Is it even possible to find a business to start with 20k in Kenya? The answer is a loud yes.
As they say in business, it is not your capital that determines your success but the effort you put your into work.
If you have been relentlessly searching for a job with minimal success or you are employed but looking for a way to increase your income, starting a business is a good idea.
This list will come in handy if you have been wondering which is the most profitable business to start in Kenya or how much do you need when starting a business in Kenya.
Below is a list of ideas you should consider if you are looking for a business to start with 20k in Kenya.
Small And Profitable Business To Start With 20k In Kenya
1. Sell Second Hand Clothes
Second-hand clothes or mitumba, as it is commonly called, continues to be among the most lucrative businesses in Kenya. Even in the tiniest of towns in the country, you will find enough young people who are successfully running this business.
The secret of making it in this business is specializing in certain clothes. You can choose to sell ladies dresses, kids’ clothes, mens’ wear, shoes, bags, or household items like pots and pans and toys.
With 20,000, you can specialize further and provide, say, ladies chiffon tops. Start by going to Gikomba, where second-hand clothes bales are open and select the best for sale from a few sellers.
The best tops will cost between 100-200 wholesale, and you can sell each for 500 shillings and above. Imagine how much stock you will get with just 20,000 shillings.
2. Import Unique Items from China
With the growth of the internet, the world has turned into a global village. Today, you can import items from China without leaving your house.
Sites like Alibaba have thousands of products you can sell in Kenya. There are also enough shipping companies that will deliver your items to your doorstep.
Items like toys will cost anywhere between 1-2 dollars on Alibaba, and you can sell these for 600 or more locally. All you need to make it in this business is a reliable supplier, a dependable shipping company, and an eye for unique items.
If you have no idea what to sell, check various groups on social media and see what products are in high demand. Once you have decided on what to sell, go to Alibaba and check available suppliers.
Always buy from suppliers who are highly rated and have sold a good number of similar products across the globe. Fortunately, all this information is easily visible from the Alibaba website.
3. Pedicure/ Manicure Business
Nail business is big business across the globe, and things are just picking up here in Kenya. This can only mean that now would be a good time to join the market.
Starting a manicure business doesn’t have to cost much. All you need is a manicure set, a variety of nail polishes, and UV drying light. You can get all these for 15,000 or less.
Start by doing house calls and slowly build your client base. Once you are established and have made enough profits from your business, you can choose to open a nail parlor.
In the nail business or any other beauty-related business, for that matter, the quality of your services will determine how successful you are. Offer premium services and an outstanding customer experience, and you will be booked many weeks in advance.
4. Selling Fruits and Fresh Juice
People are becoming more aware and knowledgeable on the health benefits of fruits in a diet. Fruit sellers across the country continue to enjoy high profits from their business by offering their customers a variety of juicy and healthy fruits.
Freshly squeezed juice and fruit salads are great additions to any fruits business. At least people looking for a healthy bite or refreshing drink can turn into these healthy options.
When dealing with fruits, always go for the freshest and juiciest options. These may cost more, but you want your stock to attract customers from miles away.
If making fruit salad and fresh juice, remember to keep your shop clean at all times. Proper hygiene should be maintained, and your products should be put into attractive packaging.
5. Chips, Chapo, Mandazi, or Smokie Business
If you have a passion for cooking and you are looking for a business to start with 20k in Kenya, you should consider selling chips, chapati, or smokies in your neighborhood. These are fast-moving food items, and they always have a ready market.
If you can find somewhere to set a roadside kiosk in a busy neighborhood, the better. You can build a basic kiosk or just buy a big umbrella to shield you and your wares from the element.
A determined person can do all these businesses at the same time. Wake up early to make Mandazi and Smokies for those looking for breakfast and cook chips and chapati for the customers looking for lunch and supper.
Buying a meko, cooking equipment and a display unit will not even cost you 20,000. Start small, and you can look for a small restaurant as your client base expands. This business does well in urban areas and in towns with huge human traffic.
6. Sell Ice-cream In Your Area
The Ice-cream business is good if you live near a school. Just know when the kids break for lunch and be there on time.
You can also sell in the evenings when the children are going home. On weekends, take your ice-cream business to the park or fields around estates where many children play.
You do not need ice-cream-making skills to get into this business. The likes of Lyons in Baba Dogo make ice cream for people in this business.
You can also buy a popsicle machine and make ice pops from your kitchen.
Since this business will not do very well in the cold months, you can look for another business to supplement it. You can put up a popcorn stand or sell any other hot snack when it gets cold.
7. Open an online Shop with Jumia, Skygarden, & Kilimall
If you are tech-savvy and want to start an online business in Kenya, an online shop is a good idea. Just search for the top-selling products on these platforms, research where to source them before setting up a shop.
You do not need to buy stock while selling online, which makes it possible for you to add hundreds of products to your shop. As long as the products are readily available in Kamukunji and Dubois, you are good to go.
The only downside with this business is that these platforms only accept vendors from Nairobi since they do not have drop-off points in other regions. Check here for more online opportunities in Kenya
8. Start an Errands Business
Most people only think about selling goods when looking at small business ideas. However, the service industry has the best untapped business ideas in Kenya.
Running errands is one of those businesses.
Imagine all the online sellers looking for someone to deliver products to their customers. What about the shop owners who have many deliveries and little time to do them all?
Approach three or so people and tell them about your services. As long as you are trustworthy, your customers will keep referring you to others.
The only thing you need to spend on when starting your delivery business is business cards and possibly some comfortable shoes and clothes. This job involves a lot of walking, but if you are persistent, your efforts will be rewarded.
9. Open a movie shop
This is another great business idea in Kenya for those living in highly populated areas. It is also one of the easiest businesses to start.
With just a desktop, internet, and a small room, you can launch your business. Go for EX-UK desktops that cost between 10,000-15,000 shillings. The remaining amount can cater for rent and small modifications.
If you market your movie shop well and provide the entertainment people are looking for, you will be making anything between 2,000-3000 bob within a short time.
10. Event Organizing Business
This list of small-scale business ideas in Kenya cannot be complete without mentioning event organizing. Many people think you must have hundreds of thousands to start this business. This cannot be further from the truth.
Start by supplying chairs for those small events in your village. One plastic chair will cost you about 600 shillings, so with 20,000 bob, you can buy over 30 chairs at once.
You can also rent tents and provide them together with your chairs. Add more chairs and tents as your business grows.
There are hundreds of ideas if you are looking for a business to start with 20k in Kenya. You just need to do some market research and know which of these businesses would work well in your area.
If you are determined and ready to put in the work needed for success, your business will reward you handsomely. You just have to remember that success takes time and effort.
Some of the small business ideas in Kenya highlighted above require capital of less than 20,000. Whatever amount you have, just start and scale up with time.