31 Small Business Ideas for Kenyans | Start With Ksh. 1,000 or Less

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As an unemployed person, your friends will advise you to start your own business and become self-employed. 

But the path to a startup never seems easy.

Money chases money.

It always seems so because your options are so limited when you do not have enough capital.

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But not to worry, here is a list of 31 lucrative businesses you can start with low capital.

31 Businesses to Start with under 1000 shillings

1. Selling second-hand clothes

Start a business for second hand clothes

So many people sell second-hand clothes in Kenya nowadays.

Ever Wondered Why?

Because it’s a cheap business to start and depending on how business-savvy you are, it makes quite some money.

With only 1000 Kenya shillings, you can go to a market that sells clothes, buy 5 to 20 items and sell the clothes for double or triple the price.

It all depends on your market. If you don’t have a physical store, all you have to start is an Instagram page and sell your goods online or even hawk them.

Another thing, know your market and what your customers like or you’ll get stuck with the clothes.

It’s easier to sell to females as they are more likely to shop spontaneously.

2. Mobile hairdresser

The easiest businesses to start with less are the ones you have the skills for.

All you usually have to put in is your labor.

This applies to hairdressing. It’s mostly about the craft. If you know the basics, whether it is braiding, cornrows, crotchet, weaving, cutting or just styling, you can advertise your services and let your client pick the location.

With time, you can expand and get salon equipment.

Of course, with equipment, you cannot be mobile anymore. You may have to rent a location

3. Making homemade sauces

Start a homemade sauces business

There is a large market out there for good food.

There are so many people out there who cannot get the grip of cooking. And there is also a different group who can cook but are too lazy to go through all the stages.

That is where sauces come in.

They simplify the process and can be used as sauces on their own or mixed to create stews.

All you need to make sauces are groceries, which shouldn’t cost too much unless you decide to add in some fancy ingredients.

Some examples of easy sauces are barbecue sauce, tomato pasta sauce, garlic alfredo sauce, pilau gravy or better yet create your own. Your options are unlimited.

4. Essential oils

Start selling essential oils

As more and more Kenyans are learning how to appreciate their natural hair, the craze overusing essential oils for hair is growing.

These oils include coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil,  etc. Another one is not an oil but probably good to mention here is aloe vera gel and juice.

Try one of these oils, package and sell for a good price.

5. Crafts Business

Best small businesses for artists

There is a large market out there for crafts, especially cultural.

Try to direct your crafts to tell stories about Kenyans and see where it takes you.

So far the best selling crafts in Kenya include: – woven baskets, Maasai artifacts and simple paintings.

Express yourself with art and make money with creativity.

6. Beaded jewelry

Beaded jewelry could fall under crafts but I feel as though it has grown enough to deserve its mention.

A packet of beads goes for 100. With that, you can make 50 different jewelry pieces that each go for roughly 100 shillings. Do the math. You could make fifty times more than you put in.

All you need is patience.

7. Portraits Business

Become a pencil artist

In my home, there’s a portrait that everyone loves.

I tell them it was 3000 shillings and everyone is shocked. It should have cost so much more according to them.

I know the one who did it didn’t use more than a pencil and a canvas.

His profit was probably 2500. But now anyone who sees it is willing to pay more than Ksh. 10,000 to have the piece.  I’m still holding on to it though.

Imagine selling your art for 10,000 kshs. It’s little because we are in a country that does not value art so much but still a lot.

8. Street food Business

Another easy way to earn is to vend street food.

Everyone loves street food. It’s part of our newly found culture.

From samosas to bhajia, mtura, kebabs, eggs, hotdogs, the list is endless. Whip up a good snack and people will crowd your stand for more.

9. Laundry Business

Laundry business

Earn money by doing laundry.

If you are clean and hardworking, this is a good venture for you. You need zero shillings. So many people cannot afford house girls but still cannot find time for their laundry and are willing to pay for your services

10. Second-hand books

Another business to start with low capital is to resell second-hand books.

There are people out there willing to give out books at a throwaway price.

Buy these books and sell them at a price higher and you have your income.

11. Use your car as a taxi

This business idea applies to people who already have cars.

You could park in strategic areas and offer taxi services on your own.

But, if you have trouble finding clients, there are several applications you can use e.g. Uber, Taxify, Mondo, inDriver, Little Cab, etc.

12. Rent a motorcycle

Boda boda

Motorcycles are a common way to move around for Kenyans with all the routes that matatus don’t cover and traffic. It is cheaper as compared to taxis. That is why many use it.

A motorcycle business is easy to start whether you have one or not. You could rent a motorcycle, pick up your clients and pay the owner a particular amount keeping yours.

13. Become a tutor

Adding to the lists of the various services you can offer for money is tutoring.

There is a lot of knowledge you can offer out there; it doesn’t even have to be academic. You could tutor music, instruments, photography, sports or even the art of makeup.

14. Rent a sleeping bag

A second-hand sleeping bag goes for around 600 to 800.

A new one, depending on the brand could go for 1500 to 2500 Kenyan shillings.

If you already own one, start a business where you rent out your sleeping bag for people going on camps.

Eventually, You could upscale to more than just one bag and even camping tents and it’s related gear.

15. Become a freelance clown

For this, you need to be on the lookout for events like kids’ birthdays, company promotions, kids’ events, and festivals. Dress up, be charismatic and go.

Become a freelance clown

16. Showcase talent 

If you walk around Nairobi CBD, you’ll find beggars with bags in front of them singing, playing instruments or even doing acrobatics. They get paid.

Relax. I’m not suggesting one picks a street and starts their business. If you’re good at what you, you just need one gig and good advertising and you have your startup ready to go.

17. Start Selling E-books

There’s a lot of platforms out there for writers. Amazon Kindle is one of them. Write your book and every time someone buys it, you get paid.

18. Food delivery Business

Food delivery businesses ideas

Another affordable business to start is food delivery. Make your food at home and deliver it to offices and homes.

19. Mobile movie shop

Movie shops have become so common. there’s almost one everywhere.

Nowadays, movie shop owners have become even smarter and more efficient.

They reduce the time that a client has to wait to have their movie transferred to a CD or flash drive or another storage media by simply delivering it to the client afterward.

You could start this from your home. Get clients around your home so all you have to do is walk to your delivery point and spend almost nothing.

20. Indigenous veggie farming business

Get a farmer who plants this, buy them and sell for a higher price. With all the lifestyle diseases cropping up, Kenyans are trying to adopt healthier eating so you will not lack the market for this.

21. Airbnb your house

Again, this is an affordable business idea for those with houses or rooms to spare. If you have that house in your rural home that you barely use, that spare room in your home or that house you cannot find a permanent tenant for, this is the perfect venture for you. Put up your house on Airbnb and rent it to strangers for the period they want it for.

22. Freelance online Business

There is no way online freelancing could not have made this list.  Turn on your laptop and log on to all these websites with freelancing options for you.

23.Indoor herbs

This involves planting your indoor herbs and selling at maturity.

The most you need is space and water. Some of the herbs you could grow and sell are mint, chives, lemongrass, coriander, thyme, rosemary, oregano, etc.

24. Jute bags Business

You can earn a lot from making jute bags.

Mostly what you need is jute, a few accessories and dye to make these bags. They are called kyondos locally.

They usually go for 1000 to 5000 kshs yet all you needed was rope and time. For those good at this, pursue it as a business idea. You can also buy it from someone who knows how to make one and sell it at a higher price.

25. Freelance MC

Another business to start with under 1000 Kenyan shillings is event hosting. The most important thing you need for this is charisma.

Market yourself and start, making sure your charges are realistic and that your presence makes a difference.

26. Running errands

Platforms like TaskRabbit have not picked up locally. However, you can just market your services and get things done for people for a price. The jobs could involve picking up things, dropping things off, etc.

27. Handyman

There’s always a need for a handyman in every building. Just purchase a few basic tools and offer to fix and do a wide range of repairs.

28. Consulting Business

The next 10 dollar business you can start in Kenya is consulting. You just have to know something better than most.

You could spend half your investment in purchasing business cards and the other half in coffee for your clients. The first payment will run your business initially.

You could be an Architect consultant, beauty consultant, marketing consultant, etc.

29. Develop applications

If you know how to make applications, this is something you can do from your home and make so much if it picks up on Play Store or whatever platform you want to use.

30. Baking and delivery services

Baking is another simple inexpensive business to start locally. It is broad. You can simply do cupcakes, or go for the bigger birthday cakes that you can deliver to parties.

31. Social media  marketing

Then there is Affiliate marketing. This is for those with a large following on any platform on social media. Offer to market other businesses on your page and get paid for it. It doesn’t even cost you.

You don’t need to have millions to start your venture. With the little you have, you can begin immediately and launch a successful business.

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