Are you a university student in Kenya and looking for small business ideas to start?
You are in the right place. In this article, I will show you #20 businesses you can start now to start earning passive income almost immediately.
Before we dive in though, I want you to remember that all of these ideas revolve around actually doing some work.
If you are the kind of person who shies away from work, this is not for you.
See, there is more to life than binge-watching series and dating in college. I mean, look at most thriving companies today, they were invented in college.
Facebook was created from a university dorm room, look where it is today? It is a billion-dollar company.
Why am I telling you this?
Do not be fooled by the ‘small’ business title, what you are about to see have the potential to sprout into a huge company employing thousands of people around the country.
But before that, you must make that first step. Here are ideas to help you get started.
20 small businesses for university students in Kenya
Social Media Marketing
Over 10 million Kenyans are using social media platforms daily.
They spend between 2-3 hours daily swiping through the newsfeed, liking, commenting, and sharing updates from friends, family, and businesses.
There hasn’t been a platform or event that is so engaging to Kenyans more than social media.
For businesses, this is a golden opportunity to increase their brand awareness and hopefully generate sales while at it. But there is a problem:
Social media is a dynamic entity, with changes streaming in almost daily, therefore making it hard for brands to keep up with the changes considering they already have a full plate (running the business).
This is where you come in.
If you understand how social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter work, this is your lifetime chance to make money.
You can help brands manage their social media accounts, creating and monitoring campaigns, and engaging their audiences.
How much can this earn you?
Well, depending on your expertise, you are looking at over Ksh. 10K per account per month. The secret here is to deliver results first, and everyone will be fighting for you.
To get started, draft proposals and send it to companies either with poor social media presence or aren’t using it at all. In your proposal, demonstrate what they are missing by not using social media marketing in Kenya.
Do you own a good DSLR camera?
Do you possess good photography skills and can snap a perfect picture for Instagram? Well, students are looking for you.
Here is the thing:
Despite the invasion of smartphones and all their double or even triple cameras, nothing beats the same old digital camera with the flashlight.
Sincerely, I don’t understand what it is, but students prefer DSLR camera photos to their phone cameras.
It is a lucrative opportunity you can start while in college, and even continue afterward. I mean, the same clients while in college will end up having events later, right?
So, do a good job and you have clients for life.
To get started, you don’t even need to actually own the camera.
You can borrow it from a friend, or rent it, and return it once done with the project. The secret to succeeding with this business is having a perfect studio location.
It should definitely be near campus premises, be it opposite the main gate or around campus residence.
Also, distribute your contact details around campus and actually show up as soon as you are called. One more thing; consider offering packages. For example 10 photos at Ksh. 200, get the idea?
Additionally, you can sell photos to stock photo websites. Here, you just upload photos you took yourself to these platforms. You make money every time someone downloads the images.
Websites are the future. Take for instance 2020, thanks to the pandemic, all Kenyans turned to online shopping. Guess who benefited?
Of course, businesses with websites reaped a ton.
Back in the day, I had roommates who earned at least 45K per month doing simple web design services like changing pages, adding content, etc.
You can do the same.
Actually, you don’t need the coding skills to do design work. In such a case, you have two options:
One, book the job and outsource it to someone else and pocket the difference. Alternatively, you can use website builders like Elementor to create beautiful websites without touching code.
Now, getting clients; start from your locality. Approach businesses and show them how a website can impact their business.
Kenyan universities are the hub of fashion-conscious individuals, with new designs not escaping them.
If you have the design sense, you can make a lot of money doing it while still studying for your degree.
There is an influx of a couple of designs fashions. You can join in by designing beautiful t-shirts meant for those in relationships. And target those who aren’t afraid to demonstrate their affection in public.
Additionally, you can make money as a fashion model on campus. There are a ton of agencies looking for fresh beauty and faces to adorn their designs. Approach such agencies and strike a deal with them.
Where is the best place to sell reading materials than inside colleges and universities in Kenya?
Students hate having to carry around bulky books when they can just read directly from their phones or laptops.
To get started, you need to identify a common challenge affecting students. It can be a subject or unit. Then create a valuable e-book tackling the problem and offering viable solutions.
Sell the e-book to students experiencing this problem.
Alternatively, why not offer to transform lectures into e-books and sell them to students? After all, they hate handout notes because they get lost when you need them the most.
To spice up your business, you can incorporate other genres, such as motivational e-books, fiction, or non-fiction books.
If you can teach, you can make a lot of money as a university student in Kenya. I mean, you must be brilliant and that is why you are in university, right?
If you are good at an academic subject, consider starting a tutoring business in Kenya. Your target audience could be fellow students or high schoolers.
All you have to do is come up with a simple curriculum and set reasonable rates. Have meetings either online or during non-class hours in campus lecture halls.
I remember back in high school, we use to have university students coming around acting set books.
And we paid to watch it. You can do the same by bringing together a team and approach schools around your college.
According to research, by the end of 2020, video will account for more than 80% of all internet content.
This trend can be attributed to the need for instant gratification, where people prefer to watch than read an article.
While this is true, brands are struggling to produce quality and consistent content. While it bad news for them, it is good news for you if you have videography skills.
You can get paid to create and edit videos in Kenya.
Advertising agencies are constantly on the lookout for fresh ways to approach ad production and distribution. Go ahead and demonstrate to them what you can do.
To help you out, first, compile a document of samples and then send them a proposal. If it is worth it, nobody is going to ignore an opportunity to make more money.
This is another top small business idea for university students in Kenya.
Students are lazy and hate doing laundry, well, personally I hated that but loved looking sharp and clean.
You can start a laundry service business around campus where students can drop their dirty laundry and later pick them up.
Better yet, consider offering pickup services. Doing so will earn you more money and happy customers.
Again, university students love looking sharp and adorable. And to achieve that, fitness plays a huge role. Thus starting a fitness hub around the campus can be a perfect small business in Kenya.
Either charge entry fees or membership fees for the whole year.
To make more money, consider offering customized fitness packages with personalized instructors.
Start a blog
If you can start blogging in university, you can be sure to never worry about money to settle your bills.
A blog is a perfect idea if you are looking for a small business for university students in Kenya.
It is easy to start and maintain. Did you know that I started this website with just Ksh.1599?
All you have to do is pick a topic, register a domain, get hosting, and start creating articles regularly.
You can start a fashion blog where you discuss the latest fashion designs in Kenya. To make money, consider selling your own products, use Google AdSense, or engage in affiliate marketing.
Talking of affiliate marketing, look at the next small business for university students in Kenya.
Affiliate marketing to students
Affiliate marketing involves making money by referring people to buy a certain product or service.
Since you are in college, you can figure out a way to bring students together, for example, by creating a campus website, newsletter, etc.
Then approach brands with a proposal.
They advertise their products to the students, and you get a cut of every sale.
Consider creating an email newsletter list where university students get campus news, and other important announcements.
Once in a while, market a product to them and make money every time someone buys through your link.
Write CV business
University is the place where people go to learn to be good employees, that’s just the truth.
Most students, however, struggle with coming up with a good enough CV, as a result, miss out on opportunities, not because of a lack of skills, but poor messaging.
If you understand how and what to say on a CV to win interviewers’ heart, you can try this small business for university students in Kenya.
Market your services throughout the campus using flyers and posters. Also, join college groups and advertise your service.
Also, consider sharing testimonials of your clients, there is nothing more convincing than seeing someone who was in your shoes overcoming it.
Product testing and reviewing business
This small business idea works almost like #11, but the difference here is that you are actually testing products.
All you have to do is create a group of students (form a club or something like that).
Approach brands looking for customer feedback on their products. To make money, they either pay you to test and review, or you get free products, either way, it is a win.
Being in college means you have a lot of free time. Instead of using it for doing meaningless tasks, you can start a YouTube channel and turn it into a business.
You just have to talk about stuff students care about. For example, cover life in your university and post consistently.
To make money, use the YouTube advertising program. Also, consider affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and paid content.
It is a business you can start using your smartphone and college Wi-Fi.
Buy and sell limited-edition wear
We mentioned that university students love fashion. With this idea, you can make huge profits by leveraging this fact.
There are designs, be it shoes, clothes, etc. that are only released for a limited time. As such, they attract a lot of attention and demand, thanks to its limited supply.
If you can buy such products during this window, you can flip them for profit after they are out-of-stock.
Buy limited-edition sneakers at the retail price. Wait for the supply to deplete then resell yours at twice or even thrice the price. You will be surprised the extent people go to lay their hands on stuff no one else has.
Run a delivery service business
Delivery service is a perfect small business for university students in Kenya. Be flexible and market your business throughout university premises.
Students can order services online through you and deliver them to their doorsteps. If you sign-up for programs like JFORCE on Jumia, you make money every time you help someone place an order on Jumia.co.ke.
Considering you will still deliver the product, you earn twice, how about that?
Transcription service for lectures
As many students love studying, reading lecture notes sucks.
It gets even worse when you come to class late or the lecturer is in hurry, so the notes are scattered and don’t make sense.
You can help them out of this misery by transcribing the lectures into audio.
This way, they can listen on their phones or laptops while relaxing, or walking around.
Some students bring kids around the campus because there is no one to look after them at home.
Start a babysitting service and make money at university.
It is even better if you live outside the university. Students can drop their kids and pick them after classes.
Organizing student trips
University in Kenya is fun, there is no doubt about that. Tap into this by organizing student trips and charging reasonable fees.
If you do a great job, this can turn into a big tour and travel business after college.
When students are changing halls or clearing out, they require someone to help with their stuff.
You can hire a truck and share the proceeds with the owner. To make more money, consider expanding your services to the immediate community.
These top 20 small businesses for university students in Kenya. Notice, they are easy to start and manage. All you have to do is draft a plan and work that plan.
Also, being a student is the best time to start a business. You have a lot of free resources around you that will support your hustle and reduce expenses.