Make a decision. Start a Small Business in Kenya today.

Making ends meet in Kenya is not easy and increasingly becoming a challenge. This is especially if you don’t have a job or a steady flow of income. After graduating from college, many students are finding themselves stuck in finding a job. With the rise in the use of technology, you can start an online or offline business to supplement your income part-time. Small Businesses can also be your full-time venture which when done right, can make you very successful.

This article highlights some of the small businesses you can start in Kenya with little or no capital at all. If you have been looking for small business ideas in Kenya, here are some businesses you can start today!

1. Start an Online T-shirt Small Business in Kenya

T-shirts remain to be cool casual wears. They are classy and elegant for children, youths, and even adults. Custom t-shirts that resonate with the user’s passion are still in high demand. Motorcycle riders love to associate themselves with motorcycle printed t-shirts, rock music lovers would love electric guitar 3D t-shirt, kids would look cool in a Batman or Spiderman t-shirt the same way hikers would love a custom t-shirt with a random mountain quote.

You don’t have to own a T-shirt printing machine; as long as you can make the designs and have a niche, it’s easy to outsource the printing to other businesses. These businesses can print your designed t-shirts at a negotiated price.

How to get started with a t-shirt business:

  1. Find a niche: get to know your target market and their needs. e.g. You can go for Dog, car, travel, funny slogans, and beer lovers.
  2. Make and print quality designs that wow your audience. e.g. 3D quality designs
  3. Create a strong brand bearing in mind your market. e.g. funny quotes about beer
  4. Set up an online shop or market your T-shirts on social media. e.g. Facebook, Instagram etc.
  5. Make sales. You can sell on social media, Olx Kenya, Jumia Kenya or Pigiame.

2. Sell bowties, happy socks, wooden sunglasses and Watches

Just like a T-shirt business, one can sell happy socks, sunglasses, watches, jewelry, bow ties and other cheap but high-value items. These items can be bought from local vendors or from online stores like Alibaba at a low price. You can then advertise and sell them on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram pages and websites like Olx at a profit. The good thing about this small business is that you don’t need a lot of money to start.

3. Affiliate sales and marketing in Kenya

Many Kenyans are now earning their full-time income by selling and marketing products as affiliates. With this kind of business, you only need a computer or smartphone with an internet connection. How it works is that you sell or market other people’s or businesses’ products at a commission. In Kenya some of the best paying affiliate programs are:

Jumia Affiliate:

You create an account with Jumia Kenya affiliate program and they give you a link to their products online store. Then you can paste the link to your blog (if you have one) or social media accounts. When someone buys a product from your link, Jumia gives you a commission. This works well if your social media accounts or blog has a good audience.

Tala and Branch mobile apps

These two applications help people get quick loans to their phones without security or any collateral. Once you become a user, they give you an affiliate link. You can share this link with your family, friends, relatives and social media followers inviting them to join. Every time someone uses the services and repays their first loan, you get a commission. With Tala, you get Kshs 100 and Kshs 500 for Branch.

Sports betting websites

Just like Tala and Branch, sports betting websites in Kenya such as Sportpesa, BetIn and Gamemania gives you a chance to earn every time you invite people and they join the platforms.

A good example is Gamemania where you earn Kshs 200 by joining and a commission every time one of your referral joins.

4. Become a Tour guide in Kenya

How well do you know your city, local area or neighborhood? Kenya attracts many tourists and travelers every year. Most of these travelers are always looking for someone to show them around and give them a local experience. If you believe you have the skills, this is a great way to make money.

List of websites can help you connect with travelers from all over the globe.

  1. Vayable
  2. Tripadvisor
  3. Showaround
  4. Meetrip
  5. Couchsurfing
  6. Like a Local
  7. Viator
  8. Travel and backpacking related Facebook pages and groups

5. Hold a Flea market or Garage sale

If you have items you don’t use or ones from your friends and family, you can organize a garage sale to sell them. Hire a space and invite other people to display their items too.  With time you will make the flea market popular and you can start charging sellers a small fee.

In Nairobi, we have K1 Flea Market in Westland’s where you can sell and buy used and second-hand items. You can also sell on Facebook marketplace groups.

6. Social media marketing in Kenya

Almost everyone in major towns in Kenya is using one social media platform or another. If you are able to attract an audience to your profiles, you can market other people’s products and earn money.

The other option is to offer marketing services to Small Businesses. You can help them generate leads to their social media accounts at a fee or manage their platforms.

7. Start blogging

This may not the fastest and easiest way to make money but if you are patient, it can be a great opportunity. Many people are traveling the world and earning a lot from blogging. You need to start a website and work hard on it.

To succeed in blogging area, you need to:

  1. Have a niche: a specific field and target market e.g. backpacking travel in Kenya, food, lifestyle etc.
  2. Create useful and great content that people will read.
  3. Get audience or readers for your articles

List of ways in which you can make money blogging in Kenya:

  1. Placing banner ads and affiliate links
  2. Sponsored posts
  3. Selling products like eBooks, courses, photos, artworks etc.
  4. Social media marketing
  5. Brand ambassador e.g. for hotels
  6. Sell services like design, consulting, freelance writing etc.

8. Become a freelancer (Website design, Content writer, and Logo design)

Again, if you are good with words, have knowledge of creating websites or are a logo design expert, you can get tasks online and offline which will not cost you much to start.

Many businesses are looking for web content, articles, responsive websites, and logos. In Kenya, you can sign up with the following websites to get started with freelance works:

  1. Ajira digital
  2. Kuhustle
  3. Freelancer
  4. Upwork

9. Start a Music Lessons Small Business

Are you good at music? Can you play the guitar, violin or saxophone like a pro? Then it is way easier for you to make money. All you need is to market your services. Many people want to learn musical instruments or how to sing in the comfort of their home or office.

Post your skills to your targeted audience. You can create an account with, contact people looking for such services on social media, list your services on OLX or Pigiame or set up a location to offer the classes.

List Some of your target market in Kenya could be:

  1. Expatriates
  2. Parents with young children
  3. Private schools
  4. Working middle and upper class
  5. Social groups and organizations

10. Become a real estate agent

The demand for houses for sale in Kenya, rooms to let and plots for sale is on the rise. If you go to social media, you will see people posting asking for vacant rooms.

With little or no money you can get started with this business. Look around your area; are there vacant houses or rooms? If yes, Contact the owner and then post the clear pictures of the rooms on OLX, Facebook pages or Pigiame. You will be amazed by how many requests you get. Earning can be by charging a viewing fee from the person requesting and a commission from the owner. If you are good at it, you can earn up to Kshs 3000 per day.

List of other top  Small Businesses you can start in Kenya with less or no money at all.

  • Start Drop shipping products from Aliexpress and Alibaba
  • Hair salon and barber shop in your neighborhood
  • Mobile apps development
  • Creating business plans and doing research
  • Start a computer repair and maintenance shop
  • Start photography business
  • Moving and cleaning small business in Kenya
  • Courier and errand running services
  • Become real estate agent
  • Events and party planning business
  • Selling sporting goods online
  • Selling Mitumba
  • Tailoring and dressmaking
  • Reselling products on Olx, Pigiame, and Facebook
  • Venture into farming