The Top 15 Most Profitable Business Ideas in Kenya 2021

As unemployment levels rise above the ceiling following the Covid-19 pandemic, many are left pondering their next move even as they try to strike a balance in their lives. There is hope in business, but considering the number of startups out there, it is difficult for anyone to navigate through the business world successfully. There is also the problem of capital.

In this article, I will take you through the top 15 most profitable businesses you can start with little income in 2021. First, here is a recap of the most profitable businesses to start in Kenya:

1) Cyber Café or Internet Services

2) Academic Writing

3) Blogging

4) Forex Trading

5) Online Grocery Store

6) Mobile Money Transfer and Banking Agency

7) Boutique and Second Hand Clothes

8) Snacks and Drinks Business

9) Car Wash Business

10) Wines and Spirits Business

11) Bookshop Business

12) Bakery Business

13) Catering Business

Considering the rise of internet technology over the past decade or so, it is no brainer to see that our top 5 best businesses in Kenya are online ventures. We start off with the cyber café business which started well over 20 years ago, and continues to grow as more online opportunities emerge.

1) Cyber Café/Internet Business

Cyber café businesses are here to stay despite the increased availability of personal computers in homes, businesses, and schools. There is still a very large number of people who seek cyber services for a variety of reasons. Think of that individual who wants to download, print, scan, and send documents through email. Think about the thousands of university graduates who are looking for jobs online. Many people may also be wishing to file their KRA returns in Kenya but they are either too busy or unable to file their returns by themselves.

Whilst there could be many of them who can do all these from the comfort of their homes, a larger number of these consumer groups have little income to invest in all the internet services. Thus, internet services still remains the most profitable business for young and upcoming entrepreneurs in Kenya.

Requirements and Profits

To start a cyber café business in Kenya, you need a capital of between KES 50,000 and KES 200,000 depending on your location, budget, and plans.

You also need licenses from your county government, which usually range between KES 5,000 and KES 15,000 depending on your location. Nairobi is charges the most licensing fees for such businesses. You can obtain your license online or through the city council.

Read: How to Obtain a Business License in Kenya

Location is also an important factor to consider when starting a cyber café or internet service business in Kenya. A good location is the ground floor of a busy building of a central business district or a residential area without competition. You can also locate your cyber café near a school, offices or university.

You also need computers, printers and internet connection. You require quality computers with good speed and memory, as well as a three in one printer that can print, scan and photocopy at the same time. You should do enough research to find equipment that will serve you well.

In terms of profitability, a good cyber café business that is strategically located can earn you something between KES 1,000 – KES 5,000. That comes to about KES 30,000 – KES 150,000 per month after deducting rent and expenses.

2) Academic Writing

Academic writing is one of the most lucrative online businesses in Kenya. The best thing about the business is that it requires low capital, involves low risks, and yields high returns. It is like a form of employment, but you decide the time and amount of tasks you are willing to perform because you are paid according to the quantity of work you do.

To start academic writing in Kenya in 2021, you require a lap top or computer, internet connection, and a writing account. A writing account is basically an online platform where you access the jobs.

This job entails writing assignments, essays, term papers and projects for students working abroad. There are several online companies that have access to customers, and they only require you to do a test and submit your academic certificates. If you qualify, they create an account for you where you will monitor, check available orders and take the ones you are interested in. You can then monitor your orders in progress and completed orders, and get paid after every two or four weeks.

In this writing job, quality and originality is required. That is why it is mostly suitable for university students or graduates who have a good command of English, writing skills, and creativity.

Some of the best paying academic writing accounts you can create include: Academia-Research, EssayPro, EssayShark, Uvocorp, and Edusson.

For a comprehensive guide on how to start academic writing job in Kenya is provided through the link: A Guide to Academic Writing in Kenya

3) Blogging

Blogging is one of the best ways to earn passive income in Kenya. Have you ever thought of making income while you are asleep? This should be the business for you in 2021. Through blogging you can earn income from old posts.

As people search for information online, they often use Google and other search engines to filter the massive amount of data online. You can write educational, informative, entertaining, and inspiring articles on any topic of your choice. Once you get enough audience on your blog, you can start thinking about monetizing your writing services. You can do so by applying for Google AdSense, which pays for advertisement clicks on your website. You can also use affiliate marketing or display banners to advertise your own items such as mobile phones and eBooks.

To start a blog in Kenya, the first step is to look for domain hosting company such as Hostpinnacle Kenya. After they create a web domain for you, it will be your full responsibility to design and create articles that will attract viewers into your new website. It will take time for the website to peak, even two or five years. However, people who have invested their time and resources consistently over a period of time will tell you that your patience will eventually pay.

Think of blogs such as Tuko News,,, etc. They did not start earning just as soon as they started. It took time, and everything worth celebrating is worth waiting.

4) Forex Trading

The fourth of our ten best businesses in Kenya for 2021 is one that is HIGHLY risky but HIGHLY rewarding as well. Forex trading basically involves buying and selling currencies online. These currencies are traded in pairs. For instances, when buying Euro (EUR) versus the U.S. Dollar (USD), the currencies will be paired as EURUSD. You buy the pair when you are certain that EUR is becoming stronger than USD and sell it when you anticipate the USD to become stronger.

To start forex trading business in Kenya, you need an initial investment of at least KES 1,000. However, we do not advise you to start forex trading with such a small amount of capital. If you take a forex trading course on our blog, you will realize that small capital can be depleted in a matter of seconds. The forex trading market is highly volatile, and prices keep changing in all directions. This makes the business one of the most risky ones you can invest in. However, if the trade goes in your favor you can make up to KES 10,000 within one hour.

Go to Forex Education to learn how to open an online forex trading account in Kenya and start earning.

5) Online Grocery Store

The last business in our online edition is an Ecommerce. Starting a grocery store online is a relatively new venture in Kenya but it has already shown to be a promising business. You can take advantage of the growing number of online shoppers in Kenya to sell and deliver groceries especially in town areas. It is one of your best business options for 2021.

Think of Copia, jumia, and Kili Mall, etc. These companies have entered the ecommerce business with relative success, but the grocery segment has not been fully exploited.

To start an online grocery store in Kenya in 2021, you first need to create your website where buyers can order groceries from their homes. You may not need delivery vehicles for a start since you can hire delivery services.

Marketing is essential in this business. You can promote your online business through social media, banners, brochures, and content marketing. When writing your advertisement messages in any platform, be sure to give several reasons why someone should buy from you. The customer should see the benefit you offer them compared to your competitors.

6) Mobile Money Transfer and Banking Agencies

Moving away from the internet-powered businesses, we now transition through a growing small scale business in the financial sector. As the economy grows, many people may need to deposit or send their money. This creates an opportunity for one of the best businesses to start in Kenya.

You can take advantage of this opportunity by starting a bank agency and/or mobile transfer business. Bank agents in Kenya collect deposits and allow cash withdrawals on behalf of major banks in Kenya.

To start a financial agency business in Kenya, you require at least KES 500,000. Most banks want a deposit of at least KES 300,000 to help you run the business and have enough withdrawal funds for your customers. You also need an additional amount for mobile transfer services such as M-Pesa and Airtel Money.

To become a bank agent in Kenya, you need to apply through various banks and submit the required documents. There are requirements for each bank, but most of them want a 1-year operational business, a bank statement showing at least KES 300,000 or 500,000 on the account, KRA Pin Number, ID number, etc.

For a complete guide on how to start a financial agency business in 2021, go to: How to Start a Money Transfer and Bank Agency Business in Kenya. Bank agency and mobile transfer business should be located in a convenient place. The location should be somewhere far from a main banking hall, but with high traffic to attract more customers.

In the M-Pesa business, daily management of business operation is important. You can run the business alone or hire someone who has at least a KCSE Certificate to do the job for you. However, you must know your business more than the person you hire, and keep your third eye on her just in case…

The business activities involving in an Mpesa shop include: depositing the customer’s money, processing customers’ withdrawals, selling airtime, registering new M-Pesa users, selling Safaricom lines. You should learn to be effective and efficient in these activities to ensure that your customers are always satisfied with your services. You can also sell drinks and snacks on the side to increase your income. Speaking of drinks and snacks…

7) Selling Snacks and Drinks

You can start a business of selling drinks and snacks as a standalone business. This business is appropriate for people with a small capital requirement. Generally, a small candy shop may require approximately KES 5,000 – 10,000. If you have 50,000, then it will be better because your profits will increase as your initial capital increases.

To start the business of selling snacks and drinks, location is the first consideration. You can locate your business in a high-traffic street, a bus stop, near a school or institution, inside the market, or in a busy business center. It also makes no sense for you to sell hot beverages in a hot and dry location like Mandera, or a soft drink in a cold place like Limuru.

To maximize profits in a snacks and drinks business, you should minimize expenses and have good customer service. Spend as less as possible in renting space, hiring staff, and paying bills to minimize your costs. You should also talk nicely to customers and offer quality drinks so that customers can keep coming back to your business, hence increasing your revenue.

8) Selling Clothes and Apparels

The business of selling second hand clothes (mitumba) has become one of the most lucrative businesses in the world due to its high demand in Kenya. It is your money-making opportunity for 2021.

There is an adage in the field of economics that says, “An increase in product prices leads to high demand, and a reduction in prices leads to lower demand.” Second hand clothes are imported cheaply from abroad and sold at lower prices in Kenya, which makes them more attractive to low-income earners than designer clothes.

The low-cost of buying second-hand clothes also allows small traders with low capital to make money through the business of selling mitumba.

Alternatively, you can target the high-end consumers by starting a boutique that sells expensive designer clothes, apparels, and beddings. In this category, your focus should be the quality of clothes you sell. They should be trendy to capture the changing fashion trends in the market. Sophisticated consumers who pay more for quality will always look for the new trends.

Thus, you must understand your business, your customers, and the market in general. You should know which trends are more appealing, and to which group of customers.

You might target the young and hippie people such as university students, families that are cautious on price, women, or children.

As always, customer service is essential. Take your customers’ feedback seriously and act on them to improve the quality of your products and services. If you are thinking of starting a clothing business in Kenya in 2021, ensure that the customer’s needs are always your priority.

In terms of capital, you can start a mitumba business with about KES 50,000. With this, you will pay for the rent, which will be between KES 5,000 and KES 15,000 depending on your location. You will then use the rest to buy stock. Usually, a bale of mitumba goes for between 20 and 30K at Gikomba market. If you choose a boutique, you may be required to spend up to KES 100,000 on stock since the designer clothes are more expensive.

9) Car wash Business

If your are looking the best business idea in Kenya, consider this. It is amazing how cars are increasing in Kenya. People are buying cars like clothes nowadays – and there lies an opportunity. I know you are thinking of starting a garage or spare parts business in Kenya. Those are absolutely indisputable sources of income in Kenya, but here I want you to think about car washing. This kind of job requires little capital and skills, and it definitely has customers throughout the year.

The only think you have to consider is location of your business. Avoid crowded places in terms of competitors. Choose a busy town with many cars cruising the road, but with few competitors.

To start a car washing business in Kenya, you may start with your bucket, soap, and water. Just look for space in a strategic location and get a constant supply of water. Then buy your soap and create a brand for your business.

If you have some good capital, you can buy a car washing machine which usually goes for about KES 100,000 in Kenya. The machine is worth investing in because its pressure attracts more customers, makes your work easier, and earns you more money. But if you do not have the capital, start with the tools you have and save a small amount of money daily until you buy your own machine.

10) Wines and Spirits Business

Kenya is a country of heavy drinkers, but the process of establishing and running a Wines and Spirits business in Kenya is quite bureaucratic. If you are thinking of starting this kind of business in Kenya in 2021, be sure you are on the right side of the law. Primarily, you should have proper licensing, which is not the same as your regular business license. Wines and spirits business is for adult customers, and is therefore highly regulated and taxed in Kenya.

However, because alcohol is an addictive drink, there will always be customers entering your bar or pub regardless of how high the prices go. This means that wines and spirit business is one of the best businesses to start in Kenya.

With a high and unquenchable demand, alcohol earns high revenue. It is therefore advisable to start a Wines and Spirits business in Kenya to increase your income in 2021.

11) Bookshop Business

When the Narc government took over in Kenya in 2003, free primary education in public primary schools was launched all over the country. This increased the number of pupils attending schools countrywide. As a result of this, and in addition to the increasing number of private schools, adult readers, secondary and college students, the demand for books dramatically increased in the country. Though electronic books, audio books and digital magazines have come into use, many people still enjoy buying and reading traditional, printed books.

It is estimated that the government pays fees for more than 10 million pupils in primary schools and about 2.1 million students in secondary schools. A total of Sh.670 is budgeted for each primary school pupil to cater for textbooks, instructional materials and facilitation of internal examinations.

The demand for exercise books, text books and other stationery materials will therefore keep rising. This tells you that bookshops will remain viable businesses for many years to come. An entrepreneur can therefore greatly benefit by investing in a bookshop business. You can identify a niche market or stock a mixture of school books and other types.

12) Bakery Business

If you have always enjoyed baking, bread, cakes and making pies and also have many people who are always brought to your house by these goodies, you may consider opening up your own bakery so that you can start benefiting from this activity of baking that you enjoy so much. This is one of the best businesses to start in Kenya. You can also bake bread and other snacks such as scones, biscuits etc.

If you are asking, “How can I start a profitable business in Kenya?” How Do I start a Bakery business in Kenya? or “How much capital do I need to start a bakery business in Kenya?” Then this is your place of choice. Read on.

There are a few things that you need. The first thing is looking for the capital which will all depend on the size of bakery that you want to open. For a start-up, we advise that you go for what is absolutely necessary to start off. Your capital will be used to buy the baking equipment that you need, secure a premises and buy your inputs.

13) Catering Business

Are you looking for a good business idea in Kenya? Are you considering to start a catering business in Kenya? Are you asking how you can start a catering business in Kenya? Here is a good business idea for you today. Consider starting your own catering business in Kenya and you can start your journey towards the millionaires club.

With many people organizing events such as weddings, funerals, birthdays, baby showers, graduation parties, church events, political meetings and others, starting a catering business targeting these occasions can be lucrative if you have a good network.

Catering business can be outside or indoors and is more like a hotel/fast food business but the service is mostly marketed to a particular group such as an event, a company or organization. One can also do both outside and inside catering at the same time.

14) Fabrics Business

We all dress and wear clothes. Selling fabrics will always bring in some money even during hard times. With fashion ever changing and with increased demand to always go with the current fashion, people will always make or buy clothes. The Fabric business makes 14th place in the top 15 business ideas to start in Kenya.

Starting a fabric/cloth selling business is not very complicated. There are no tedious processes or many machines to buy. This is one of the easiest businesses to set up and operate, as long as you do your ground work thoroughly and identify a good location.

15) Welding Business

You can make a lot of money with a welding business in Kenya. With the boom in real estate sector, many houses and business premises are coming up all over the country. New buildings need doors, windows, grills, gates and other fittings that are normally made out of metal (steel). Repairs of these steel products must also be done regularly.

As a potential entrepreneur, you will never go wrong when you start a welding business in the right location. Demand is high in areas where houses and other buildings are coming up. Set up a welding business and meet this ever rising demand for metal fabrication and repairs.


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