With the majority of Kenyans doing blue-collar jobs, the search and competition for business opportunities remain high. However, I have taken the task to compile for you the top 30 businesses you can start in Kenya with 200k.
Under Kenyan standards, 200,000 shillings is adequate to get yourself a good business that can make good returns. The nature of a business to start with this amount of capital depends on various things such as interest, location, and skills.
Benefits of starting a business in Kenya
Starting and having a running business has various benefits such as;
1. A good source of income– The ultimate goal of starting a business is to make money in form of profits. Hence, having a profitable business is a good source of income.
2. Flexibility – Running your own business comes with flexibility in some elements such as decision-making and working hours because you are your boss. This is different if you are employed as you have to take instructions.
3. Employment creation – Most of the 200k businesses in Kenya are big enough for you to employ others. A kind gesture that goes a long way to reduce unemployment in the country.
To 30 businesses you can start in Kenya with 200k
Below is a breakdown of the 30 businesses you can start in Kenya with 200K. They range across various industries and areas.
1. Cyber Café
The demand for online services has made the cyber café business very prominent in the country. This business targets millions of Kenyans who need access to the internet and computers to complete assorted tasks.
By offering these services, most operators charge a usage fee. Normally, charges are done per the time spent. Some of the best places to set up a cyber café are in urban centers and near learning institutions.
Starting this business requires you to have a working space/ room, access to fast internet, and functional computers.
2. Car Wash Business
As more Kenyans get on wheels, there is a rising demand for the car wash business. Services. Every year, Kenyans buy close to 50,000 new cars. A trend that is likely to expand as the economy grows.
With 200k, you can start a high-end carwash that meets most customer standards and expectations. Some of the key requirements your need to do so include a space to do the washing, washing machines, and water connection.
A car wash business does well near offices, along the roads, and close to residential areas. These are the areas you are highly likely to get car owners who are your customers in this business.
3. M-PESA Agent Business
With over 30 million Kenyans registered on M-Pesa (The largest mobile money service in Africa), there is an increasing need for agency services.
Agents have made it possible to access services such as deposits and withdrawals conveniently. To start an M-Pesa agency business, you need to have an M-Pesa agent line, shop, and startup capital that acts as float.
You can get them within the budget of 200,000 shillings and have some left to sustain the business. On average, M-pesa agents make 10,000 to 30,000 shillings per month. It all depends on the business location and customer service.
I had earlier elaborated on the finer details of how to start a successful M-pesa agent business in Kenya.
4. Wines and spirits
This is a business that has become very lucrative since the lockdown of traditional bars during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This combined with the insatiable demand for alcohol makes this business ideal. The best place to set up is near residential areas and malls as most customers are found In these places.
There are various factors you need to consider when starting and succeeding in the wines and spirits business. Some of these include compliance with set regulations and stocking your shop adequately.
The amount of income will depend on the size of the shop and the location. One of the key requirements to start this business is having a liquor license.
The basic nature and need for farming products make this business a key option among the top 30 businesses you can start in Kenya with 200K.
There are various types of farming you can do with this amount of capital such as;
- Chicken farming
- Dairy farming
- Vegetable farming
- Fruit farming
What helps to make the right choice is the factors such as the size of the land, weather conditions, and skills. Some of the key benefits of the farming business include access to a ready market in large retail stores, grocery stores, hotels, institutions, and local markets.
The only secret to success in farming is minimizing production costs and timing when the supply is low. This way, you will have a higher profit margin.
Kenyans are big consumers of baked products such as bread and cakes. Bread forms part of our daily delicacy making it a lucrative niche to tap into.
Cakes are also in demand during occasions such as weddings, birthdays, and graduations. 200,000 shillings is adequate to get you going in this business as it will enable you to purchase the basic tools necessary for the business.
Some of these include the oven and measuring equipment. You also need soft skills such as baking knowledge if you are to succeed in the long term. You can also opt for taking short-term baking lessons to better your skills.
If you don’t have a physical shop to do the business, you can start baking at home and focus on delivery. Some of the best customers for these services include your immediate neighbors and colleagues.
This makes the business ideal to either do it full time or side hustle for those with other day jobs.
7. Cereal Shop
Cereals are some of the most popular foods in the country. This has made them among the best-selling products in the market. They are not only healthy but also affordable and fit in with our traditions.
Hence, having a cereal shop is an ideal business that you can start with 200k in Kenya. Some of the most common cereals include maize, beans, and rice.
You will normally find cereal shops in markets, residential areas, and along busy town streets. This is because it is where most customers are.
If you want to grow your income, target to buy in bulk to enjoy better discounts. You can also source your stock directly from the farmers to leverage lower prices. One advantage of the cereal business is these products are not easily perishable. Hence, you don’t have to worry much about storage.
Some of the most common meat sold in the country include beef, goat meat, port, and chicken meat. To start a butchery, you need to invest in some equipment that includes a freezer, cutting equipment, and weighing scale. You can get these within this budget. Finally, you need the stock.
Here comes the business that targets meat lovers. I can’t fail to mention the nyama choma culture in the country. The meat business has a ready market as it is an integral part of our meals.
Most butchery owners source meat directly from the various abattoirs or buy animals directly from the farmers at a lower price.
To value add to the business, you should consider offering both raw and cooked meat as some customers what it ready. To achieve this, you will need meat cooking equipment such as a grill.
Butchery business thrives in markets and near residential neighborhoods.
9. Movie Shop
With 200,000 shillings in Kenya, it is possible to start a top-end movie shop business. Watching movies is a key way that Kenyans use to pass time making it lucrative to target. The goal of this business is to ensure that customers can access all the different types of movies they need conveniently and affordably.
To achieve this, you need a deep understanding of the movie industry as customers have different preferences. Some of the key tools you need to start this business include a shop location, a good computer, and relevant government licenses.
Movies sell between 30 to 50 shillings. Hence, the more you sell, the more you make.
The restaurant business is a lucrative venture in the country due to the demand and need for food. Hotels and restaurants do well in urban areas where there is a sizeable number of people. Other places where you can start a restaurant include offices and learning institutions.
To start a restaurant business, you require some key items such as furniture and cooking items. You also need to hire staff who can assist with some tasks such as cooking and serving. Although this amount can’t get you a big restaurant, it is adequate to start a small one and target to grow when the business expands.
The secrets to success in the restaurant business are selling good food and offering great service.
This amount of capital is adequate to start and market a blog until it’s profitable. Blogging is a modern business that relies on access to the internet for growth.
Starting a blog requires you to have a domain name and Webhosting service provider. These come at a cost with some going as low as 5,000 shillings. However, due to the capital availability, you should consider getting a superior blog.
This will make it easier to attract more blog visitors. By attracting visitors to your site, you can make money from affiliate marketing and ad placements.
The rest of the capital should be used for marketing purposes. This is an important step that helps to create awareness about your blog. The best way to market your blog is through social media platforms. Learn more about social media marketing in Kenya.
12. Delivery Business
200k is adequate to get a motorbike for doing delivery business. The demand for delivery services has been on the rise in the last few years as online shopping both for goods and food expands.
To make it possible, delivery companies are constantly recruiting new delivery partners. Some of the top delivery companies in Kenya include glovo, Uber, Little, and Copia. I had done a detailed guide on how to become a delivery rider with glovo.
Motorbikes are the most used delivery vehicles in the country with a new one going for between 100K to 150K to buy. You also need funds to pay for the driving license and insurance.
On average, you can make 2,000 shillings as profit per day from this business. Target to register with as many service providers as possible to increase your chances of getting more business.
13. Fish Business
As fish becomes more common in Kenyan meals, so is the opportunity to start a business in this line. The current demand for fish in the country exceeds supply making it an ideal gap to tap into.
In this business, it is possible to become a retailer with 200K capital. As a fish retailer, your job is to get fish from suppliers and selling to the final consumers.
Due to the perishability nature of fish, you should invest in a storage facility such as a freezer in case you don’t empty your stock. Having a storage facility also allows you to buy in bulk helping to attract bigger discounts.
Finally, you also need a reliable supplier to avoid running out of stock. An experience that could keep customers away when you don’t meet their needs.
On average you can make between 50 to 100 shillings profit per fish sold.
14. Bodaboda Business
Bodaboda is the ultimate transport method for most Kenyans due to its convenience and affordability. This need has risen due to the chaotic nature of the country’s public transport system and poor roads.
It is also possible to do business in almost every part of the country. Some of the requirements to get started are having a motorbike that costs between 100,000 to 150,000 shillings, a driving license, and insurance.
The business can make you an average of 1,000 to 2000 shillings. You should also consider joining the online services if you are doing business in some places such as Nairobi. Some of these include uberboda which allows customers to request bodaboda rides online.
15. Cosmetics Shop
Cosmetics include items such as lipsticks, perfume, hair oil, and body oil. These items belong to the beauty industry and are highly marketable.
The need to look and smell good makes cosmetics a lucrative business. It is ideal to locate it along busy streets and in malls.
Due to the capital limitations, target to start a small shop that you can then expand in the future. Another factor to consider is by having as many products as possible to give your customers a choice.
16. Milk Shop
Milk is a common product among Kenyans especially for making our traditional white tea. Almost all households consume it daily.
A milk shop business sells milk and associated products such as yogurt. To do this efficiently, you need to get a milk dispenser machine and cold storage equipment.
A milk dispenser also known as milk ATM costs on average 70,000 – 100,000 shillings. Hence, the capital is adequate to get one and spend the rest on paying rent, getting a license, and buying stock.
Milk needs care in handling to ensure it remains fresh. A key factor that attracts and retains customers.
17. Cooking Gas Business
With the government pushing for more Kenyans to use cooling gas, opportunities are opening up in this sector. Most of these shops are found near residential areas where customers can access them easily.
Gas is a basic source of heat for cooking and hence will always have demand. You should also consider doing homedelivery to get more customers.
Gas is normally sold in different units such as 3,6 and 13kgs. What most customers look for in gas purchases are safety and reliability. Thus, you should get a good supplier who is reliable and efficient.
18. General Shop
General shops are common in the estates and along the streets. These shops deal with all types of merchandise including cooking oil, bread, tissue papers, and flour.
They help to get to the last mile of customers that don’t have access to the larger shopping establishments such as supermarkets.
It is possible to start a general shop both in the rural and urban areas making it among the top 50 businesses that you can start with 200K.
Some of the requirements you need to start this business are a shop space, a business permit, and stock.
19. Play Station Games Place
The games business is most attractive to young people. This business entails providing gaming equipment such as PlayStation and screens for use by the players.
The gaming business is prominent in urban areas due to the high demand in these places. The players or gamers pay per the time spent and hence the more customers the more the income.
To remain relevant in this fast-changing industry, you need to be well-updated with the latest games and equipment in the market.
The average cost for a PlayStation in Kenya is 40,000 shillings while a good TV screen could fetch the same price as well. With 200K, it is possible to get 2 gaming stations for a start.
Photography has been and remains a key business niche across the world. Kenya is no exception. Photos serve as a reminder and record of important occasions in life.
You need a good camera to begin a photography business. Secondly, marketing is also key to letting your potential customers know about the business.
Recently, the online market for photography products has been growing exponentially. There are sites that you can use to sell photos such as pexel and Getty images. To do this, you should create an account and start uploading your photos.
Once the photos are on these sites, customers can review them and interested, proceed to buy. Standing out in the market requires you to take great pictures that are of great quality and unique.
21. Executive Barbershop/Kinyozi
Barbershops are our homes for haircutting. The modern barbershop has evolved to add more services other than cutting hair such as massage and facial jobs.
An executive barbershop should have comfortable seats, qualified staff, and cleaning and massage services. This way, you will attract high-paying customers.
This capital is adequate to start such a kinyozi allowing you to offer premium services competitively. The charges for these services range from 200-500 shillings depending on the location.
Most importantly, you need to have the skills or higher staff that are highly qualified to ensure your customers are satisfied. Due to the competitive nature of this business, customer retention is a key success driver.
It is a standard approach in this business to pay staff based on the number of customers they serve. This ensures they are putting in optimal effort to grow the business.
22. Selling Phone Accessories
As one of the most common gadgets in the country, mobile phone accessories are in high demand. Accessories include items such as phone covers, screens, batteries, and earphones.
This business does well in busy streets where most customers are concentrated. You should also ensure to sell quality products to maintain customer satisfaction.
23. Printing and Photocopying
This business makes it among the top 30 businesses that you can start with 200k in Kenya because of the demand for these services.
It is best suited for a location near learning institutions and government offices because there is a lot of need for documentation.
You require a good photocopier and printer as a bare minimum to start the business. A computer is also necessary to do basic jobs such as typesetting and printing.
The average cost for photocopying and printing is 10 – 20 shillings per page. However, the charges may vary depending on your location.
24. Shoe Business
An average Kenyan has more than one pair of shoes. This is an indicator the demand levels for shoes are high creating a good niche to do business in.
In the shoe business, the best approach is to specialize along various lines such as children’s shoes, new or second-hand shoes, men’s or women’s shoes, and finally specialized shoes. Learn more of the key factors to consider when starting a shoe business in Kenya.
This specialization allows mastery and focuses on one area from the supplier to the customer level. The shoe business is ideal for locations in busy streets, shopping malls, or market areas.
Ensure to offer your customers shoes in a quality and affordable manner to help increase retention levels.
25. Furniture Shop
Furniture is a basic item in our homes and offices. We all need tables, chairs, and beds to have comfortable and normal lives in our homes and places of work.
This amount of money allows you to start a basic furniture shop in your local area that can make and sell various types of furniture. You also need the skills to make them. However, in case you don’t, engage someone who has them or learns.
Some of the learning options include engaging an experienced carpenter to teach you or through one of the many available technical institutes.
Success in this business requires you to offer quality furniture that is as per your client’s needs. This way, you will create a constant stream of customers.
Some of the key requirements to start the business include carpentry tools and secure space to store the furniture.
26. Laundry Business
The laundry business entails starting a cleaning shop that most Kenyans call dry cleaning. It involves offering cleaning services for various items such as heavy clothing, suits, dresses, and carpets.
This type of clothes is normally hard to clean through our normal cleaning ways and that’s why most people opt to outsource the services.
You need a big cleaning machine to handle custom work efficiently. This you can get with 100,000 shillings depending on the size and brand. You also need the steaming equipment to straighten the clothes after cleaning.
Finally, skills are also important if you have to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction. The business does well in residential middle-class areas. This is the type of demography that uses these types of clothes and can pay for cleaning services.
27. Forex Trading
This is a financial investment business that allows you to trade in currencies. Naturally, currency values keep changing depending on market forces. As a forex trader, your job is to predict correctly the movement of price either on the upside or the downside.
Various tools help you to do this profitably such as technical and fundamental analysis tools. As the biggest financial market in the world, forex trading has immense opportunities.
However, it takes time and a lot of learning to trade profitably in this market. On average, it takes one year to start making money in forex trading.
To Start this business, you need to have a forex trading account with a broker. It is better to use a broker that is licensed in Kenya. You then need the startup capital that enables you to take trades in the market.
28. Small Bar Business
Bars are still very lucrative if you manage to set them up in the right location. Mostly, bars are found in shopping centers and near residential places.
You will need to get a space and the supporting furniture to start a bar business. Other requirements include stock to start the business and relevant licenses.
A bar also requires staff to help with services such as serving customers or payment collection. In most cases, this business also involves a kitchen to offer food to customers.
Due to the capital limitations, you can consider partnering with someone to offer kitchen services. The most common food customers take include meat and ugali. This way, customers will get an end-to-end service helping to retain them.
29. Cryptocurrency Investment
Since the first cryptocurrency was launched in 2009, the market has been on continuous growth. A cryptocurrency is a form of digital money that runs on blockchain technology. The most common and valuable is known as bitcoin. Here is a breakdown of how to buy bitcoin with M-pesa in Kenya.
These currencies have become a top target for investors due to their rise helping early investors to make lucrative returns.
As new investment assets, cryptocurrencies carry some level of risk due to limited regulation and high price volatility. Hence, you need to have a good market understanding and experience to participate in this business.
To start investing in cryptocurrencies, you need to have an account with a broker such as Binance.
30. Electrical Shop
This is a business that deals with electrical appliances such as bulbs, sockets, and plugs. With the increase in electricity connectivity across the country, the need for electrical appliances is rising. This demand makes an electrical shop among the top 30 businesses to start in Kenya with 200K.
The electrical shop business does well across any part of the country as long as the residents have access to electricity. Due to the technical nature of these products, you need to understand basic electrical skills.
This will assist in guiding customers and most cases helping them to install and do connections and simple repairs. To do this business, you need a shop and stock to start. You also require the relevant licenses to ensure you are operating within the law.
Below is a recap of the top 30 businesses to start in Kenya with 200K.
- Cyber café
- Car wash business
- M-Pesa agent business
- Wines and spirits
- Cereal Shop
- Movie shop
- Delivery business
- Fish business
- Bodaboda business
- Cosmetics shop
- Milk shop
- Cooking gas business
- General shops
- Play station games place
- Executive barbershop/Kinyozi
- Selling phone accessories
- Printing and photocopying
- Shoe business
- Furniture shop
- Laundry business
- Forex trading
- Small bar business
- Cryptocurrency investment
- Electrical shop