Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s Founding Father, was known for his insistence that people should go back to the farms and start self-sustaining ventures rather than clog up the city streets begging for jobs and assistance.
There are several small business ideas that can be implemented with little money in both rural and urban areas. Most of these business ideas are in the agricultural sector. As the government looks to bolster Agriculture in the country, these are the most lucrative business ideas that require small amounts of capital in 2023.
1) Firewood Delivery Business
Firewood is a commodity in plentiful supply in the forested parts of the country. On the other hand, this same commodity is in short supply in open areas where farms, schools and upcoming trading centers compete for the little available space. There-in lies a potential business venture that doesn’t require a lot of capital to set-up. In order to succeed in this business you need to:
- Find a reliable source of mature wood
- Ensure that this source of wood complies with the national environmental standards
- Buy a panga and axe and do the hard work of cutting the wood
- You also need to organize for transport from point A (source) to point Z (market)
Preparing the wood and transporting it to the market will cost you about Ksh.10 per piece of wood. You can then sell each piece at Ksh.20 especially in places around Kiambu and Mombasa Counties and therefore make double profit.
2) Gathering and Sale of Scrap Metal
Gathering and selling used scrap metals, containers, scrap jewelry and equipment etc for the purpose of recycling is one of the most lucrative small business ideas for the Kenyan rural folk. This is because villagers tend to believe that there is no value left in some of these items and you can easily find them lying all about. If you can gather a substantial amount, these materials can be exchanged for a decent amount of cash. You will require:
- Knowledge of where to sell them. Look for recycling plants operating in big towns nearby and get a rough idea of what they need.
- Find time to move around the villages and estates collecting scrap metals and used glass bottles
- You can set aside a small budget to pay those who will demand for compensation in exchange for their scrap metal
- You may also want to invest in a few business cards so people with scrap metal supplies can reach you whenever they have new stock
- A weighing scale and large collection bags will also come in handy
3) Agricultural Products Distribution Business
If you don‘t like the idea of going farming what about marketing produce from the farmers and doing the work of delivery yourself to the market? Farm products’ distribution can be a viable small business in Kenya in 2023.
You can for instance go to a rural farm in Kisii, order for as many bananas as possible and deliver them at a cost to a buyer in Nairobi. Or you can even travel all the way to Kieni in Nyeri county, buy onions at Ksh.20 per kilo and deliver them to a hotel in Mombasa at Ksh.40 per kilo.
What do you need to start?
- Good marketing and networking skills so that you can access high-end customers who are willing to pay well for your deliveries
- Knowledge on good and cost-effective means of transport
- Starting capital to enable you buy from farmers and deliver to the buyers in good time (Starting capital may vary from as low as Ksh.100,000 for small groceries to as high as several millions for bulk supplies).
4) Transport Business
A small scale transport business can be a good business idea for Kenya in 2023 that requires little capital.
You can start small with a motor-bike which aside from carrying passengers can be used as a courier service especially by farmers who want to move their produce from the farms to the market centers. If you have some more capital then an old pick-up or Probox van would be a better investment. Or you can even inject a bit more capital to bring a tractor which as we know has many roles to play in the livelihood of the rural folk. Requirements:
- Starting capital (Ksh.100,000 for motorbike, Ksh.500,000 for second hand pickup or Probox)
- Good relations with the rural folk
- A reliable source of fuel and mechanical support
5) Organic Farming Business
For those who are into Agriculture, organic farming is becoming a lucrative small business idea to start in Kenya in 2023. Look, most farmers today are engaging in inorganic farming. They use tonnes of fertilizer, pesticides and even hormones to deliver the best looking products at the cheapest possible prices. However, as we all know, inorganic food is not good for the human body.
If you think something needs to be done to change the way modern people eat, then why not an organic farm in Kenya. Look for organic shops in big towns and tell them about your plans. Think about branding your produce so that everyone knows that you‘re an organic hub,
Requirements to start an organic farm
- Knowledge of organic farming (talk to your area agriculture officer on the possibilities of this)
- Good marketing and branding skills
- A farm, source of water, labor and transport
6) Small Construction Company
If you are looking for a good business idea to start in 2023, think about a construction business targeting farmers and government tenders.
If all other options still sound like far-fetched dreams to you, then the idea of being the construction guru in your area might impress you. All you need to do is pay for a short carpentry, masonry or electrical technician‘s course at your nearest village polytechnic. As a qualified carpenter you will be in position to create things like chicken coops and barns for profit.
As a mason you will be able to tap into all masonry projects including construction of new schools in your area. On the other hand, if you‘re an electrician then the fact that rural electrification is taking effect will definitely mean booming business to you
What you require:
- Patience and commitment to learning
- Competence and high quality pieces of work
- Small capital (You can actually start a thriving business with as little as Ksh10,000).
7) Start Camping Site and Hiking Services
Do you live near a recreation facility? Are enthusiastic about being outdoor and exploring new horizons? Then why don‘t you start small with a camping site cum hiking services business?
You only need to market your business aggressively on social media so that you can get as many local and international tourists to come visit your place. Once they come, you can give them a tour of the recreation facility, explain its history and stuff like that. It may seem like you are starting too small, but in reality that‘s how some of the country‘s largest tours and travel firms were started. Case in point is Bonfire Adventures, a leading firm that grew from such humble beginnings.
What you need to start a camping site business idea in Kenya in 2023:
- Passion for travelling and understanding history
- Ability to market your destination to a paying audience
- You also need to be patient as the business may take some time to establish
- You can make effort to brand your small business e.g. by creating a simple website, social media page, some posters and business cards.
8) Tutorial Services
Have some free time during school holidays and evenings? Well, you can offer some kind of tutorage as a paid service to your rural folk. From giving early childhood lessons to coaching Grade 6, Class 8 and Form 4 candidates your opportunities are limitless for 2023. All you need to do is give this job your best and once you establish a track record of helping students perform well then your tuition business is just about to take off.
What you require to start a tutorial business idea in Kenya:
- Literate background – (those with diploma or degree may have an upper hand)
- A training facility (you can use your living room as you start and keep growing)
- Good relations with the villagers (of course no one will want to entrust you with their young students if you‘re a person of questionable morals)
9) Onion Farming Business
There is a rising demand for locally grown onions in Kenya, making it a priority small business idea for 2023 in Kenya. Past estimates by the F.A.O showed that 50% of red onions consumed in the country are imported from Tanzania (which essentially means that local farmers are being overwhelmed by demand). So what could be better than growing red onions for a blossoming market?
It is possible to make very high returns per square foot with red onions. They are one of the most profitable plants. Here‘s how you can make your first million with this spicy sensation.
First, understand this is not a get-rich-quick scheme at all. You certainly won‘t make Ksh.1 million overnight. But with smart choices and hard work, you really can make a decent income growing them. At the same time, as with any other business, it is important to start small, growing a few proven varieties the first season, and introducing more varieties as your knowledge improves or as you discover new options that do best in your area.
So let‘s do the math. Most commercial growers use up to 5 acres of land. Such a plantation produces about 30 tonnes of onions in 4 months. Each Kilo is bought at a farm-gate price of Ksh.40. That amounts to Ksh1.2 Million in sales.
10) Strawberry Farming
Strawberry farming is another promising small business idea that requires little capital to start in Kenya in 2023.
Strawberry farming has huge income potential and can easily turn you from a job-seeker to a job-creator or from an employee to an employer in less than 12 months. Would you like to find out how? Keep reading the next few paragraphs.
You don‘t have to be an agriculture expert to succeed in Strawberry farming in Kenya. All you need to do is find a good piece of land (e.g. in Isinya, Machakos, Kiambu, Nakuru, Naivasha, Kilifi…or simply anywhere near a potential market).
Then you need to source for the right seedlings – and this is where you need to contact KARI for assistance.
Alternatively, you can talk to other successful farmers in your region for assistance in sourcing for the right crop.
You can learn how to start a strawberry farming in Kenya here.