19 Small Business Ideas For Kenyan Millennials (Updated for 2022)

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Are you searching for the best small business ideas that you can start with as little as KES – 1000 in 2022?

Or should I assume that you’re just looking for an easy way to quit your boring job; work on your own terms and become rich doing what you love!

Whatever your inspiration, there are plenty of small business ideas to choose from.

And in this list, we explore just about every proven option that has worked for entrepreneurs in the past.

Take my parents for instance.

Did you know that they have never taken any formal jobs?

Yet they fed us, clothed us, educated us, and bought a property that we are soon to inherit. A family of 10 – 7 boys and 3 girls.

Then you would ask, what businesses did they do to become successful?

And what are they doing now?

You would be surprised that they were small-scale fish sellers in the ’80s.

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They bought fresh fish from lake Victoria, prepared them, and sold them in retail.

When the business got saturated and they weren’t making as much profits as they did at inception; my mother moved to grocery sales and my dad to water vending.

Except, he wasn’t using the water to go vending machines or the Aquafina distilled water vending kiosks. Rather, he pulled a water vending cart with at least 12 black jerrycans.

Each containing 30 liters.

His profit margins were good. He bought 30 liters of water for a shilling and sold for 5 or more depending on water availability and shortages.

I wonder where he learned economics.

That’s way back in the ’90s.

Form a Cart Puller to a Car Owner Doing Odd Businesses in Kenya

Need I mention that after a few years he tweaked his business model.

And instead of pulling carts for long distances serving thousands of residents daily; he used his profits to open water vending kiosk franchises.

He became a water vending kiosk network owner, a homeowner, and a rich man in his right.

His proof of success?

In the mid 90’s he bought his dream car. Ford Anglia.

Quite an interesting story, right?

A young uneducated man making it in Africa.

You too could make it.

Just remember, it begins with an idea: – a simple business idea.

Speaking of which, here are 19 small business ideas that you can implement to start your own journey to success.

It doesn’t matter that you have a degree in business management or not; you have the capital to start a business or not.

As a matter of fact, you can just take a loan of as little as Ksh. 1,000. Trade with it, make money, and repay within a month. Because sometimes $10 is all you need to start.

19 Best Small Business Ideas For Young People in Kenya 

1. Start Baking Cakes 

Earlier in January, I wrote a piece in our weekly segment – Joon Business Ideas  – focusing on how to start a small Bakery in Kenya to earn at least KES 2,000 daily.

I listed everything that a beginner needs to know about this venture and even gave out some tips on where to get the baking materials for animated cakes.

Suffice it to say that there is a ready market for bakery products.

2. Start Doing Online Sales And Marketing 

Other than the fact that African parents can now take care of their grown children: – feed, educate, clothe, and shelter them until they (children) are 40 years old; do you know what else is interesting about this generation?

Selling products you don’t own.

This is specifically made possible through multi-level marketing companies (whose products or services you can sell to earn commissions).

Or companies with affiliate marketing programs.

You don’t however need to confine yourself to these commission limits.

You can also create your own products and sell them for better profits.

For example: – you can write your own eBook, start your own online masterclasses on topics you well understand, or sell custom Maasai jewels to make money.

Each of these small business ideas doesn’t cost more than Ksh. 1,000 to start.

3. Become a Blogger 

Another popular way to make so much money in this generation is by becoming a blogger.

A word of caution though, you may never make a dime from it if you are not committed to creating better content frequently.

Another thing, it will take a while to make money doing it.

But this differs by blogger preparedness and knowledge of monetization.

Speaking of which, my first payment from blogging was $9.5 and it came just after a week of creating the blog.

Some people take a few months, others years but when they start making money online, not Neil Patel’s $381,772 monthly earnings or Pritam Nagrale’s $ 1.14K monthly earnings come close to their paychecks.

4. Become a Creative Artist For Just About Anything  

This could be in garment repair, tailoring, fashion design, pencil artistry, poetry, name it.

And if you need any assurance on if you can make money off such gigs then think about Collins ThinkTank Okello – Remember him?

The pencil artist who drew President Uhuru Kenyatta on Army regalia; rose to fame and created a now successful art business from his inexperience and creative experiments.

If that’s not enough reason to start this gig;

Then think about Kysh Roberts the RNB artist from Kisumu and a co-founder of Kisumu fashion week — a show that now attracts thousands of participants and investors from all over Africa to celebrate fashion in Kisumu.

Happens every year.

And don’t forget my very own college friend Sherlin who started the design of her card business in school over Valentine and is now in the process of creating her own printing press.

My point is, it doesn’t matter which creative idea you have – if you give it life it will thrive.

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5. Start Writing From Home

The most interesting part about this small business idea is, there is an infinite market for hustles which range from writing blogging content to writing resumes, short stories, ghostwriting, business plans, copywriting — name it.

The gist of this gig is, you can even earn as an inexperienced writer.

Personally, I earned my first $60 writing 150-word articles about the weather for a south American blog – that’s way back in 2012.

Later I wrote controversial pieces for escort blogs in the UK, then freelance websites (iWriter, Upwork, Fiver, and Freelancer).

I have since gone niche with personal finance and Travel (Read how I earn $200 regularly as a freelance travel writer)

Because other than writing about blogging itself, which other niche pays better?

Small businesses to start in Kenya

6. Start Businesses That Revolve Around Body And Beauty 

I have previously written about how anyone can start a beauty shop with as little as KES 2,000 to make at least KES 5,000 a day.

It goes without saying that in order to however achieve that much profits daily you will need to go rogue on marketing.

Other body and beauty businesses that you can also start in the space to earn a decent living include: –

  • Making and Selling handmade soaps
  • Selling beauty treatment products alongside doing tattoo
  • And body piercing services.

7. Become a Hair Stylist 

If you have skills in hairstyling, treatment, and maintenance; start a hairstyling salon.

This is one of the businesses that is always thriving and should earn you a decent living if you do it well.

An upside to it is if you are so good at it; you will get more clients referred by satisfied clients.

The downside is, if you mess up a single client, their bad mouth could slow your business faster than you built it.

8. Start a Health and Fitness Business 

Again, this could revolve around what you already like doing.

For example: –  if you like going to the gym and have the skill to train others to become fit; you could open your own space and become the gym instructor.

You can insist on monthly subscriptions or just ask for payment per session.

This is the model used in Kisumu Kenya (Ksh. 50 per session).

The alternative to instructing fitness fanatics is to become a sports coach, yoga, and aerobics instructor in Nairobi or wherever.

9. Start a Mini Baby Care in Your Guest Room

Other small business ideas that you can do at home include creche services, babysitting, and renting out prams.

Besides buying the prams, you will also need to invest in comfortable beds for children, play kits, and other kid stuff necessary to run your business.

If you have a bigger place then you could also start Douala and postnatal caregiving services for the rich women of Nairobi and Mombasa

10. Become a Forex  or Options Trader 

Forex trading is the only business that you can start in this generation without ever investing a coin.

This is because most Forex brokers now give real cash bonuses for new account traders who wish to make money online.

The other advantage is, all options and Forex brokers also give training to traders (with demo accounts) on real market conditions — to help you begin trading.

The downside is, if you trade and lose the bonuses, you will have to deposit at least $10 to begin trading again.

But think of that little investment as your small cost of running the business.

Personally, I once earned Ksh. 502,000 trading options with Olymp Trade.

11. Start a Real Estate Agency

Other small business ideas that most people ignore yet are just as profitable as the rest are in the real estate space.

You could start by creating a web listing of rental houses.

If you get clients who are interested to view the properties in your list, charge them a fixed viewing fee.

If they like the property up-sell more of your services.

Think of moving services!

Isn’t it obvious that they’d want to move if they like the house?

Recommend your moving services. And if the house is dirty and needs cleaning, agree with them to clean at a fee.

12. Become A Software Developer 

If you have already graduated from the university with perfect skills in software development; don’t waste your youth searching for a job.

Instead, create jobs for yourself and others by starting your own business.

Start developing apps and software.

Need I mention that there is a huge demand for network analysis software, accounting software, security analysis software, and BI analyst software?

Start making money off what you know.

Top Small Business Ideas For Millennial 

Any millennial who would rather start his own business than search for a job can try out these small business ideas.

Most of them require skill, dexterity, passion, and patience.

Remember, most startups take up to 3 years to actually become profitable.

If you have the capability to hold your horses that long then try these small business ideas for teens.

13. Make and Sell Handcrafted Gifts.

These could be bags, clothes, rags, crafted wood. Anything.

Just make anything and sell for profits.

You can sell on gift sites or on your own social platforms.

14. Sell Eggs and Smokies.

This business does not require so much capital. Plus you will be using things you already own in your household to start.

For example, you will not buy a sufuria for boiling eggs because this is something you already own.

Use that Ksh. 1,000 capital directly in the business to stock eggs and smokies for your business.

15. Become a Photographer.

This is another business that any millennial with a phone can do.

Just walk around taking photos of people (with their consent), yourself, or anything rustic or elegant and sell on stock photo sites.

16. Offer Janitorial Services 

More than ever, there is a need for frequent cleaning services in Kenya.

This is because of the mushrooming of so many startups in major malls and business centers in Kenya.

Note that anyone can take advantage of these small business ideas.

And for millennials who didn’t want to get their hands dirty; do what you do best. Sign the contract then outsource the job.

17. YouTube Videos 

One of the greatest online sensations of making money online is through sharing funny, educational, promotional, or motivational videos.

According to YouTube, there are 1.3 Billion people waiting to watch new videos daily.

You can monetize your channel with Adsense and earn.

Or work with cooperates to make money.

18. Offer Security Services 

So you think becoming rich is hard?

If so then it is because I haven’t told you a story about a friend of mine who lived in the village his entire life.

He wished he’d one day go to Kisumu town but never got anyone to take him there.

Suffice it to say that he was an Orphan.

The story goes that one day when there was a funeral in the Village.

He heard someone mention that the body was brought from Kisumu and he decided that since the vehicle which had come with the funeral procession was going back empty; he’d take a free lift to town.

It’s until they got to Kisumu that he realized – he’d come to nothingness.

No relatives, no friends, no money, and no food.

He became a street boy and started begging in the streets of Kisumu.

Got a few bucks which he then used to purchase and sell sweets to passengers at the bus terminus.

A few points to note 

There is a great chance that he would have stayed in the village and continued to be fed by the granny. But he didn’t.

Instead, he decided to come to the big city and suffer like a man should  🙄

Again there is a likelihood that when he came to Kisumu and became a street boy he would have continued to beg and to live on peanuts in the streets. But again he didn’t. He started his small business.

As if that is not enough, he spent his free time studying security breaches in the city, and when he’d sold so many sweets and saved enough money to start his own security company; he rode on the idea.

Today he owns one of the largest security agencies in Western Kenya – selling all sorts of security equipment and gadgets. JMAX Security.

I asked his advice for anyone who’d like to start a similar business and he said, “it doesn’t need so much money to start – you can always drop-ship but you will need to work hard on getting clients to sell to.”

And such is business.

Start — try different products –and– keep trying until you get your hands on what works.

19. Do Building Maintenance 

If there is any money in business then there is more in starting and operating a construction company, building maintenance, and all that goes into real estate.

Start a business in building maintenance to make your money in 2022.

Kenn Omollo is an investment writer and a business management consultant at Joon Online Limited. Reach him at - kenn@joon.co.ke

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