Capital remains a key challenge for business startups in Kenya. However, do you know there are profitable businesses that you can start with as little as 50,000 Kenyan shillings? Don’t go far as this article will focus on the top 10 businesses you can start with 50000 shillings in Kenya.

Top 10 Businesses You Can Start as a university and College Student in Kenya

The key to starting a business is getting in with whatever you have. There are many success stories of business people who started small and are now running multi-million business empires.

Hence, if you have 50000 shillings, this is enough to make you a successful entrepreneur. With the capital ready, you should now ensure to learn the other key success factors such as risk-taking and hard work.

Starting your own comes with its fair challenges and rewards. Some of the rewards include enjoying the financial freedom that arises when the business succeeds. Now let’s look at the top 10 businesses you can start with 50,000 shillings in Kenya.

1.  Grocery Store

The food business will always have a market. This is because food is a basic need that we all need to live.

There is a huge demand for groceries, especially in the urban areas. The demand makes starting a grocery store a lucrative business that you can start.

Grocery stores deal with basic farm produce such as vegetables, fruits, and spices.

With 50000 shillings, it is possible to start a standard with the potential to scale it up if the business expands. Some of the food products you can sell in your grocery business include tomatoes, onions, carrots, vegetables, and bananas.

Due to the capital constraints, you should focus on sourcing your products cheaply either getting them directly from the farmers or the farmer’s market. This allows you to add a small margin to your store.

Business Costs

Below are some of the key business costs that you need to factor in before starting the business.

Rent– The rent paid will depend on your business location. However, most grocery stores in the country operate in Kibanda. Something that you can also consider to reduce the cost of renting. These structures are common among fruit and groceries vendors. However, it is also critical to factor in elements such as security to avoid losses through theft.

Licenses – To prevent harassment by authorities, it is advisable to obtain relevant business licenses and permits. Visit your nearest county offices for guidance on the business permits to obtain. It is key to note that these vary depending on your area of operation.

Stocking costs– You will also incur some costs when purchasing stock. When operating on a 50000 budget, the stock could cost up to 30% of that. This amounts to at least 15000 shillings.

2.  Movie shop

Kenyans love watching movies and listening to music. Hence, you can ride on this idea to start a business supplying customers with movies and music. To achieve this goal, you need to start a movie shop.

Due to the high costs of accessing some top streaming services, most Kenyans source these products from the now common movie shops.

Business costs

Rent– you need to rent out a room to operate your business. The room you rent should have an electricity supply since it is a vital requirement for your business. Choose an affordable room since the budget is not too high. Rooms in rural areas are cheaper compared to those in urban areas.

Licenses and permits– to operate a movie shop in Kenya, you require a single business permit from your county council office. The charges vary from county to county and the amount depends on your business size. If you will be playing music from your movie shop, you also require a Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) license.

Computer– A computer is an essential part of this business. This could be either a desktop or a laptop as long as it can get the job done. Movie shops in Kenya provide movies to their customers in either flash disks or compact disks.

Internet connection– The Internet is also a major component of success in this business. The nature of this entertainment industry is fast changing hence the need to keep yourself up to date with the new products in the market. Due to the budget constraints, you should target to get a provider with higher internet speeds but affordable. This you can get through the emerging internet service providers.

On average, you can target to make between 500-1000 shillings per day from this business. It all depends on the location and how best you market your business.

Top 10 Businesses You Can Start With 100,000 Shillings in Kenya.


Similar to the groceries business, farming is a very profitable business venture in Kenya. There are different types of farming to choose from in Kenya. Some examples of farming types to engage in with 50000 shillings are:

Crop farming– This is the most common type of farming in Kenya since fresh food supplies are in high demand. Some of the crops you can grow include tomatoes, onions, garlic, strawberries, carrots, and cabbages. The listed foodstuff does not require a huge initial capital amount to start.

Poultry farming– You can start small-scale poultry farming with less than Ksh 50,000. Some of the poultry you can target to keep include chicken, ducks, and quails.

Beekeeping –Unlike crops that require to be planted in the soil, bees are kept in hives that can be suspended from tree posts. Bees produce a lot of products which you can easily sell to earn some extra income. Some of the common bee products include honey and beeswax. It costs an average of 10000 shillings for a beehive which is comfortably within the budget.

Animal keeping – It is possible to do animal farming with 50000 shillings in Kenya. You can target affordable animals such as rabbits. You can also do cattle such as cows and goats as they all fit in that budget.

Business costs

Land leasing costs– This cost is incurred if you do not have an available piece of land. If you decide to lease, it is advisable to look for an affordable piece of land. In rural areas, you can easily find cheap lands available for leasing. The size of the land is also key depending on the nature of farming. As an example, beekeeping requires a smaller land as opposed to crop farming.

Farming equipment/raw material costs– Some types of farming will require you to purchase raw materials. These include items such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. In the case of beekeeping, you have to invest in beehives. In poultry farming, you have to build the poultry house and equip it with the relevant supporting equipment such as feeders.

4.  Milk bar/Kiosk

A milk bar specializes in selling milk and related products such as yogurt. Some also offer value-adding products such as pastries.

50000 shillings is enough to start a small milk bar in your local town to scale it if the business expands.

For a successful milk bar business, you should target an ideal location that has huge human traffic such town center.

Business costs

Fresh milk– This is the primary product in this business model. The milk is used to create all the milk-related products; hence you must find a reliable supplier. The cheapest option is to look for a milk farmer to supply you with milk directly. If you have dairy cows, it will be extremely cheap for you since you will cut costs. Because milk is highly perishable, you also need to factor in getting a refrigerator to store it.

Rent– you will require a room to operate your business from. The rent price will vary depending on the business location. Ensure your business premises are sanitary since you will be dealing with foodstuff.

Relevant licenses and permits– To operate a milk bar, you require to acquire a single business permit from the county council office. Since a milk bar deals with food substances, you also require a food handler’s permit from the county council.

Furniture– for a milk bar, you require tables and chairs for your customers to sit. Organize with a trusted carpenter to have the furniture made at a fair price.

Cutlery– these are the relevant kitchen and serving utensils you will require.

5.  Fresh juice business

The fresh juice business is a bit similar to the milk bar business. The difference is that, in this business, you will be selling juice instead of milk.

The fresh juice business also does better in hot areas or during the hot season where the temperatures are high. You also need an ideal location with high human traffic in areas such as close to institutions and town centers.

Business costs

Rent– you can choose to rent out a room to operate your business from. However, a cheaper alternative is to work from a Kibanda. A Kibanda is cheaper than renting a room and can be set up by a roadside. However, some areas don’t allow vibandas hence the need to get an affordable room.

Relevant licenses and permits– To avoid harassment by authorities, you should ensure to get all the relevant permits such as the single business permit and food handler’s certificate.

Raw material costs– the raw materials of a fresh juice business are fresh fruits. The best bargain when buying fruits is to buy them in bulk as it comes with a discount. Another strategy to reduce the fruit costs is to buy them directly from the farmers. It is cheaper as compared to getting them from third parties.

Equipment’s-Fruit juice business requires some necessary equipment such as juicers, utensils, and cold storage facilities. However, in case the capital doesn’t support buying some such as a refrigerator, you can opt to make juice to minimize wastage.

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6.  Smokie and mayai business

Smokie and mayai vendors are found across all parts of the country. This is an indicator that there is an adequate market for the business and doesn’t as well need huge capital for a startup.

This type of business fits among the top 10 businesses you can start with 50000 shillings in Kenya. In some cases, you can even start this business with as low as 20,000 Kenyan shillings.

Some of the key success factors for the business is to get a location with high human traffic such as at junctions, near school institutions, at bus stops, and in markets.

Business costs

Raw materials – These include the basic products you are targeting to sell such as eggs and smokies. You can also have other additions including samosas. You can get these materials cheaply if you source them directly from farmers or wholesalers.

Smokie vending machine– This is the cart that vendors use as their point of sale. On average, this vending machine could cost between 5000-10000 Kenyans shillings depending on the quality.

Permit – The final business cost is getting the right permits from the relevant authorities to legalize the business. This differs depending on your location.

7.  Web and graphic design services

There is an increase in demand for website and graphic designing services as more businesses move online. If you have the interest and skills, this is an area you can venture in and requires small capital to get started.

Another option would be offering freelancing services on sites like Fiverr and Upwork. You can list your services on these sites and then bid on the said jobs. You can also choose to use some of the funds to advertise your skills on social media platforms.

This business model has very minimal costs. The only requirement is owning a laptop, which you can also borrow from a friend.

8.     Second-hand clothes/Mitumba business

The demand for second-hand clothes in the countries remains to make it a suitable venture if you have 50000 shillings and below.

Part of the reason why the mitumba business is thriving is that the clothes are affordable and quality for the majority of Kenyans. There is a high chance you have bought second-hand clothes if you are a Kenyan.

For this business, you need to identify a niche to serve such as baby clothes, girl trousers, or men’s wear. Your niche will also determine the business location to reach the target market.

However, the location should be in an area with high human traffic such as near busy streets.

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Business costs

Bale costs– Bale is the packaging and measure that prices second-hand clothes. On average, a bale costs 20000 shillings.

Business stall– You need to get a space where to sell your clothes from. The best way for this is to get a cheaper stall near a busy location.

Permits and licenses– To avoid constant harassment by the authorities, you should obtain the relevant business permits.

9.  Nail parlor

With the demand for beauty products and services expanding in the country, there is an emerging business line for the nail business. This makes it among the top 10 businesses you can start with 50000 shillings in Kenya.

The average costs for getting your nails done range between 500-5000 shillings depending on the quality and the service.

This business mostly targets ladies and you should find an urban area for its location.

Business costs

Nail equipment– To offer diverse services, you should consider purchasing a UV nail drier, for those clients who choose gel polish.

Nail polish– Purchase different types and colors of nail polish so that your customers can have a wide array of choices.

Permits and licenses– For every business, you need to acquire a single business permit from the county council office. This ensures you are conducting it legally.

Rent– The amount may vary depending on the location and the size of the room.

10. Home bakery

If you have a passion for baking, then this business might be ideal for you. Pastries and cakes are marketable since people always want to include them during occasions like weddings and birthday parties.

Business costs

Ingredients costs– The baking ingredients will be a constant cost for you throughout the business. Therefore, it is ideal to purchase your ingredients in bulk since they come at a discount.

Marketing costs– You need to advertise your business to beat your competitors. It can be in the form of running Instagram ads or paying for shout-outs from influencers.

Equipment costs– you need to have an oven to run a successful bakery business. You will also need to purchase packaging equipment and mixing equipment. Ideally, if you already have an oven at home, you can use it for your baking business.


From the above list of the top 10 businesses you can start with 50000 shillings in Kenya, there are various business choices and it all depends on your area of interest.

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Business success will also depend on factors such as marketing and hard work. If you have the money, just know that you are ready to go. Starting small is also good because it allows you a chance to test the market.

In case of business failure, the losses are minimal.

To recap, some of the top 10 businesses you can start with 50000 shillings in Kenya include:

  1. Grocery store
  2. Movie shop
  3. Farming
  4. Milk bar
  5. Fresh juice business
  6. Smokie and mayai business
  7. Web design and graphic design services
  8. Second-hand clothes/Mitumba business
  9. Nail parlor
  10. Home bakery


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