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Pinterest Ads, Amazon Ads. Help individuals, businesses & organisations grow their online presence.
School uniforms. Help parents & guardians get the right clothing for their children when school opens. Buy a sewing machine and set up your tailoring business. Market yourself to the people living in your neighbourhood – or at the place where you finally set up shop.
Cyber cafe. Love computers & the internet? Start a cafe. Offer word processing, internet access, printing & typing. Help people take advantage of the many resources available on the web. Help people access their emails, upload / download files, chat, fulfill their government obligations (on KRA or eCitizen platforms for example), do their online freelance work or transact other kinds of legitimate business.
Photocopying. If they have a page and want more copies, get in this business and watch your money grow every time the photocopier spits out another page. Other services you can offer in conjunction with this: typing, printing, binding and lamination.
M-PESA shop and agency banking. Become an M-PESA agent – or Airtel Kenya, Equity, KCB, Co-Operative, Family Bank or many of the mobile service / financial providers with an agency component to their business. Help people get their cash (withdraw) or send money easily.
Sell household items such as curtains, pillows, mats, toiletries, carpets or bed sheets. Find items common to rooms like the bathroom, bedroom, sitting room or kitchen. Sell those.
Car wash / motorbike wash. If you like removing dirt off things and getting paid for it why not start a business where you can smile every time you see a dirty car or motorcycle approaching?
Building apps. Design / create and upload your mobile apps to platforms such as Google Play Store, Microsoft Store or Apple Store. Sell the apps. Or make them free and monetize using AdMob or affiliate links / lead generation.
Custom furniture. So, say someone would rather not buy the pre-made furniture sold in many stores / shops / supermarkets / malls in town / city, you can make arrangements for custom orders. Make the customer whatever they want (chair, table, bed, cribs, stools, shoe racks, sofa sets, lockers…cupboard) and get paid.
Tutoring. Share your knowledge with a pupil / student and have their parent pay you. You can tutor on the various subjects taught in school. If the person you’re tutoring is old enough you can both share notes.
Plastics. Sell containers made of plastic such as troughs / basins & pails. Also sell plastic stands, chairs, cups, plates, jugs, baskets & more.
Repair business. Start a repair business for bicycles/ mountain bikes, tuk tuks, generators, lawn mowers, tractors, motorcycles / motorbikes, lorries / trucks, vans & mini buses. Start a car garage. Offer repair services to owners of different types of motor vehicles.
Boda boda. Offer reliable & trustworthy services with your motorcycle. Buy a Honda / Bajaj Boxer or any other bike and get in the transportation business. Help your neighbours get to work / home, carry their shopping or run errands for them.
Gas cylinders. Get in the LPG business by providing filling services / selling gas and equipment from various brands in Kenya such as K-gas, Hashi & Total.
Pharmacy / chemist. If you are a professional / licensed, you can start a chemist selling a variety of drugs to patients / their loved ones.
School lab equipment. Help secondary & primary schools operate well stocked laboratories to help students / pupils with subjects such as biology, physics, chemistry & computer studies.
Party planner. Help people organize different types of parties. Add a professional touch to parties for individuals, organisations and corporations – and get paid for it.
Event planner. Build a business around helping people run their events without a hitch. Help with the planning before, during and after the event.
Funeral help / services. Help people send off their loved ones just the way they want. Work within their budget to help them get what they need / want: catering, hearse, tents, plastic chairs, security, sound system, clothes, coffins, printing and more.
Wedding help / services. Help those who want to get married plan their wedding. Take them from engagement day to wedding day – and give them a day to remember. You can offer a venue, gowns & suits, flowers, cakes, cars, gifts & more.
Public speaker. If you have ideas & stories worth sharing, you can start a business speaking to audiences / employees in institutions, companies and organizations. Share tips & strategies in your chosen field. Inspire. Motivate. Challenge. Teach. Profit – when they do.
Seminars / conferences / conventions. Start a business bringing in people around shared interests. Run a convention for example once or twice a year / month. Bring in the right experts. Sell tickets. Have a blast and keep reinvesting money to keep growing the business.
Manager for professionals. Become a manager for musicians, writers, bands, artistes, comedians, dancers and other creatives. You can also build a business by becoming an agent for writers and actresses. Help market their brands. Help them with the business side of things. Help them make sound financial / time investments.
Personal / family doctor. There are people who need a doctor who can come to their homes whenever they need them. If you have the training and like this idea, why not find and market yourself to such individuals – and build a business around this.
Help with local requirements such as LTD registration / permits / Visa. Help Kenyan citizens and foreign nationals start companies in Kenya. Help with limited liability company registration. Help people form saccos, partnerships, formalize their chamas, get work permits & more.
City / modern farming – in small piece of land. Rear chicken, rabbits or dairy cows and sell the produce to your neighbours / supply companies or schools in town with milk, eggs and meat. You can also grow and sell vegetables.
Start a business buying and selling livestock on market days – cattle, sheep, goats especially.
Rabbit farming. Rear rabbits. Sell their meat, urine or manure. Also sell young rabbits to others who want to get in the rabbit farming business.
Fruit jam making. Grow / buy fruits and turn them into jam. Sell the jam directly to customers. Supply to shops and supermarkets.
Packaged snacks. So a business selling cookies, mandazi, crisps, nuts, chevda and such.
Drug rehab center. Help drug addicts overcome their addictions. Help their families in their quest to get their loved ones to sober up.
Courier business. Transport parcels around town / city. Or offer your services over long distances. You can do this with a motorbike, PSV or vans / pickups / worries dedicated to just parcel delivery.
Travel firm. Get in the travel agency business. Or start your own tours & travel company. Help individuals and business plan trips to various parts in and outside Kenya.
Mini hotel / guest house. Provide accommodation in a clean and quiet environment. Provide your guests with meals as well. Sell drinks. And keep providing the best hospitality to new and repeat customers.
AirBnB renting spare rooms. If you are a landlord / own a home, make some money by listing the spare rooms on AirBnB and similar sites / apps. Provide short or long-term accommodation.
Starting business as a chama / investment group. Pull your resources together and start building a diversified portfolio. Start with one business idea you all agree on and take it from there.
Hospital for the elderly / or just babies / young ones. Start a care facility just for people in a particular age bracket. Specialize.
Storage facility – people can rent to store their things. Instead of building houses for people to live in erect buildings people can store things in. Then charge them rent.
Waste removal and disposal. Help people get rid of garbage / trash. Get an exhauster and other equipment to dispose sewage. Or just bags & a truck for normal household waste.
Provide lawn mowing, gardening, landscaping and beautification services to home owners, businesses and institutions.
Candy making. Make and sell Candy to parents. So they can watch their young ones pounce and grab the sweets.
Stocks. Register a company you use to just buy / hold / sell NSE shares. Or shares in other stock exchanges outside Kenya (Nairobi Securities Exchange).
Make money changing money. Start a forex bureau service or something similar.
Driving school. Help Kenyans get their driving licences in various classes. Buy / rent a motorbike, car, pick up, van, lorry and hire an instructor to get started.
Start a college offering part-time / evening / short courses.
Web hosting reseller. Start a web hosting business targeting individual bloggers, freelancers, institutions and companies. Offer domain registration, web design & a variety of hosting plans.
White-labeling service. Get an already existing product or service, slap your brand on it, market it and profit. Services may include SEO or various SaaS offerings. Products can be bought from websites like Alibaba / AliExpress.
Taxi business. If you own a car, going independent and mixing the business a little with taxi hailing apps like Uber, Littlecab & Lyft can result in a sustainable and profitable business.
Start a business working as a personal trainer. Your focus can be on gymnastics, general exercise, body building, martial arts, dance or a mix of any of these.
Start a school attuned to the times – and needs of students in this day & age. Offer courses / lessons that equip students with the right skill set for the current markets in Kenya and other countries.
Selling electronics. Start a business selling home appliances, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and feature phones. Sell sub-woofers, game consoles, cameras, TVs among other things.
Selling jewelry. Start a shop selling different kinds of jewelry. Cater to different tastes prevalent in the market right now. Offer products that suit a variety of budgets.
Sell books: new & used. Or rent out books. Sell online or offline – in town / CBD where there is a lot of foot traffic.
Buy stuff from online stores in US, China and UK and sell them in Kenya. You can do this with electronics, power tools, motor vehicles, furniture, tools & accessories.
Start a day care center. Keep the young ones busy when their parents are away / at work.
Offer counseling services for married couples / teens / young adults / people about to wed.
Become a financial planner / investment advisor. Build your business by giving your clients the best tips / strategies to help them grow their money.
Become a marketplace owner: start your own e-store, classifieds site, multi-vendor site and get commissions when people list and sell their products on your website.
Start a bargain hunter / coupon site in Kenya. Make money off display ads and affiliate commissions.
Offer security services: guards, vehicle, CCTV, equipment and transportation.
Translation services. If you can help persons bridge the gap between two languages, get in the translation business. You can focus on speech or the written aspect o the business – or both.
Start movie / production house. Create short entertaining YouTube clips, TV shows, documentaries or full length movies.
Movie shop. Help Kenyans get their favourite movies and TV series – from Kenya, Hollywood, Nollywood, Bollywood and other parts of the world.
Start a restaurant. Sell drinks. Sell fast food in a clean and relaxing environment.
Petrol station. Sell kerosene, LPG gas cylinders, diesel and petrol to individuals / businesses / car owners.
Solar panels & other renewable / green energy products. Start a business in this area – selling equipment, offering installation & repair services.
Windmill. Help Kenyans interested in wind power acquire the equipment they need. Source the necessary components externally and sell them domestically.
Barbershop. Different haircut, different pricing. Get in the business of helping people style their hair the way they want.
Salon. Help young children and women get the look they want.
LPG. Liquified petroleum gas is a booming business in Kenya. As more families in urban areas move from relying solely on charcoal, you can ride on this trend – and build a thriving business. Sell gas cylinders & burners. Offer filling services, repair services, deliver services for institutions & more.
Appliances. Sell different appliances to individuals and businesses. Think of the items normally found in various rooms in a house – especially the sitting room and kitchen.
Shoe selling. Sell brand new or second hand shoes for children, men and women.
Accessories business. Sell accessories for some of the popular items in the market right now: laptop chargers, USB cables, Bluetooth devices (mouse, headsets, keyboards etc.), earphones, headphones, screen protectors for smartphones, batteries for tablets and more.
Cargo transport. Help individuals and businesses transport their cargo from the port of Mombasa to other locations in Kenya. Also offer services to persons who aren’t necessarily looking for their goods to be moved from the port.
Moving / movers. Help people moving houses safely transport their valuables from one location to another. You will probably need a truck for this.
Building / construction material. Sell bricks, sand, stones and other materials to Kenyans building their own homes, rental properties or commercial buildings.
Start a business selling engines, boats, generators & mowers.
Tuk tuk PSV. Buy and operate a tuk tuk / rickshaw in your town as a taxi or a ‘matatu’ playing one of the routes in town.
Publishing. Get in the publishing business. Think of creating and selling books / ebooks / magazines / and newspapers (niche / weekly).
Betting. Help fuel gambling in Kenya. Give people something to keep them busy whether they make or lose money. Run ads to you website on radio, newspapers, online, banners and on TV. Make a profit.
Feeds preparation business. Make and sell animal feed to farmers keeping poultry / dairy / pigs.
Start a business offering farm machinery sales, rental and repair for ploughs, tractors, harvesters, trucks and more.
Start a bar / pub. Sell alcohol – beer, whiskey and wine. Sell non-alcoholic beverages. Sell juices. Sell roasted meat among other things. Offer games like pool. Have a TV lounge etc.
Start a spa / massage. Offer clients a way to unwind / relax.
Swimming pool products sales. Help pool owners keep their pools in mint condition. Help others build their own pools.
Fumigation business. Help business owners and individuals get rid of pests.
Start a restoration business for cars, watches, electronics etc.
Offer customization & detailing services for cars, bikes & boats.
Offer milk packaging: dairy, goat, camel. Make ghee & cheese as well.
Make and sell flour: porridge / maize – different grades for both adults and children.
Sell soya beans as is or roast and grind it. You can farm it or source it from other farmer before you reach the value addition stage.
Offer cleaning services for offices & residences.
Nanny services. Help parents care for their children by starting a business where they can get themselves nannies who are trustworthy and reliable.
For business ideas targeted at Kenyans in the diaspora generally you can find something you can buy from abroad, bring back to Kenya and sell for a tidy sum. Things like electronics or fashion can do well. Or you can bring your money and establish a business here employing other Kenyans – and communicate with your team online when abroad to keep everybody accountable (doing their job).
And to some questions you might ask yourself after reading this article:
Why did you write this? To create a quick list people, including myself, can read any time they need ideas. For example, I publish articles on my site now and monetize my content using ads, services and affiliate links. If I want to try another business, I can just quickly go to this very article for ideas. And then I can take some of the money I make running this blog for example and use it to start an offline business such as pig farming. This is why I created this article – as something we can both use when we have capital to invest in a new business.
What should I do next after getting an idea that I like? What should I do after reading this article? Go out there and do even more research. My stand has always been this: to read a lot and also go out there on the ground to learn even more. If you want to start an M-PESA shop speak to 10 agents for example. Call M-PESA customer care. Take a pen and notepad with you. Ask the right questions and jot down anything useful you get from people you interact with. Just go out there, meet people and ask questions. Pretend you are doing an interview. Then read the interview and find ways to make what you are reading actionable. Come up with a list of steps (processes) you can follow to go from idea to first customer.
To the question of money, how do I get capital to start my business? I will share with you an answer I gave in one of the articles I published on this site a few years ago. You can start almost any business in Kenya with just 5000 Kenyan Shillings. How? You scale down the size of your idea first if it needs more capital investment. Then as the business grows, you’ll reinvest the profits back into the business. Gradually the business will expand. Compounding will take effect – and if you stay the course, the business will grow to the size you originally envisioned.
Also if you don’t have enough money to start the business you want, find something you can actually do then slowly grow into the business you want. An example I can give here is this: if you want to venture into dairy farming, you don’t necessarily have to start from there. You can spend a few months / years rearing poultry first. Then make that jump – to dairy – when the time is right – and you have enough money to actually buy the grade cows, build sheds, buy feeds and such.
How about taking loans, should I? I have seen this with many people. They come up with a plan. Then they swear if they get a loan, they won’t spend on anything but the plan. Then they get the loan. And they spend on other things. And then they struggle starting / growing their business. Then they get frustrated. Then they give up. Failure, that is what most people who take small business loans actually end with. So, if you can forego the loans, that would be better. If you are financially astute, of course disregard this advice. Get a loan if you can – and do what you have to start / grow your venture.
And what about the cost of registering a limited liability company in Kenya? I talk about it in this article and this one. It should cost around 25000 Shillings if you are getting help from some of the companies helping Kenyans with the registration process for private companies. And once you are registered you can apply for a Lipa na M-PESA till number for your business and get many other benefits – especially that of being able to keep your business affairs and personal matters separate – legally.
Should I get an office for my business or work from home? It depends. If you don’t really need to rent office space now, pour all the money on marketing / refining your product.
How do I get the word out before and after launching my business? Tell your neighbours / friends / colleagues. Give away flyers / brochures. Take advantage of free marketplaces like Jiji Kenya / PigiaMe. List your products on Jumia. Use business blogging / inbound marketing via your own site. List your business on business directories.
Use online platforms / social media sites / messaging apps like Facebook (groups & pages), LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp. Get your ads on the classified ad sections of Kenyan newspapers like The Daily Nation, The Standard, The Star, People Daily and Business Daily. Create Facebook Ads, Google Ads or Bing Ads. But most importantly work hard on getting word of mouth to work for you (by providing excellent service) and capitalize on repeat business.Before You Go, Here Are Some Things Niabusiness Does for Businesses in Kenya. If You Need Them, Use the Contact Form Here to Get in Touch with Me.
Website / blog creation on the WordPress platform. Let Niabusiness help you create a blog or website for your business.
Content writing. Hire Niabusiness to write articles for your business – or blog posts, email campaigns, social media updates, lead magnets, ebooks, online course material or sales pages.
If you already have a domain & hosting for your business, hire Niabusiness to install WordPress (for a normal website / blog) or WooCommerce (if you want to add an online shop component to your site).
VA services. Outsource to Niabusiness tasks you’d rather not spend much time on as a business owner.
The articles I mentioned at the beginning, you can visit the links below to read them.
- Start a business in Kenya and profit from your ideas. But don’t if…
- How to start a business in Kenya and make money from various business ideas (PDF)
- 17 food business ideas in Kenya – start with 15000 Kenyan Shillings or less
To get the free Niabusiness ebook…
Click the link below to sign up via email. You will get a download link and start reading the guide immediately.
And of course share your ideas with me and other readers via the comments section below.
Share what business you want to venture in.
If you already own a business, share why you are looking for new ideas.
If you have any tips or strategies you’ve gleaned from other places, do share those as well.
It was good having you on my site.