You may be asking yourself, “What business can I start with 1k in Kenya?” In this article, we’ll discuss the ten best business ideas you can start with a budget of Ksh 1,000.
Well, let’s be honest with each other, 2023 has been full of economic challenges from high inflation rates, the energy crisis, geopolitical tensions, and fears of looming recession. And we all need to come up with business ideas to help us navigate this challenging financial situation and provide for our families. We want to invest the little capital we can get and make some returns to support ourselves and our families.
Starting these businesses may require patience, persistence, and the right approach and strategy to grow and improve. So what business can you start with 1K in Kenya?
- Selling Boiled Eggs and Smokies
- Selling Coffee
- Shoe Shining Business
- Groceries Business – Fruits and Vegetables
- Maize Roasting Business (Mahindi Choma)
- Selling Snacks – Mandazis and Chapatis
- Ice Popsicles Vending
- Mitumba Business
- Chips Mwitu Business
- Phone Accessories Business
We have broken down further the above business ideas for better understanding.
What Business Can I Start With 1K in Kenya?
Here is a list of the ten best businesses you can start with 1K in Kenya. Let’s break it down.
1. Selling Boiled Eggs and Smokies
The boiled eggs and smokies business is one of the thriving businesses in Kenya. Starting requires low capital, and you can sell your products to customers at bus stops, marketplaces, and streets. With Kshs 1,000, you can buy a tray of eggs and 1kg of smokies. And with a transparent bucket, you can pack your boiled eggs and smokies. You can sell boiled eggs for Ksh20 and a smokie for Ksh30.
The peak hours are usually over lunchtime and the evenings between 4 pm and 8 pm. When starting, the business may feel daunting and stagnant, but with time you can grow to sell more trays of eggs and kilos of smokies, which will now need you to buy a trolley.
You will face many challenges that require creative ways to overcome them. Your business success will depend on your marketing skills, planning, and hard work.
2. Selling Coffee
Coffee vending is another business option you can start and make a profit. All you need to buy is a thermos, disposable cups, and make Coffee. You can make coffee at home and start selling around your estate and nearby residential estates. You can also sell your coffee and snacks like mandazis to passengers in busy matatu stages in towns and the city streets. As you grow, you can expand and open a coffee shop in a good location.
3. Shoe Shining Business
A shoe-shining business is a profitable business that you can start with minimal training and requires little investment. All you need to do is select a good location with little competition and purchase some essential equipment or needs. These may include a basin, water, shoe brush, shoe polish or cream, a dry cotton cloth, and newspaper, which can cost less than Kshs 1,000.
Assuming you charge Kshs 50 per customer and you serve 30 people per day, this translates to Kshs 1,500. On a good day, a shoe shiner can make upwards of Ksh 2,000 before deducting daily expenses, miscellaneous costs, and paying county askaris. All this depends on your location and the number of customers served.
As a shoe shiner, you can complement your business and boost your income by selling other products, such as shoe laces, insoles, socks, stockings, and other shoe accessories that customers may need while shining their shoes. Other products you can sell include:
- Shoe repair services – If you have some basic shoe repair skills, you can offer shoe repair services such as sole replacement, stitching, and heel repair.
- Shoe cleaning products such as leather cleaner, shoe polish, and water-repellent sprays
- Refreshments such as water, soda, and snacks, especially if you are working in a busy area.
Finally, you need to be innovative to get more customers and get ahead of the competition.
4. Start a Groceries Business
With Kshs 1,000, you can start a groceries business. This is a profitable business, especially if you can identify a suitable business location in your estate, roadside, or a densely populated area. You can sell vegetables such as kale, spinach, cabbage, onions, and tomatoes, and fruits such as oranges, mangoes, bananas, chilies, pineapples, avocados, etc.
A grocery business mainly deals with perishable goods, so you must find reliable suppliers to supply you with quality products.
If you’re considering starting a grocery business, always offer the best customer service and fresh products. This way, you will grow your customer base and expand your business.
5. Maize Roasting Business (Mahindi Choma)
Roasted maize, or mahindi choma as its popularly known in Kenya, is a profitable business that you can start with a capital of Ksh 1,000. To start, you need to locate a good spot in a densely populated area where you will set up your business. You will also need a jiko, charcoal, and a supply of fresh maize from the farm.
You can buy fresh maize from the farm between Kshs 7 -10 per piece. Then sell the roasted maize at Kshs 20 to Kshs 30 per piece. The profit margins for the maize roasting business can be anything above.
Additionally, maize roasting is a flexible business that you can work part-time or full-time, depending on your availability and commitments.
6. Selling Snacks – Mandazis and Chapatis
To be honest, I love Chapatis. I mean, who doesn’t? It is one of the best foods that almost all Kenyans love and can associate with. If you love Chapatis and have a passion for cooking or some basic cooking skills, you can start cooking and selling mandazis to others.
You can start with as little as 1k as you may need basic needs such as wheat flour, cooking oil, sugar, salt, and water. Equipment you may need is a pan and chapati rolling pin. You can cook at home and sell them around your estate or busy marketplaces. You can supplement your business by selling porridge or tea alongside your mandazi/chapati business.
7. Ice Popsicles Vending
Ice pops and ice cream vending is a very lucrative business in Kenya, especially during the hot seasons. Kenyans love sweet and delicious treats and will spend the little coins in their pockets to quench their thirst for something sweet.
With Kshs 1,000, you can buy around 100 ice popsicle sticks at Ksh 7 per stick from local manufacturers and sell them between Sh10 and Sh15. The profit margins are good, and the more you sell, the better the profits. Look for a suitable location to sell your products, and you’ll make a living.
8. Mitumba Business
Another business you can start with 1k in Kenya is the mitumba business. It simply involves buying second-hand clothes at reselling them at a profit. You can start with a stock as you grow slowly and patiently.
To start your mitumba business, you need to do market research to identify the types of clothes in high demand. You can do both online research and also by visiting different Mitumba markets to see what others are buying.
The market research will help you identify a market gap that will, in turn, help you settle on a specific niche, such as selling women’s clothing, children’s clothing, etc. The next step is to find a supplier for your selected niche. Look for reliable mitumba suppliers who can provide good quality items at a reasonable price. You can negotiate for the best price possible to maximize your profits.
With the Ksh 1,000, you can start small by buying a few items. For example, you can buyten0 second-hand clothing items at Kshs 50 each and resell them at Kshs 100 each. After a day or two, you will have doubled your initial investment.
You can utilize both selling at a physical location or selling on social media. Create a page or account dedicated to your mitumba business on Facebook and Instagram and start marketing your products.
9. Chips Mwitu Business
The fast food industry is among the best-performing sector in Kenya. It presents many opportunities for entrepreneurs to venture into and get good returns. A considerable portion of the population loves eating chips (fries), especially women and children.
To start a chips business, you need to buy cooking oil, tomato and chili sauce, and potatoes. Armed with charcoal, a jiko, and a pan, you can start your venture. Peel your potatoes, wash and slice them into sizes, deep fry them, add spices and flavors such as chili sauce, and serve your customers.
10. Mobile Phone Accessories
You can start a phone accessories business by buying and selling some of the most popular accessories, such as phone covers, chargers, screen protectors, earphones, memory cards, etc. You will need to find a high-traffic area to sell the items and an affordable phone accessories supplier.
Have Limited Capital? No Worries
With as little as Kshs 1,000, you can start a small business and navigate your way up with time. Don’t let limited capital and a negative attitude hamper your dreams to start your own business. If you have challenges identifying the right business for you, refer to our guide on sources of business ideas in Kenya that you can explore to start your venture today.
If you feel like exploring online business ideas, you can check out our guide on how to start an online business and make money online in Kenya.
Remember to succeed in any business venture, you must put in hard work and dedication. You will face numerous challenges and learn new stuff at the same time. Adopt a positive mindset and strategy to help you grow your business and achieve your financial goals in the long run.
So to answer your question, what business can I start with 1k in Kenya? Explore the above business ideas, settle on the one that best suits you, and build your knowledge and wealth.