19 Best Small Business Ideas to Pursue In Kisumu in 2022

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Kisumu is the third-largest city in Kenya, and like Nairobi and Mombasa, it has thousands of small business ideas that have been tried, tested, and are just as profitable as Kenya Power and Safaricom businesses.

With a population of 750,000 (plus) people, and an environment good for business (except during elections… hahaha), expect to get the largest market share for any business you start here.

Even better, no matter how small your capital is, there is always an opportunity for you to start a business in Kisumu and to grow to profitability.

That said, here’s a list of small business ideas to consider benchmarking if you are thinking of starting a small business in Kisumu.

19 Small Businesses Ideas to Consider Pursuing in Kisumu, Kenya.

1.  Mitumba business. 

Selling second-hand clothes is a very good opportunity for anyone who wants to venture into business with little capital.

Ideally, mitumba bales in Kisumu go for as little as Ksh. 6,500 and if you get a quality bale for this price, you can double or even triple your capital in a day.

Do the math. A standard bale has about 110 clothes, it goes for Ksh. 6,500 and the clothes are so quality that you can price a piece at Ksh. 150 wholesale.

If you sell everything, that’s a cool Ksh. 16,500. All in a day’s work.

2. Gaming Arcade (play station).

The play station business is another great small business idea to consider trying in Kisumu.

Young people spend hours gaming. And it’s every day.

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Interestingly, you do not require any skill at all to run this kind of business.

All you need is a good strategic location and the ability to keep up with the trends.

The very recent PS is the play station 5 going for around Ksh. 28,500.

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Small profitable businesses to start in Kisumu

If you ask me, this is a worthy investment as it is easy to break even fast, blend with other businesses (like for movies, cyber, and mpesa) and it is already working for people doing it in the county.

Do not invest blindly, benchmark with gaming arcades already in Kisumu to learn more about involved licenses and laws before jumping in.

3. Photocopy and printing business.

For every admission to schools, interviews, or other formal jobs in Kisumu, paperwork is required.

This means cyber services are still much needed in the county.

You could start your photocopy bureau with printing, typing, laminating, scanning, and other cyber services and earn while running your business.

To start though, you will need to have a photocopier cum printer and scanner; a laminating machine, a paper cutter, a computer, an office desk, client chairs, and a little under 10,000 shillings for office space in town.

Fortunately, all these machines won’t cost you anything above 100,000 shillings.

Cost breakdown for a photocopy bureau with computer services. 

  1. A complete Intel desktop – 160 GB, 2 GB RAM, Pentium (R) Dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM, 160 GB storage costs Ksh. 11,000 in Kisumu.
  2. HP Color Laser-jet Pro MFP M176n Multi-function Color Printer costs – 30,000 shillings.

  3. Paper cutter – 1,700 shillings.
  4. Laminator – 5,000 shillings.
  5. Office desk – 16,000 shillings.

4. Cosmetics Business. 

Ladies nowadays are so into makeup and this is an opportunity that you can focus on in Kisumu.  

The best part, all of them are impulse buyers especially when it comes to new beauty products.

And they will buy anything that can boost their buts, hips, breasts, remove wrinkles or lighten their skin.

Interestingly,  starting a cosmetics store in Kisumu require less capital than starting a consulting business would.

Here’s a breakdown of fast-moving cosmetic products to stock in Kisumu. 

  • Makeup and Skin Care Products.
  • Quality Hair extensions.
  • Haircare Products.
  • Beauty Accessories.
  • Body lotion.
  • Conditioners.
  • Relaxers.
  • Deo sprays.
  • Hair lotions, food, and sprays.
  • Srub.
  • Soap.
  • Beads.
  • Artificial Nails.
  • Removers.
  • Perfumes.

5. Sell Fruits in Kisumu.

Did I already mention that the people of this great city love fruits? Yes, fruits like watermelon, oranges, pineapple, apples, and mangoes are hotcakes here.

Whether as salad, whole fruit, or blend to juice, they will buy.

It helps if you get a busy place in town or if you can deliver to offices.

6.  Start your fish-selling business in Kisumu.

Who doesn’t know Kisumu for fish?

Kisumu is well known for fish and you can find fish at cheap prices here (specifically around the beaches) than anywhere else in the country.

The secrete to succeeding in the Kisumu fish business though is to sell a varied smorgasbord of fresh fish – all the time – fried, wet fry, grilled fish, poached fish, steamed fish, broiled fish, baked fish.

People love good food and when you take your time to prepare it, they will keep coming back.

Plus, since many people are already selling fish in Kisumu, selling a variety will both be a competitive advantage to your business, a customer acquisition strategy as well as a customer retention strategy (of course if your food is well prepared).

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7.   Start an electronic shop in Kisumu.

If you have good capital, a big ego, and the zeal and vigor to start your own successful business then why not start your own electronics shop in Kisumu?

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You can partner with major brands like Sony, Samsung, Ramtons, LG, Hotpoint to sell their products exclusively or you can make it a general electronic store dealing in everything.

For a general electronics store though, consider getting your merchandise cheaply from Kampala or importing from the manufacturers direct.

Ksh. 500,000 or more would be befitting for the business.

8. popcorn selling.

Popcorn selling is one of the small business ideas that can thrive in Kisumu.

The main thing to check in this kind of business is the location – places like the supermarkets, where there are children and women and you need to be creative in the packaging.

The popcorn machine goes at 24,000 Shillings at jumia.  a packet of popcorn goes between 10 shillings – 50 shillings.

Consider bringing different popcorn mixes and flavors into the market to claim and retain a larger market share.

For example, you can do: –

  • Savory Spice Mix.
  • Popcorn Drop Cookies.
  • Nut and Popcorn Trail Mix.
  • Popcorn Parmesan Crisps.
  • Popcorn Crumble.

Among other unexpected flavors and mixes.

9. Selling shoes.

Selling shoes is a business idea that targets everyone but the largest market share is with the shoe fanatics.

You can start small by only selling cheap women’s shoes and scale later when your customer base has grown.

Ideally, most people selling shoes in Kisumu get them from Kampala Uganda for a fraction of the retail price in Kisumu.

For example, doll shoes which retail for Ksh. 500 in Kisumu are largely bought at Ksh. 200 or 250 in Uganda.

Other shoes which are sold cheaply in Uganda but can make you double the cost price are: –

  • Ankle boot. army boots. athletic shoes.
  • Deck shoes. dress shoes.
  • Elevator shoes. espadrilles.
  • Figure skates. flip-flops.
  • Galoshes. golf shoes. gumboots.
  • Heels. high heels. high-top sneakers. hiking boots.
  • Boyfriend shoes.
  • Wedge.

Among other shoes for men, women, and children.

10. Barbershop.

Kisumu people are so much into the short hair business.

Ladies want fancy short styles and males are also coming up with new cuts daily.

If you ask me, a barbershop is one of those small businesses that you can decide to venture in and it will never disappoint.

The location of the shop is very key and how you get to retain your customers is only by good services.

11. Laundry services.

You can decide to wash and iron people’s clothes at an agreed price in Kisumu.

This kind of business does not require any starting capital. You only need to properly market yourself in order to get more clients.

12. Private tutor.

This is a small business idea that you can start in Kisumu as it does not require capital.

To become a private tutor in Kisumu, you’ll only need to have skills to handle children and expertise in the different subjects.

Proper tutoring gets you referrals and you get to have more clients thus steady cash inflow.

13. Catering services.

You can market yourself and get opportunities at birthday parties, baby showers, or surprise parties.

By preparing good food often and maintaining good hygiene, you will get continuous referrals to grow your business.

14. Car wash.

The car washing business is a business idea that you can venture into as there are a lot of vehicles in Kisumu but very few car wash centers in most regions.

Ideally, car washing centers in Kisumu charge between Ksh. 50 for motorcycles, 200 or more for salon cars, and up to Ksh. 3,000 for heavy commercial vehicles.

15. House Cleaning.

Houses need to be cleaned and a lot of people tend to be busy over the week.

So, why not make use of this opportunity and clean for them their houses and you get paid?

The best target market for such a business though is homeowners in places like Milimani, Grace Ogot among other estates for rich people.

16. Soap-making business.

Soap is the most popularly used commodity worldwide.

The homemade soap is very cheap and people are always willing to take cheap things with high quality.

You can start a small manual firm with as little as Ksh 5,000.

Ideally, soap making business in Kisumu has a profitability ratio of 2:1 meaning for every 2 shillings invested in production you will get 1 shilling profit

17. Selling cereals.

You can never go wrong with the food business anywhere.

Everyone needs to eat and the escalating rate of rural to urban migration means more new mouths to feed every day.

This is one of the business ideas you can start with less than 20,000 shillings and grow to immense profitability.

Start by selling beans, rice, different flour, and nuts.

18. Become a salon owner.

Owning a salon does not require much.

You need to look for a strategic place for your salon and have good marketing strategies.

For starters, have a blow-dry machine, a mirror, a stall, and other much-needed saloon equipment.

If you have more capital to invest, consider selling beauty products too.

19. Event organizer.

Event organizing is another interesting business idea to pursue in Kisumu.

While there are thousands of events organizers in the city already, most of them aren’t as professional and are easy to beat in the game.

To get started you only need some industry knowledge, capital which can’t be more or less than Ksh. 100,000, licenses and business permits.

If you have all these, you are in business.

Final thoughts on small business ideas to pursue in Kisumu.

There are thousands of small business ideas that can which you can pursue in Kisumu.

The fact that I have only listed 19 and not included the business for selling wallpapers in my list doesn’t mean the wallpaper business is less profitable.

And the fact that I have listed the cosmetics business either does not mean that it is as much profitle as the tender business in Kisumu.

I will continue to update the list to capture as many business ideas in Kisumu as possible.

Ensure you do your due diligence before investing in any of the listed businesses. Do not invest blindly.

Also Read: – 

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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