With 1 million shillings in Kenya, there are numerous businesses that you can start. These businesses are dependent on your interest, experience, and expected income. Below is a list of the Top 10 businesses to start with 1 million shillings in Kenya.

Top 30 Businesses You Can Start in Kenya with 200K

1.  Hardware Business

Starting and running a hardware business is capital intensive and hence fits well with a 1 million budget. However, the returns and demand are also high making it a lucrative venture. To learn more about the details of starting hardware, here is my earlier piece on how to start and run a successful hardware business in Kenya.

Most of the cost will go towards buying stock. These are items such as cement, locks, and tanks. The business should be strategically located and consider having services such as delivery to attract more customers.

On average, you can make a 10% return on your investment per month. In this case, this translates to 100,000 shillings.

2.  Real estate business

1 million shillings capital gives you the flexibility to venture into the real estate business. However, due to the high amount of capital needed, you should start small and expand over time.

To start, consider buying land in cheaper areas and then selling at a profit. With the Kenyan real estate market growing fast, it is possible to make 100% profit from this land within a few years. Learn more about real estate investment in Kenya.

Target to buy land in areas that are affordable and fast growing to tap into this growth. When getting into the real estate business, ensure to conduct due diligence to avoid falling into fraud. In case of doubts, seek the services of professionals such as lawyers.

3.  Buying and Selling cars

This amount of capital is adequate to get into the car business as it allows you to buy and sell small cars or second-hand cars.

With most cars sold in Kenya being second-hand, there is a ready market for them. Depending on the condition and type, you can get a good car for as little as 300,000 shillings and then resell it for a profit.

Target to sell cars that are in high demand in the country such as Toyotas to achieve faster turnover. One of the strategies to grow your car business is having an online presence. Some of these online tools to have include social media pages and an active website.

4.  Dairy farming

With Kenya being a net importer of milk and milk products, there is a huge opportunity to tap into the dairy sector and hence the need for dairy farming.

This is even better if you already have land that you can use. Dairy farming products such as milk have a ready market and hence you will only concentrate on production. You can either sell your milk to processors or get local markets such as hotels and schools.

Target to get good dairy cows to achieve optimal production. Other requirements for success in this business are having sheds and feeding your cows well. Here is a detailed review of how to start a dairy farming business in Kenya.

5. Executive car wash business

The high number of cars on Kenyan roads makes the car wash business lucrative and in high demand. You can attest to this by the number of car washes that are coming up in major towns and cities.

However, due to capital limitations, there is an inadequate supply of executive car washes, and hence a key area to tap into.

With 1 million shillings, you can start a car in a secure and accessible location and offer other services as well such as a waiting lounge.

With such services, you will attract more customers who are willing to pay more.

6.  Taxi business

Kenya leads online taxis use in the region. These include service providers such as Uber and Bolt. I had earlier articulated the requirements and process of becoming an Uber driver in Kenya.

To join this business, you require a good and well-maintained car that you can get within the 1 million shillings budget.

If you are doing an online taxi business, you will need to register with the online taxi service providers for activation. Depending on your work ethic, this business makes between 2,000 and 5,000 shillings per day.

If you are doing the normal taxi business, it will be hard at first but as you grow your customer base, the business will expand in the long term.

7.  Manufacturing business

Kenya remains a big importer of manufactured goods. To address this imbalance, the government offers many incentives to manufacture goods locally creating an opportunity to tap in with 1 million shillings capital.

Due to capital limitations, this will only enable you to start small manufacturing for low-value goods and scale over time.

Some of the items you can manufacture include plastics, shoes, belts, and other household items. Manufacturing needs you to have the skills and grow your market base to become competitive.

Some manufactured goods enjoy tax incentives if done locally. Take advantage of such to reduce your production costs and grow your profits.

8.  Restaurant business

Restaurant services will always be in demand as they deal with food. This makes it one of the top 10 businesses to start with 1 million shillings in Kenya.

To succeed in this business, you should ensure to maintain quality and hygiene. A good restaurant should be set up in a busy location that is safe and has enough space to accommodate your customers.

To reduce operating costs, consider negotiating with suppliers and buying in bulk. You should also adopt online delivery services to grow your business reach.

Most of the capital will go towards buying key items such as tables and cutlery.

9.  Venture capital business

Instead of running a business directly, you can do venture capitalism. This involves investing in businesses that have big potential but are low on capital.

You will then have to spend a lot of time doing market research business to tap into these businesses. Venture capital business is high risk but also highly rewarding if it succeeds.

When getting into a commitment, ensure to have a well-drafted agreement to minimize future conflicts.

10.  Matatu Business

Matatu business is among the top 10 businesses to start with 1 million shillings in Kenya. This amount of capital allows you to get a good second-hand matatu van that you can use.

The lack of a public transport system means that over 90% of Kenyans use matatus. An indicator of demand and market for these services.

On average, a Matatu could make you between 3,000 and 5,000 shillings per day. If you want to learn more about how to start and run a matatu business in Kenya, here is the breakdown.

Below is a recap of the Top 10 Businesses to Start with 1 million shillings in Kenya.

  1. Hardware Business
  2. Real estate business
  3. Buying and selling cars
  4. Executive carwash business
  5. Dairy farming
  6. Taxi business
  7. Manufacturing business
  8. Restaurant business
  9. Venture capital business
  10. Matatu business


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