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Small Businesses To Start In Nairobi

Starting and running a business in Kenya is one of the most tedious tasks given the tough economic times currently experienced. However, for most people who have mastered their nitch, doing business within the capital is very easy and profitable.

Not everyone is cut for the 9 AM-5 PM. Ultimately, employments are temporary and can be gone just as soon as they came.

Thus,  having a side hustle on the side is very essential and comes in handy especially when one is retrenched or experiences a tough life situation such as sickness or even luxury.

Some of these businesses do not require a lot of capital to start. Rather, having Sh10,000-30,000 would be a good start and can be doubled as the business progresses.

Here are some of the most profitable businesses you can start within Nairobi:

  • Cyber Cafe Business

Starting a cybercafe business is a good bet because it is not going out of the market anytime soon. This is because the world is diversifying and more people are embracing digitalization. Thus, with good internet and a conducive location, the cybercafe business is most likely to flourish and become profitable within Nairobi.

Notably,  cyber cafe businesses should be started where there is an influx of customers. Ultimately, it should be located where there is little or no competition.

To start, one will require approximately Sh100,000-200,000, about six computers, business licenses and permits, a printer, strong internet and a few employees to manage things around.

Services offered can include photocopying, online registrations, printing, scanning, graphic and web design, photography, passport and many others. With these services, one can Sh2,000 upto Sh5,000 on a good day.

Cyber Cafe business (Image/Courtesy)

Read: WorldRemit Announces Entrepreneurs Program Targeting 50 Small Businesses in Kenya

  • Boda Boda/Motocycle Business

The Boda Boda business is very lucrative in Nairobi and can get very high profits. There are businessmen who have hugely invested in the boda boda industry and are making a good kill.

For instance, there are some who have about 20 fleets within Nairobi distribute in different estates. With these, they offer parcel delivery services and ideally pick clients from one location to the other.

The most important aspect in running this business is to have a specific base and routes of operation, be reliable and creating a good network with clients.

Ultimately, the capital needed is about Sh60,000-110,000 for a good bike.

On a good day, a boda boda business can bring about Sh1,000 hence having a fleet makes it even more profitable.

Boda Boda Riders In Nairobi. [Courtesy]
  • Bakery/Cake Making Business 

The food industry in Nairobi has been doing very well since time memorial hence starting a bakery/cake-making business is a very good idea.

In Nairobi, birthday parties, weddings, baby showers and gender reveals are done every weekend. Cakes are a big part of these celebrations hence a good business/side hustle to run.

One needs to know the basics of baking and be good at it. Also, relevant baking requirements such as trays, ingredients and decorations come in very handy.

Baking can either be done at home or one can open a spot that specifies the same. Ideally, when considering to open a spot, a business license and permit is relevant as well as a team to help manage things.

Cake making business in Nairobi (Image/Courtesy)

Read Also: Facebook Starts Rolling Out Shops Tab For Small Businesses

  • Garbage Collection

The garbage collection business is thriving in Nairobi, with cartels taking charge and making millions every month.

It is also the most undermined job yet it yields so much profit. Take, for instance, the number of apartments within the city and each household pays Sh200 for the garbage collection services.

In most apartments, the garbage collection business is not crowded hence one can negotiate the prices with the landlords or caretakers. Also, an agreement on the time and day to be collected needs to be set for convenience.

One requires the garbage collection bags, cooperation of the landlords and licensing from the Nairobi County government.

Garbage Truck in Nairobi (Image/Courtesy)
  • Car Wash Business

The car wash business is booming in Nairobi going by the population and vehicles available on the road.

Starting a car wash business is quite simple as one needs a good location with ambient parking in a busy area.

New vehicles are being manufactured daily hence the car industry is not going out of the market anytime soon. Hence, this is a boost to the car wash business as the more vehicles are manufactured, the more people are able to own and afford them.

The cost of starting a car wash business is estimated to Sh165,000 where the business owner requires land for leasing payable monthy, business licensing and permits as well as the various equipment for cleaning services.

One can also spice it up and put up a cafe, barbershop or salon on the premises where people can chill as they wit for car washing services.

Car wash in Nairobi (Image/Courtesy)
  • Photography

Photography is a very profitable business more so in the Capital. Photographers are in high demand from people who want a personal picture of themselves as well as companies that need their events covered during celebrations.

With a good camera, the right skills and photography equipment, one can make a good living out of the same. One should create a rate card/price list for the services offered, get a license and pick a specialization. This can be done in one location or remotely where one travels to attend events in different parts.

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Written by Mercy Auma

Passionate about human interest stories and politics. Email:

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