As a developing country, there are a lot of profitable business opportunities in Kenya. This article will focus on the top 50 most profitable business ideas in Kenya.

The type and nature of business will depend on several things such as capital, skills, and location. Bigger businesses will require more capital as opposed to smaller ones. Others need you to have specialized skills to do so. On location, some businesses will do better in rural areas while others will thrive in towns.

Hence it is important to conduct adequate market research before starting any business to ensure you have the market dynamics knowledge.

Top 50 most profitable business ideas in Kenya

Here is a list of the top 50 most profitable business ideas in Kenya.

1.      Mobile food service

Mobility in food service allows you to target a bigger customer base as opposed to having a stationery hotel. This is because you can follow the customer easily in areas where they are.

To do this, you need to have a car or truck that can act as a kitchen and service area. You also need to get the relevant permits from the local authority.

2.      Daycare Business

With parents rushing daily to earn a living, the need for daycare services is expanding. This added to the growing Kenyan population means that more babies will require these services.

A successful daycare business should be strategically located in residential areas for easy access by customers. Most daycare charges are daily and hence the more babies you get, the more money you make.

3.      Travel and Tour Business

Kenya is a leading tour destination country with dozens of tourist attraction sites such as game parks and beautiful beaches. This allows the country to serve millions of both domestic and international tourists yearly.

The availability of numerous tourist sites has made this sector attractive to investors offering tour and travel services. Success in this business requires knowledge of tour places, hotels, and good customer service. Here is a detailed breakdown of how to start a tour and travel business in Kenya.

4.      Forex trading

This business involves buying and selling of currencies. Forex market is the largest market in the world with millions of traders participating in it daily.

The Forex market offers a lot of opportunities for successful traders. However, you need to get a trading account with a forex broker and invest in Knowledge. These are the simple steps on how to start forex trading in Kenya.

5.      Fitness trainer

As more people become more aware of the need to stay fit and healthy, there is a growing demand for fitness trainers.

This involves training people to keep fit and healthy. It can either happen at the gym or home for those who can’t make it to the gym. As a trainer, you should have the right skills and certifications. With this, it is easier to earn customer confidence and make more profits.

6.      Running a school

The need for education is insatiable. This is because it is mandatory to school for a better future. Although this business requires a lot of capital to actualize, it is very rewarding. Some of the capital uses go to getting enough land and putting up the right structures such as classrooms and dormitories.

7.      Cyber Café

Cyber cafes are go-to points for people to access services such internet and printing/photocopying services.

A cyber café should be located in a busy but quiet area that is easily accessible. You need to invest in items such as computers, printers, and laminators for a successful business.

8.      Blogging

Bloggers make money through creating content. Some of the ways to make money through blogging include affiliate marketing, AdSense, and direct marketing.

To start a blog, you are required to have a domain name and web hosting services. These are all highlighted in my earlier article below on how to start and run a blog in Kenya.

9.      Software development

The uptake of technology and automation is growing the demand for software. The software helps run these machines and computers. They could also be in the form of apps on our phones.

You require software development skills to run this business successfully. You also do need consistence marketing to get the customers.

Good software targets to solve an existing problem and can integrate well with the existing hardware.

10.  Transcribing business

Transcription is an online job that is gaining popularity as more customers need translation services. To be a good transcriber, you are required to be a good listener and writer.

You will also need to register with a transcribing platform where you can bid for jobs. This is a breakdown of the top 15 transcribing sites in Kenya.

11.  Fruit selling

Kenyans intake a lot of fruits daily. The country is also a major producer of different fruit varieties. High demand and consumption of fruits have created a big lucrative market for fruit sellers.

One advantage of doing this business is it doesn’t require a lot of capital for startup. You only need a permit and a fruit stand to start. You should also consider selling fruit juice as it fetches more to the raw fruit.

12.  CV Writing Business

This business targets those people that are searching for jobs with thousands of graduates joining the job market yearly. There is also a large number of workers who are seeking to change jobs as well. An indicator of a huge market to offer these services.

You require good marketing skills for job seekers to identify your business.

13.  Pet walking

This is an emerging business as more Kenyans embrace keeping pets at home. Due to time constraints by pet owners, they hire specialists to do pet walking.

It is ideal to do this business in affluent areas as that is where most pet owners are.  To do this successfully, you need to learn how to handle pets and have a passion for it.

14.  Dog breeding

Dog breeding entails the breeding of dogs for sale. You will mostly sell them to individuals and institutions that require dogs either as pets or guards.

Dog breeding is lucrative as explained in the article on how to start a dog breeding business.

15.  Car dealership

As the number of car owners expands, so does the need for a car dealership business. This business is however capital intensive because cars are not cheap to buy. As a car dealer, you will also require enough stock to serve different customer classes.

A dealership should be strategically located for easier customer access. The location should also be areas with wealthy and middle-class neighborhoods as they are the majority of car buyers.

16.  Bodaboda business

Bodaboda are termed as revolutionally due to the convenience in transport they offer especially in the remote areas.

It is relatively easy and affordable to get into this business. A bodaboda costs an average of 100,000 shillings to buy. You also need a license and insurance cover.

On average, a bodaboda could make between 1,000 and 2,000 shillings daily depending on the location and work ethic of the rider.

This business is also profitable and viable in every part of Kenya. Here is a breakdown of how to start a bodaboda business in Kenya.

17.  Online taxi business

The online taxi industry in Kenya is among the largest in Africa. Several operators are now available locally including Uber, Bolt, and Little Cab.

This industry has made it lucrative for taxi drivers as a connection between customers and drivers happens online.

To start the business, you need to have a car that is inspected and verified by the service provider. You can learn more about how to join Uber in Kenya. On average, online taxi drivers make at least 2,000 shillings daily after deducting expenses.

18.  Car wash business

Although I have done a detailed explanation of how to start and run a car wash business in Kenya, here are some tips. These make it among the top 50 most profitable business ideas in Kenya.

A successful car wash business should be located near the roads, offices, or residential areas where it is easier to get customers. On average, it costs 200 shillings to wash a single car.

19.  Grocery shop

This is one of the most common businesses in Kenya and also the easiest to start. Grocery shops are found all across the country and deal with basic food items.

Some of these items include vegetables and fruits. To start a grocery shop, you need to have a selling place and a reliable supplier.

Locating near residences is the best as that is where customers are. You can start a grocery shop with as little as 10,000 shillings.

20.  Dairy farming

As a net importer of milk, Kenya still has a big room for dairy farmers. The demand for milk is insatiable presenting an opportunity for the dairy farming business.

This business is capital-intensive but also lucrative. Milk is paid per liter and hence the more milk you produce the more the income.

To do this business, you require good milk-producing cows based on your location climate. Some of the common dairy cows include Friesian Ayrshire and Jersey breeds. Check this interesting piece on how to start a profitable dairy farming business in Kenya.

21.  Avocado farming

Avocados have become the new gold due to the high demand and higher prices. This situation has made avocado investors make big profits.

Avocado farming requires land and the availability of water. The market is readily available as there are brokers who visit farms to harvest. On average, one avocado cost 10 shillings. A mature avocado tree could produce up to 1,000 fruits per season.

This translates to at least 10,000 shillings per mature avocado tree. The more avocado trees you get, the more the income.

22.  Bakery shop

Baking products are in high demand across the country. One key example is the Kenyan’s love for cakes and bread as a breakfast meal.

Baked products such as cakes also make a key meal during special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and graduations.

The best location to set up a bakery is along busy streets, near offices and residential areas. To run a bakery, you will need to invest in baking tools such as an oven.

23.  Online training

The growth in adoption and use of the internet has made it possible for people to learn online. This could either be audio or video.

You should identify your area of expertise and start offering lessons online. Online training is available 24 hrs. To make income, you should charge your trainees.

This business needs patience and competence to grow the number of trainees in the long term. One of the most used free training sites is YouTube. However, you can also use other specialized sites such as Udemy.

24.  Academic writing

Academic writing has become the source of income for thousands of Kenyans. Many writing sites offer these services. You only need to choose one that suits your needs.Here is a list of the Top 10 best academic writing sites in Kenya.

This business entails taking academic writing jobs and getting payment for every successful task.  To start, you need access to a computer and reliable internet. You are also required to have the necessary skills to produce quality work.

The nature of this business is that the more jobs you complete successfully, the more work you get and hence the higher the income.

25.  Cosmetics shop

It is hard to satisfy the beauty industry due to the ever-growing demand for these products. A successful cosmetics shop should be located along busy streets or in malls.

The business should also have different variety of items to offer customers choices.

26.  Hardware business

Hardware is an integral business in Kenyan society. They deal in items that are key to our day-to-day needs. Some of these include paints, pipes, cement, and different types of construction materials.

As explained in my earlier article on how to start and run a hardware business in Kenya, it should be located in a strategic location with enough space for big cars.

You should also offer delivery services as most hardware items are bulky.

27.  Phone Repair

The huge uptake of mobile phones in the country means that repair jobs are also in plenty. A phone repair business needs you to have rights kills.

It is a technical business that is very lucrative. A good phone repair business should be located in an accessible along the busy streets.

28.  Furniture shop

Every household and office uses furniture. This means that the business is lucrative and can be located in any part of the country.

The furniture shop deals with many items such as seats, tables and beds. Success in this business requires you to provide affordable but high-quality products. You also need to keep tabs on the ever-changing designs and fashion.

29.  Wines and Spirits shops

These types of shops are giving traditional bars a run for their customers as their popularity grows. The benefits for such shops are the ability to locate them near residential areas making it easier for customers to access.

The shop should be well-stocked to give customers a choice. It should also be located in an easily accessible area. To start a wine and spirits shop, you need a liquor license. Here is the process of applying for a liquor license in Kenya.

30.  Mitumba business

Mitumba or the second-hand business is big in the country. Mostly, it deals with clothes and shoes. This business is easy to start in the form of capital and licenses.

There is a ready market with millions of Kenyans using these items regularly. To start the business, you need a reliable supplier and strategic location. If you lack adequate capital to set up a physical location, you can do hawking as a start.

31.  Cleaning services

The growth of the middle class has created a niche for cleaning services. Cleaning entails a wide range including homes, offices, clothes, furniture, and carpets.

The business requires investment in cleaning equipment and detergents. It is ideal for location in middle-class areas where the customer potential is high.

32.  Internet connection business

The Internet has become a basic need as most services go online. This has created a big need for connections to both homes and offices.

This business is capital-intensive and requires investment in connection devices such as radios, routers, and cables.

Most customers make payments every month depending on the bandwidth size. It is ideal to start this business in urban areas due to the dense population.

33.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services

As more businesses and individuals go online, there is a need for websites and blogs to rank. This happens through search engine optimization.

Hence, SEO experts are in high demand across the country. This business requires up-to-date information on SEO tools and requirements.

The business pays for every work done. You also have to market yourself so that website owners can know about your services.

34.  Barbershop

Barbershop is a universal business that can be located all over the country. This business mostly deals with cutting hair and other related services.

There is no specific gender to target but most customers are men. A successful barbershop should be located in an accessible area. you also have to invest in key equipment such as shaving machines, good seats, and head-washing materials.

35.  Movie shop

Movie shop deals with selling the latest movies at an affordable price. The best place to put up a movie shop is along busy streets and in residential areas.

This makes it easy for customers to access and buy. You require access to high-speed internet and fast and powerful computers.

You also need to have up-to-date knowledge of the movie industry to guide and serve customers effectively.

A movie costs an average of 50 shillings.

36.  Perfume business

Perfume businesses are starting to pop up across major towns. This is an indicator of an existing ready market as the middle class expands.

Mostly, you deal with both local and foreign perfumes. To target a larger market, you should sell both the low-end and high-end perfumes.

Business locations should also be easily accessible such as along busy streets and in shopping malls.

37.  Mobile money agency

Mobile money is big business in the country. Almost every adult Kenyan uses mobile money regularly. This business deals with all types of financial institutions such as banks and Telcom.

The most common mobile money service is M-PESA due to its dominance in the market. This business deals with physical money and thus requires advanced security measures. You also need to have a starting capital known as float.

You earn commissions based on the services offered. Hence, the more customers you serve, the more commission you make.

38.  Web Designing

Web designing deals with creating different types of websites for your customers. Some examples include blogs and e-commerce sites.

You need to have web designing skills to succeed in this business. Consistent marketing is also key to reaching more potential customers.

39.  Cereal shop

Cereals are an integral part of the Kenyan diet. Hence, they are in high demand and these shops could be located in any part of the country.

Not only are they healthy but also not easily perishable. You need to get a reliable supplier and offer choices as there are dozens of cereals in the market.

Some of the most common types of cereals include beans, maize, rice, and wheat.

40.  Photography

The need for pictures has never been as high as it Is currently. The online space has also made it possible for photographers to monetize their pictures through various sites such as Shutterstock and Pexel.

To do a photography business, you need to have a good camera and the skills. you also have to spend time marketing your services to grow the customer base. Some of the best places to market include events such as weddings and parties.

41.  Events management business

This business entails organizing events on behalf of your customers at a fee. Some of the common events include parties, weddings, and conferences.

You need to understand logistics and have contacts with various service providers to make it in this business. Some of these include tents, food, and music providers.

42.  Water business

If you have been observant, you can note the growth of water vendors across estates and towns. Kenya is still water deficient and hence there is a huge opportunity in providing clean and safe water.

This business requires you to invest in water purification equipment and space to put them in. Your main customers will be homesteads and offices.

To become competitive, consider doing home deliveries.

43.  Cooking gas retail business

Almost every homestead uses cooking gas nowadays making this business a high demand and lucrative one.

You need certification from the relevant government agency in charge of energy to sell cooking gas. It is also an added advantage if you do delivery to your customers.

Having a variety of cooking gas brands will also help you attract more customers.

44.  Selling timber

Timber business is a lucrative venture as well making it among the top 50 most profitable business ideas in Kenya.

Timber is a key item for use during construction and making furniture. You will have to get a reliable supplier who is affordable to get an edge in the market. Due to the bulkiness of timber, it will be an added advantage to do delivery for your customers.

Mostly, this does better in urban areas where planting of trees is almost impossible, and hence most people have to buy.

45.  Butchery

Meat is big business in the country. This caters for both red and white meats. A butchery should be set up near residential areas as that is where customers are.

Some of the most common types of meat in high demand include beef, goat meat, pork, and chicken. You should consider cooking for those customers that need it when ready.

46.  Chicken farming

Although I have done a detailed article about the chicken farming business in Kenya, here are some of the Key points. Most chicken farmers do it either to get meat or eggs.

Both of these products are in high demand across the country with a ready market for them. To farm chicken successfully, you have to adhere to set farming techniques and ensure they are well-fed and healthy.

Some of the key customers that buy these products include hotels, schools, and supermarkets.

47.  Apple farming

I say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. In this follow-up, apples are big money makers for farmers making them join the list of top 50 most profitable business ideas in Kenya.

To farm apples, you need land and the right seedlings. The market is almost guaranteed for apple fruits both in retail and wholesale vendors.

48.  Making beads

Due to the cultural influence, the Kenyan market is full of beads-making and selling businesses. These could be in the form of necklaces and bracelets.

You need to learn the bead-making skills. You can either do it formally in a technical school or learn from an experienced person.

This business does best in urban areas where you can target both local and foreign nationals and tourists. This business is highly profitable and the startup costs are minimal.  You can also do it in the comfort of your house and sell your products online.

49.  Hawking

Hawking Is a full-time business for thousands of Kenyans. You will find hawkers all over the towns, along busy streets, and in Matatu stages.

Some of the key hawking items include clothes, shoes, and food stuff. The benefit of this business is its mobility and limited capital to start.

50.  Matatu Business

Matatu is the go-to transport vehicle for public transport in Kenya. They serve millions of Kenyans daily. With this, they make a profit through collecting fares.

The business is capital intensive depending on the type of Matatu you need. A second-hand imported 14-seater matatu costs at least 2-3 million shillings.

Normally, a matatu makes at least 3,000 to 5,000 shillings as profit daily.

Benefits of starting a business in Kenya

  • Flexibility – Having a business allows you to work within your own rules. Something different from when employed by someone else.
  • Keeping the profits – if running a successful business, you will enjoy the benefits of keeping all the profits as an entrepreneur.
  • Creating employment – As the business expands, you will need to get more people to assist in running it. In the process, you will be creating employment helping to reduce the amount of unemployment in the country.
  • Customer satisfaction – When you start a business and serve an existing gap in the market, you will be helping serve the customers ensuring the satisfaction levels are high.

Below is a recap of the top 50 most profitable business ideas in Kenya.

  1. Mobile food service
  2. Daycare Business
  3. Travel and Tour Business
  4. Forex trading
  5. Fitness trainer
  6. Running a school
  7. Cyber Café
  8. Blogging
  9. Software development
  10. Transcribing business
  11. Fruit selling
  12. CV Writing Business
  13. Pet walking
  14. Dog breeding
  15. Car dealership
  16. Bodaboda business
  17. Online taxi business
  18. Car wash business
  19. Grocery shop
  20. Dairy farming
  21. Avocado farming
  22. Bakery shop
  23. Online training
  24. Academic writing
  25. Cosmetics shop
  26. Hardware business
  27. Phone Repair
  28. Furniture shop
  29. Wines and Spirits shops
  30. Mitumba business
  31. Cleaning services
  32. Internet connection business
  33. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services
  34. Barbershop
  35. Movie shop
  36. Perfume business
  37. Mobile money agency
  38. Web Designing
  39. Cereal shop
  40. Photography
  41. Events management business
  42. Water business
  43. Cooking gas retail business
  44. Selling timber
  45. Butchery
  46. Chicken farming
  47. Apple farming
  48. Making beads
  49. Hawking
  50. Matatu Business


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