You don’t need a lot of money to start a business. This is because there are business options to start with almost any amount of capital. Today, let’s look at the top 15 businesses you can start with 20K in Kenya.

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It is advisable to start no matter what amount of capital you have. This is because there is always a chance to grow.

Requirements to start a business in Kenya

There are various things you require when starting a business in the country. Some of these include;

1. Business Permit-This is a legal requirement and is usually given by the county government. Some counties are already offering single-business permits.

2. Capital- It is the amount of money you need to start and sustain a business until it is profitable

3. Skills-This refers to the specific set of qualities you need to succeed as a business person. Some of these include risk-taking, budgeting, hardworking and experience.

Characteristics of a successful business person

Starting a business alone is not enough irrespective of the capital. You need to have a set of characteristics that are key to ensuring you succeed in the long term. These include;

  1. Risk taker
  2. Patience
  3. Hardworking
  4. Appetite for Knowledge
  5. Good planner.

Benefits of starting a business in Kenya

Starting a business comes with its advantages in the country such as

1. A source of income – A business person makes income through profits. Hence, the more you work on your business, the higher the profits. Depending on the business, you can either make passive or active income.

2. Self-employment- Starting a business comes with the benefits of self-employment such as flexibility and growth. As a business owner, you set your own rules and work as per your availability.

3. Employment creation- Starting a business enables you to create opportunities for others when it requires staff to operate.

Top 15 Businesses you can start with 20K in Kenya

There are various businesses you can do in the country with 20,000 shillings. It all depends on your interest and skills.

1. Mitumba/Second-Hand Items Business

20,000 is a lot if you want to begin a mitumba business. This is because the cost of these items is affordable to the majority of Kenyans.

You can get an item for as little as 50 shillings or even lower and then sell at a markup. Some of the most sought-after mitumba items include clothes and shoes. You should specialize in one item to grow your customers on this line.

Most mitumba business people get their stock from the Gikomba market as it is the main distribution point after their importation. On the capital, you can use half of it to buy stock and the rest to rent a small place for selling. Alternatively, you can do hawking, especially during the evening hours.

2. Farming

Farming is an ideal business to start with 20K if you already have a piece of land. The only cost you need is to buy items such as seeds and fertilizer and these costs fit within this budget.

Some of the main farming businesses you can do within this budget include vegetable farming and poultry farming. Farm products also have a ready market making it easier to sell your products.  Learn more about why you should venture into the farming business in Kenya.

3. Starting a blog

Blogging is a rising top passive income earner in the country making it among the top 15 businesses you can start with 20K in Kenya. You only need to get a dormain name and a hoster to start this business.

Starting a basic blog requires less than 10,000 shillings which fits right within this budget. The rest of the capital can be spent to market the blog. Learn more on how to start a blog in Kenya. The only secret in this business is that it takes time to start making money from a blog. If you do it well, it could take at least 1 year to become profitable.

As such, you need patience and dedication in content creation. Some of the ways to make money blogging include affiliate marketing ad google AdSense. Here is a list of the top 10 best affiliate programs in Kenya.

4. Cereal shop

This amount of money allows you to start a small cereal shop. You only need to get a store and start-up stock to get going. However, don’t forget a business permit as well.

Kenyans are big consumers of cereal and hence the market is readily available. Some of the most common cereals include maize, beans, and rice. To succeed in this business, you need to buy in bulk so that you can enjoy the discounts.

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This will enable you to make more profits as the buying price is low. A cereal shop business does well in residential areas and business streets.

5. Fruit Juice and salad business

Kenya is a big producer and consumer of fruits. This creates an opportunity to start a fruit salad and juice business. Due to the demand for fruits, this business can do well in almost every part of the country.

However, it is best if you target areas with high traffic to get more customers. The business also does well during the hot season as the demand for drinks is high.

Success in this business requires you to sell good fruits and maintain hygiene.

6. Kinyozi

You are within this budget to start a Kinyozi/barbershop business with 20,000 shillings in Kenya. The only strategy to do this is getting the basic tools and permits to get going. You can get a shaving machine and the rest of the tools for 10,000 shillings. Use the rest to get the permit and shop.

With this amount of capital, you should target to start this business in a cheaper area to afford some costs such as rent. The business should also be located in areas with high traffic and residential estates.

On average, a barber charges at least 50 shillings to 100 shillings for basic shaving. Hence, your income will be dependent on the number of people you serve. Focus to grow your customer base in the long term by offering good service.

7. Forex trading

This is a business that deals with the trading of currencies. The forex trading market is the largest in the world followed by the stock market.

To start forex trading in Kenya, you need to open a trading account with a forex broker. Some of the leading licensed forex brokers in the country include EGM Securities and Scope Markets Kenya.

Once you have a trading account, you are ready to fund it and start trading. To succeed in this business, you need to do a lot of learning and have patience. On average, it takes a year to become a profitable forex trader.

You can start trading with as little as 5,000 shillings. However, the capital determines your income. So, the more you put in the higher you make.

The only challenge with this business is the risk of losing your investment if the market goes against you. Hence, only put in what you are willing to lose to avoid disappointment. Other traits that are necessary to succeed in forex trading include having emotional control and risk management skills.

8. Delivery business

Most delivery businesses in the country either use a car or motorbike. However, some accept bicycles such as glovo Kenya.

I mentioned a bicycle because it is affordable and is within our range of capital. To start this business, you need to register with an online food delivery company. In case you missed it, here is the process on how to register for glovo delivery in Kenya.

A delivery business’s pay depends on the number of deliveries made. Hence, the more you deliver, the more you make.

9. Movie shop business

This business fits in the list of top 15 businesses you can start with 20K in Kenya. You only need a computer and access to the internet to start a movie shop business. Kenyans are movie consumers, especially as a way to pass time.

Hence, this allows you to make some money. Some of the key secrets for success in this business include having the latest movies and locating your business near residential areas.

However, if you are good at marketing, you can do this business from home and just focus on delivery. The most common marketing approach is through social media platforms.

10. Grocery shop

Grocery shops are a lifeline that feeds most Kenyans in our estates. You will find them in every part of the country including the rural areas.

These shops sell basic cooking items such as tomatoes, onions, and cabbage. They are affordable making capital of 20K shillings adequate to start the business.

To attract more customers, you should consider introducing some services such as home delivery and having as many different types of groceries as possible.

11. Shoe polish business

This is a very popular business in Kenya, especially in the urban areas. The business focus is offering shoe polishing and cleaning services.

The need to have well-polished shoes combined with the muddy and dusty Kenyan roads makes this business highly lucrative. It costs between 30 – 50 shillings to polish a pair of shoes.

Positioning is key if you want to succeed in this business. Some of the best areas to do so are along busy streets and during morning hours when people are going to work.

Finally, you should have as many polish categories to meet the various customer shoe needs both in color and material.

12. Smokie and Mayai business

This business joins the list of the top 15 businesses you can start with 20K in Kenya because of its demand and low capital starting levels. These two products are like national snacks.

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You will find them across the country in most towns and markets. To start this business, the key requirements include buying stock and a trolley to sell them. These trolleys have special customizations that allow them to have some elements such as heating.

Hygiene is also a key factor to maintain as you are dealing with food.

13. Photocopying

With the country still having a lot of uses for paperwork, this business remains relevant and profitable. You only need to target a good location such as near government offices and learning institutions.

To offer these services, the least you should have is a photocopier machine. However, if you want to offer more services such as printing and lamination, you need to invest in a computer and laminating machines.

14. Photography

You can take advantage of the photography culture of Kenyans to start a business. 20,000 shillings is adequate to get you a good camera that is all you need to start the business.

This business does not need much other than a camera and marketing. Target to use your social media channel to market your business.

Photos are very personal and intimate and hence you should offer the best product possible to retain your customers.

15. Nail polish business

This business can’t miss in the top 15 businesses you can start with 20k in Kenya due to the demand. As a part of the beauty industry, the business can only expand in the future.

Some of the requirements you need to succeed in it include having the skills to do the nails and a good location in an area that is easily accessible by your customers. An example of such locations includes busy streets and malls.

The business also does well in urban areas where there are office workers who don’t have to do much manual work.

Below is a recap of the top 15 businesses you can start with 20K in Kenya,

  1. Mitumba/second-hand items
  2. Farming
  3. Starting a blog
  4. Cereal shop
  5. Fruit juice and salad business
  6. Kinyozi
  7. Forex trading
  8. Delivery business
  9. Movie shop
  10. Grocery shop
  11. Shoe polish business
  12. Smokie and Mayai business
  13. Photocopying
  14. Photography
  15. Nail polish business


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