16 Profitable Businesses in Kenya You Should Know

Kenyan businesses are a key driver of the economy and create employment for many people. The government is making efforts to deregulate business, improve competitiveness, and reduce regulatory burdens on small businesses through various reforms. This article provides a list of 16 profitable businesses in Kenya. These are businesses that require a capital of less than Ksh. 100,000 to start. Therefore, instead of tarmacking looking for a job after graduating, you can tap into one of these businesses to be your own boss.

16 profitable businesses in Kenya are:

  • Photography
  • Movie business
  • Blogging
  • Selling second-hand clothes
  • Salon and barbershop
  • Car wash
  • Internet business
  • Cleaning services
  • Poultry farming
  • Boiled eggs and smokies
  • Pedicure and manicure
  • Money transfer
  • Boda boda
  • Freelance writing
  • Travel agency
  • Cake making business

1. Photography

profitable businesses ideas in Kenya

Photography is one of the thriving profitable businesses in Kenya. Many people are looking for professional photographers to cover their events. Some of the major events going on in the country include baby showers, weddings, engagements, birthday parties, and couple gateways. With such events in the country, you can be sure that the demand for professional photographers is high.

To start a photography business in Kenya, you need good equipment. The basic equipment needed are a quality camera, good lenses, tripod, lighting, backdrops, and props. Additionally, having good camera skills will be an added advantage. The good news is that camera lenses are readily available in Kenya at affordable prices; you can even buy them online (Amazon or eBay). You also need to take care of your clients by offering quality services and giving out excellent photos.

2. Start a Movie Shop

Starting a movie shop in Kenya is a good business idea. It is the best place for people to come and watch movies together as a community since watching movies alone at home has become less popular due to the technology advancements.

Apart from people watching movies at the shop, customers will want these movies loaded on their laptops or flash disks to watch later. Most movie shops charge Ksh. 100 for this. Therefore, you only need 10 customers a day to make Ksh. 1000.

In order to set up a profitable movie shop, you need to rent out or buy DVDs of popular movies depending on what your customers say during market research. You should ensure that they are proper copies of original ones so as not to disappoint customers. For loading services, you will need a stable internet connection for easy download. To get many customers, locate your shop somewhere where it can be accessed by youths, like close to a university.

3. Blogging

Blogging is another profitable business in Kenya. To start out as a blogger, you will need a domain name. This is the name of your website or blog, for example, our domain name is prolatest.com. To get a domain name, just head over to any hosting service provide like Namecheap and use their name search services. Domain name search is a free service.

After securing your domain name, you will have to take it online by hosting. You can get a hosting service provider of your choice. Some of hosting companies include Kenya web experts, Namecheap, and Bluehost. You will pay for hosting as per the company you decide.

Thirdly, you will need to get a niche. The niche is what your blog website will talk about. In most cases, the niche should be determined by your passion. Some common blogging niches are love, politics, health, travel, and finance. Therefore, if you love traveling you can decide to blog about traveling.

The final step is monetizing your website. You definitely started the blog with the intention of earning from it. You can only earn from a blog if you monetize it. There are many website monetization strategies you can leverage on.

4. Selling second-hand clothes (Mitumba)

profitable businesses ideas in Kenya

Second-hand clothes are popular in Kenya. You will be better placed to start second-hand businesses in the country as this is an idea that never gets old. To be successful in this business, you need to know the people you want to target and their specific needs. For instance, if you want to target ladies, you should know that they love flashy (camera) outfits. Therefore, you should look for outfits like skinny jeans and pretty dresses when you go for your stock.

A good place to buy second-hand clothes in bulk is Gikomba. In Gikomba, you will buy second-hand clothes. For example, you can buy a pair of jeans at Ksh.100 and sell it at ksh. 300 making 200% profit. You can do your math and determine the profit you will be making at the end of the month.

5. Salon or Baber shop

Starting a salon or barbershop is among the profitable businesses in Kenya. What matters a lot for the success of this business is its location. For instance, if you are running a salon, look for a place where ladies flock like close to a college. The ladies (warembo) will always want trendy hairstyles. Thus, you should invest in learning modern trendy hairstyles needed by ladies. Remember, excellent services will advertise your business. It’s common to hear Kenyan ladies saying, “Aki uko smart, ulisukwa wapi ata mimi niende huko?” That’s how you land new clients.

For the start, your salon or barbershop will be receiving few customers. Thus, you don’t need a large space, just rent a small room, a few chairs, mirrors, and machines. You can do it just fine with a small space. In case your salon is big, you need to know that as the business grows, so will be the amount of money you’ll have to pay for rent and other expenses.

6. Car wash business

profitable business in Kenya

Many people in Kenya are buying cars. This is evidenced by the number of many cars on Kenyan roads. Imagine the many cars witnessed along Thika and Mombasa roads in the morning. With such a high number of cars in the country, it is only natural that the car wash businesses will be highly profitable. All you need to do is rent a space, buy some equipment and chemicals and start washing cars.

Most car owners in Kenya have this mentality that they rather pay someone to wash their cars than do it themselves. What does this mean for you as a car wash business owner? You will always have customers. If you decide to charge 200 shillings for every car, you can wash up to 20 cars on a good day to make Ksh. 4,000 a day. 

If you get dedicated staff so you can wash up to 100 cars a day, you are guaranteed to make Ksh. 20,000 daily. As an entrepreneur, you should get over the mentality that car washing is for the uneducated in society. Focus on making money.

7. Internet Business

Many Kenyans are realizing the importance of working online. Additionally, the lack of employment opportunities in the country is forcing graduates to work online. Thus, this provides a lucrative business opportunity for those who are open-minded. You can become an internet reseller in the country.

To start an internet business by being a reseller, you can partner with large internet providers in Kenya. Safaricom, Zuku, and Konnect are some of the internet providers you can partner with for an internet business. To start this business, you will need to acquire wireless internet equipment like router, receiver, broadband modem, network hard drive, and network printer. These are the equipment that will help you get the internet from your service provider and supply it to your customers.

8. Cleaning Services

Businesses are slowly moving away from hiring their own cleaners and are now contracting outside companies and individuals to get the work done. Thus, cleaning is among the profitable business ideas in Kenya. To get started, you will need reliable staff, cleaning equipment, and materials. It will take hard work and determination to feature among the best cleaning companies in Nairobi.

After acquiring all the necessary equipment, marketing is important for the success of a cleaning business. You can choose to work in a certain area or advertise your business on social media and online forums. You can leverage social media marketing using platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Alternatively, you can leverage the power of the internet by investing in websites. With your business website, you can utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and other online marketing strategies for small businesses to attract customers.

Also Read: How to easily start a profitable business

9. Poultry Farming

Poultry farming is among the untapped business ideas in Kenya. Most Kenyans love eating chicken (chips kuku). You can witness this in major towns like Nairobi where there are many restaurants serving chicken. The good thing is that these restaurants are always full. Therefore, your poultry farming business will always be a success if managed well as there is a ready market.

You can start a chicken rearing business that requires a starting capital of as low as Ksh. 20,000. As you increase the number of chickens, profits will also be increasing. Apart from selling the chicken, you will also be selling eggs.

10. Boiled eggs and smokies

Small businesses to start in Kenya

Boiled eggs and smokies is among profitable businesses in Kenya as it requires little capital. You will need a stall or open space for your trolley. Also, a small capital to buy the eggs. Eggs here are bought in bulk from suppliers who have them at cheaper rates. You will also need to acquire the skills used by egg vendors to crack eggs for customers.

To start this business, you need a capital of approximately Ksh. 5,000. One egg will be bought at 10 bob after which you will sell at 20 bob making 100 percent profit on each egg. On a good day, you can make a profit of Ksh. 1,000. In a month, you are assured of Ksh. 30,000 if you have a good location for the business.

11. Manicure and Pedicure

Kenyan women want to impress by looking beautiful. This provides a lucrative business opportunity as these ladies want their nails and face beautified. You can get the tools needed to start this business from a local supermarket.

You will need, nail polish, nail powder, and cream, eyebrow pencils, and eyeliners among others. To be successful, you need artistry skills on how you want your clients’ nails painted or face done. The artistry skills you employ will advertise your skills as ladies will be directing their friends to you. Purpose to establish your business in places where a high number of ladies hang out. With a starting capital of Ksh. 100,000, you are ready to start a manicure and pedicure business in Kenya.

12. Mobile Money Transfer and Bank Agent Services

Money transfer is a lucrative business in Kenya. Since the introduction and airtel money services, Kenyans have opted for mobile transfer services. Mobile money is easy and faster compared to bank money transfers.

Banks have also opted for mobile money services by introducing services like Co-op kwa jirani and equity agents. What do all these mean to you as an aspiring business owner? The earlier you tap into mobile money transfer services, the better for you. All you need is money in your account, a good location with high human traffic, and a secure shop.

The advantage of starting a money transfer shop is that you can sell other products. When you look in most mobile money transfer shops, you will see products like phone covers, chargers, headphones, and phones being sold.

13. Boda boda business

boda boda business in Kenya

The Boda boda sector is among the fastest-growing businesses in Kenya. Most Kenyans use boda bodas to carry on their daily errands. Every town and shopping center in the country has bod boda operators ferrying people. There are two approaches towards this business; either own a fleet of boda bodas and employ riders, or become a boda boda rider. If you want to ride your own boda boda, you can buy or rent one.

If you want to out by owning a fleet of boda bodas and employ riders, it’s advisable to get licensed riders for the safety of your motorcycles. They should possess relevant riding experience. Good motorcycles range from between Ksh. 70,000 to Ksh. 150,000.

14. Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is among the best ways to make money online in Kenya. There are two types of freelance writing practiced in Kenya: Academic writing and article writing.

Academic writing

Academic writers specialize in tutoring students and guiding them on how to handle their assignments and essays. Academic writers specialize in writing essays, research papers, dissertations, assignments, thesis, and other academic papers. As a writer, you will be given the topic to write on and agree on the payment with the client. You will be paid based on the agreed Cost Per Page (CPP). Clients pay as high as $10 a page, which translates to approximately Ksh. 1000 a page.

To become an academic writer, you should get trained then buy an academic writing account. You will need to invest from Ksh.50,000 to Ksh. 100,000 to get a good account.

Article writing

Article writing involves writing content for websites and companies. Article writers get their clients from companies like Upwork. You can as well search for clients from social media platforms like LinkedIn.

15. Travel Agency

Travel agencies are businesses that are involved in the planning of tours for individuals, groups and companies. They book flights, hotel reservations or bookings on cruises among other modes of transportations to help their clients travel locally or around the world easily. With many people in Kenya traveling to different destinations, this business has become very profitable.

A website can help you advertise your services and connect with prospective clients that are planning their travel itineraries. The potential client base is huge since many people need this type of service regularly. It is important to register under the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) if you want to operate within the country.

16. Cake Making Business

profitable businesses in Kenya

Cakes are in high demand in the country. People are having many functions like weddings, graduations, and birthdays which all require cakes. The industry is growing due to the increased demand for cakes. If you are good at baking, this can be a great business idea in Kenya.

To attract more customers, you should have a solid online presence. On top of this, you should be able to provide different cake designs as per the requests of customers. Starting a cake-making business will require a budget of about Ksh. 80,000.

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