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By Audrey Korir

Entrepreneurship is what everyone is into now. It has become a thing for fresh graduates who go unemployed for long after graduating.

According to a survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), 7 million Kenyans are unemployed!

Shocking right?  Venturing into businesses has become a viable option to generate income and sustain one’s basic needs.

However, there is a false perception that for you to start a business you require a large capital. That is not true. It all boils down to how well you manage it and how satisfied your customers are.

In fact, with as little as 20K or less, you can run a successful and profitable business.

Here are some great ideas if you are thinking of starting staring a business with limited capital and resources;

1. Selling Second Hand Clothes

This has become a very lucrative business option for many young people.  In every town, business centre or residential area you are bound to find a shop, stall or mobile hawker selling clothes.

It is one of my favorite business ideas so far. Even with as little as sh 1,000 you are good to go. The trick is to start small and select items that can easily be sold such as children’s clothes or ladies’ casual dresses and tops.

Gikomba or Bus Station are great places to start, you can find clothing items going for sh 100 and at times as low as 20 shillings. Imagine the stuff you could buy with a simple budget of 500 or 1000 .

Many successful second hand clothes dealers started there. Decide on your routine such that you top up your stock regularly.

You may operate by visiting your clients either in their workplaces or homes to sell to them. This will eliminate the need to pay rent for a shop or stall.

2. Printing/Photocopying

The business will thrive more if it is located near education institutions such as universities or colleges. Many students are always out to either print or photocopy notes and assignments.

With rates of 3-5 shillings per page, you can make good money from the many students seeking your services. A good and affordable printer will cost you at least less than 20K and a rim of papers goes for around sh 500. All you need to succeed in this business is to be available and provide quality copies.

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3. Operating a Salon/Barber Shop

Starting a salon or a barbershop doesn’t require a lot of money. A Shaving machine costs around Ksh. 5000 and other appliances necessary when shaving.

On the other hand, if renting a space for your salon seems way off your budget, then your skill set is all you need.

With this business, you do not necessarily need a permanent location. You can be offering your services to clients in the comfort of their homes. However, such business activity calls for commitment and reliability to boost the loyalty of your customers.

4. Selling Boiled Eggs, Smokies Or Sausages

This form of business has been on the rise in Kenya, it is common to see men and women in white coats carrying buckets or hot pots or pushing three-wheeled trolleys moving from one area to another selling the snacks.

To start it you need a capital of between Ksh 2,000-Ksh 10,000. It is surprisingly profitable. One can buy a single egg at Ksh 10 and sell it at Ksh 20, thus making Ksh 10 profit per egg.

It is an ideal business idea for anyone with small capital.

5. Movie Shop

A movie shop is one of the easiest businesses to start. With a laptop or desktop computer, you can rent a room and start selling movies to customers.

The business needs to be located in a well-populated area such as residential estates. On a good day, a movie shop can earn you between Ksh 2500-3500.

6. Car Wash

We have a huge number of car-owners in Kenya, but the majority of them would opt to have someone wash it rather than do it themselves.

This business thrives depending on your location. If you wash 15 cars at Ksh.200 per car, this means you make Ksh.3, 000 a day.

All one needs is a water pump and a good water supply. The good thing with the Car Wash business is that you do not need an enclosed space. It can still thrive in an open area.

7. Selling fruits & vegetables

Selling fruits and vegetables not only earns you money, it also helps keep the community healthy.   A day will never pass without someone stopping by to buy fruits or vegetables for them and their families.

The business will do best in areas where there is enough traffic such as in residential estates. With less than 20,000 shillings, you can start this business and make a fortune from it.


You don’t need hundreds of thousands of shillings to start a business. With the little you have saved or have access to, you can start a business. We have numerous examples of people who have succeeded and made reputable businesses from humble beginnings.

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