Kenya is a place where everybody has a side hustle. However, many obstacles prevent people from taking that next step to making that hustle a profitable business. It is important to pick your hustle wisely and stay the course. In this article, we will run down the most lucrative business ideas in Kenya. These business ideas are not only tried and tested but have proven to be very profitable.
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You don’t have to be extremely wealthy to start a business. The business ideas in this article cover ventures that require substantial or even no starting capital. If you know what you’re doing, you’ll be generating your income within a few months or even next week.
Most lucrative business ideas in Kenya
1. Interior designing
Becoming an interior designer is one of the most lucrative business idea in Kenya. If you enjoy decorating rooms and arranging furniture, then this can be an ideal side hustle or a full time business for you. As Kenya is currently developing, there is a growing need for people with an eye for beautiful design to assist property owners make inform decision in creating magic with interior design.
How to become an Interior Designer
- Have a good interest in interior design: having a good taste and interest for beautiful design is a big asset if you want to be a successful interior designer.
- Network and find a mentor: Try and discover those who are currently doing the business, engage with them and find a mentor you can partner with. Also, it important to network with Architects (though this is good when you have build your portfolio, so that they can recommend you to property owners)
- Start building a portfolio: You can start small, from the one you do with your mentor, then assisting your friends, and family.
- Make it Official: There are many courses on Interior Design that can help you strengthen your skill and also helps in networking.
2. Food Business
Food is a basic necessity of life; whether you are dealing in raw material or you are operating a canteen, people will patronize you. If you have an interest in making people happy, you can research on food items that are in low supply in your community and try and find out how you can fill the gap. In filling the gap you will make money and also make people happy.
I have a friend who has a chain of food canteen in almost all the top University in Kenya; her food is cheap and is of high quality and she is making a whole lot of profit. You can start plans in starting your own if you have an interest in food business.
Read: How to Start a food service business in Africa; the Paul Kihiko story
Kenya’s economy relies heavily on agriculture. It accounts for around 30% of Kenya’s GDP and employs more than 40% of the country’s workers. Agribusinesses are extremely profitable since they have a low entrance barrier and a large potential for growth with a minimal initial capital commitment.
Agroforestry, crop production, and livestock farming are among Kenya’s most profitable agribusiness idea. This is especially beneficial if you reside or have access to a rural location with a bit of land. Agribusinesses’ can earn as much as KES 120K per month, and small businesses can make large profits in the right market.
4. Cosmetics Business in Kenya
With a multi-billion dollar enterprise worldwide, the beauty industry has found its way into the Kenyan spirit of entrepreneurship. Cosmetics, such as nail polish, skin and hair care products and make-up, are one of the most lucrative business idea in Kenya. Companies such as Bu.ke (‘Buy Kenya’) began as a small local business and now are one of the leading organic cosmetic brands in Kenya.
You could also provide beauty services like manicures, pedicures, and makeup. All you need in this line of business are some cosmetics and possible space for a shop when the business grows. The initial investment is worth it especially if you go a step further and manufacture your natural products. Cosmetics businesses thrive in cities like Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu, where a large number of consumers can afford your services or products. Although the initial investment can range from KES 50K to KES 500K, businesses have reported making anywhere from KES 5K to 15K per day.
5. Event Planning/Coordinating
If you’re looking for a part-time gig that won’t conflict with your 9-to-5 job, then event management is a great option. The majority of events, such as birthdays and weddings, take place outside of normal working hours and days. Events typically fall on weekends and holidays, so when you’re not working, you have a great opportunity to work as an event planner and earn some additional cash. Event planning entails a wide range of services, including:
- Tent hire
- Collaborating with subcontractors
This business has a lot of earning potential depending on how much you charge per event and how many events you have per month. Depending on the size and nature of the event, you could earn up to KES 50K+.
You might begin your career by organizing gatherings for friends or acquaintances. If you’re good, the news will get around quickly, and before you know it, you won’t have any free time because all of your weekends will be filled. You can then start hiring people to help you grow your business.
6. Flip motorbikes
The ‘Boda Boda’ trade is all the rage in Kenya these days. Motorcycles are in increased demand, however, because the majority of ‘boda boda’ operators are low-wage workers, they will most likely be shopping for inexpensive bikes. Flipping motorcycles gives a tremendous possibility for you to generate income in Kenya.
To begin, you’ll need some cash; anything between KES 100K and KES 500K, depending on the model of motorcycle you wish to flip. The next step is to choose a reliable used motorcycle dealer. You can partner with a motorcycle finance company that can provide you with motorcycles that have been seized from borrowers who have defaulted on their loans. Repair the bike, make it look nice and resell it for a little more money. For example, if you bought for KES 50K, you may sell for KES 60K or KES 70K. You may also need a car to carry the bikes if you are buying from one town and selling in another.
7. Become a Mobile money transfer agent
Money transfer services are one of Kenya’s most successful business concepts. M-Pesa is the most widely used money transfer service. You will make a lot of money if you open an M-Pesa agent store alongside other local bank agencies. The more transactions you complete per day, the more money you make.
When deciding where to locate your agency, identify the high-traffic sites within your area. The optimum location for this business is near higher education institutions, bus stops, settlement regions, and any other densely inhabited area. What’s more, because you may work in a booth, this business doesn’t require much space, making it one of the most successful businesses to start with as much as KES 200K.
8. Start a Blog
What starts as a long journal post about the crazy week you had, can eventually become your retirement fund. Blogging has quickly become one of the most lucrative business ideas in Kenya today. Bloggers today can make anywhere from KES 1K to KES 50K+ in Kenya, but it depends on your niche, your monetization strategy and your marketing plan.
Bloggers earn money in a variety of ways, including paid partnerships, product sales, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts and many others. High-end bloggers have invested months, if not, years building their platforms. While blogging is an avenue to being independent and self-employed, it does require quite a bit of groundwork.
It only takes a few hours and a small amount of money to get started with a blog. You need to consider the costs of domain registration & website hosting. With time and patience, this side hustle can create a whole new career for you based on your brand.
9. Become a Freelancer
This is a low-investment business, mostly because you are investing in skills that you already have or want to develop. Freelancers work on a contract basis with clients they choose. This means that freelance work can be done part-time and could be a nice safety net when making a transition to starting your own business. There is a growing demand for freelance work, especially online in different fields of expertise including:
- Data Entry
- Web Design
- Social Media Management
- Computer Programming
This might be a great side business to make additional money in Kenya depending on what you choose to do. How much you earn is dependent on your rate but it is important to remain competitive. Freelancing might best be suited for students in Kenya trying to build on their skillset or young professionals looking to invest more in their skills and interests.
Getting started is instantaneous. There are online platforms such as Freelancer or Upwork that can help you get started. And if working from home is not your preference, Workable and other remote work offices are becoming more common and affordable in Nairobi.
Read: Top Ways to Make Money Online in 2022
10. Become an Online/Offline Tutor
Similar to freelancing, if you have a skill or knowledge that people want to have or learn more about, you can coach them one-on-one and get paid for it.
When starting an online or in-person tutoring business consider your target clientele. There is a high demand for academic and high school tutors in Kenya. Tutoring in subjects taught by curriculums such as IGCSE, A-Level and International Baccalaureate tend to be more profitable because these curriculums are often only taught in private schools.
You can tutor online or in-person, at a client’s home, rent a workspace or even make use of your own home. But make sure to keep it professional. The most important thing to do is establish a good relationship with students. Most tutors have excellent verbal and written communication skills and can work well with their students. They are often required to break down complex concepts into simple steps while being patient and listening to their students’ needs.
On average, tutors in Kenya can make anywhere from KES500 to KES2500 per hour. The key to making this business profitable is networking and making sure you have the right credentials. You can also hire other tutors who specialize in different subjects to expand your business’s reach.
11. Social Media Content Creator
Nairobi has become a technical hub for East Africa and the growing entertainment and media industry has opened up multiple work opportunities. YouTube is helpful for more than just re-watching highlights from your favorite show.
Read: How to Make Money on Social Media
Making money from YouTube videos and social media content is lucrative if the content is compelling enough to keep users engaged. Comedy sketches, makeup tutorials, and sharing lessons on many subjects such as food and lifestyle, are all examples of material that do well in the Kenyan market. It’s critical to pick a niche that you’re enthusiastic about and can produce content for regularly.
Getting started is simple in principle. 1) Create a free YouTube channel account, 2) Post a video or audio content onto your channel. Generating revenue on YouTube, however, takes more time and effort. Creators only start profiting from it when they achieve around 10K followers. Often they also have a large following on other social media platforms such as Instagram and Tik Tok. On a YouTube salary in Kenya, a creator can average KES 7K per 100K subscribers or KES100K per 1 million views. In general, content creators can start making anywhere from KES100 to KES200 per 1K subscribers.
12. Operate an AirBnB
As side hustles go, this might be the newest business trend. Kenya has always been a tourism hotspot and the industry is finally on the bounce back since the pandemic. Especially for individuals with well-furnished houses in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and other major towns this could be the perfect opportunity to work with that which you have but is also underutilized. Operating a homestay business involves renting out your spare room or even an entire home to a guest. The service is popular among young travelers as it is typically much cheaper than a hotel.
To get started, you need to list your house on Airbnb for viewing by travelers seeking short to medium-term lodging. Travelers that are interested in your property contact you directly through the Airbnb platform and payment is also secured through the site. Airbnb charges a 3% booking fee and a 14% service fee to guests. According to some AirBnB entrepreneurs in Nairobi they are earning over KES 100K per month simply by renting out their homes.
Final Thoughts on the most Lucrative Business Ideas in Kenya
There are many other lucrative business ideas in Kenya: follow your passion, find a problem in your community and provide a solution.