Recent statistics show that 5,341,182 of Kenyan youth are unemployed. This huge number is devastating but also a wakeup call to start your own business and not to rely only on your school certs.
This ultimate list has the best business ideas that can give you a head start on your first business as a Kenyan student.
So what are the best business ideas for Kenyan Students?
Since the list is long, I divided the business ideas into different categories and provided you with tables of content for quick navigation.
Here we go.
Technology savvy business ideas.
Businesses under these categories are those that require one form or the other in technology knowledge. It could be something complex as Database management, coding, or something as simple as how to print out a document.
Let’s look at them through.
This is more of a solo business venture that requires great skills in coding, programming, and managing a website.
Your main role will be to ensure that a website runs smoothly, the design is up to par, the speed is of standard and user experience is maintained. A lot of software programming knowledge and in-depth graphic design skills are required.
2) App Developer
As an app developer, you can start your own agency that specializes in building apps for organizations and individuals. You should be super creative, quick to offer logical problem solving, and have in-depth knowledge and experience in programming languages.
App developers run their businesses by getting into contracts with businesses that need app development services. Although this will need some previous experience in building apps.
3) Web design.
A web designer is in charge of building a website for a client. Ensuring that it runs smoothly and writing code for various elements of a website. Web designers differ from webmasters in that webmasters are in charge of maintaining the entire site while web designers’ only role is to build and design a site on a one-time basis.
4) Social media manager.
Social media management is a great business idea for people who have an understanding of various social media platforms, how they work, how to grow a huge fan base and following.
As a social media manager, you will be responsible for managing the SM platform for your clients.
You’ll be given roles such as posting on a platform, creating and setting up ads, promoting the page, and analyzing the SM performance metrics against key KPI over time.
Education certs in journalism and digital media is always a plus for getting new clients regularly. You can check out some of these clients and see what business as a social media manager would look like. This is also a gold mine.
5) SEO strategist.
If you are a master of Google algorithms, understand the changing dynamics of SERPS and SEO, you can decide to start your own SEO agency.
Your SEO agency will deal with clients by offering consultation for SEO services and working with website owners and companies to scale up their rankings.
Every website owner wants to rank, that’s why there will always be a pool of jobs for those who jump onto this business idea.
Be ready to understand on-page and off-page SEO and all the technical requirements in- between.
It’s not about having school papers. It’s action. Show them that you have what it takes to get a website to 1st page, gain traffic, and scale it beyond a reasonable doubt with new leads.
6) Video creator and editor.
54% of consumers online want to see more video content from their brands.
This is an epic time to jump on this business idea and start creating and editing videos for companies and other content creators.
The demand is huge and quickly evolving. Marketers are busy writing campaigns and need people who are skilled in making and editing top-notch videos.
That’s where you come in, create awe-worthy video content that converts, get your referrals, and scale your business.
Well, not really. You will need to do extensive research, invest in the right software, and evolve with the constantly changing tech to stay relevant.
Found these online and remote clients that need video editors.
7) Graphic designer.
This is one of the most sought after skills by emerging businesses. Think about it.
Businesses constantly need the services of a graphic designer be it to make their logos, flyers, brochures, business cards, or newsletter formatting.
The demand is huge not to mention that you could always branch out and work with events by designing their posters.
Here are some graphic design jobs to give you a head start.
8) Transcription business.
As a transcriber, you will convert audio into written content for clients. Transcribing has a huge pool of work that you can always tap into as a self- employed transcriber.
Transcribe me is a great place to start if you are only starting out. Beginner transcriptionists can start at the rate of $15 per hour while experienced transcriptionists can make double at $30.
Scribie is accepting beginner transcriptionist as long as they have a verified PayPal account and pass the transcription test.
9) Virtual assistant.
Virtual assistants have the double sides of the coin. One, they get to earn from their VA business and two, they learn the inside working of the entrepreneur they are working for. As a result, a comfortable life with all their needs met and experience how various businesses operate.
There are tons of online courses you can take to familiarizes yourself with a VA’s job to get higher-paying clients.
The VA handbook has awesome VA resources you can tap into before starting this business.
10) Freelance Writing.
As one of the fastest-growing industries, freelance writing is a great business idea for those who have a way with words. And, there are many niches that you can choose to specialize in.
Freelance writing as a business gives you the ability to work at your own pace, time, and place. You could even opt for pajamas if you can wing it in case of an impromptu Skype call.
Want to start as a freelance writer?
The ProBlogger job board is a great place to start if you are confident in your skills.
11) Content strategist.
If you’ve been in the freelance business for longer, know the ins and outs of driving traffic and leads towards a business with written content, you should look into this business idea.
Content strategists are responsible for mapping out and planning the content of a certain business to drive traffic towards the business and convert them into clients.
According to Jon Morrow of smart blogger, Content strategists can earn up to $200 per hour.
Though still widely unknown in Kenya, podcasting is slowly and surely gaining traction among the Kenyan youth with most listeners identifying as female.
Podcasting is still in its early stage in the Kenyan market but if the Africa podfest is anything to go by, then it will surely take off in a few years, especially among the youth.
Here’s a small list of business podcasts by Kenyans.
13) Phone and computer repair.
Laptops breakdown, phone screens’ blackout, and people need gadget doctors. Those who are in the phone and computer repair businesses should set up their businesses in places with high traffic of young professionals or preferably higher institution learning.
Be the guy that does high-quality work and uses genuine spares. If you replace genuine parts with fraudulent spares, you lose customers and word gets out.
And before you know it, nobody wants to work with you.
To succeed, you need to broaden your income streams. Ensure that you know how to solve most of the customer’s pain points to keep attracting new prospects.
Business ideas in the Beauty and Fashion Industry.
14) Hair extension retailing and beauty shop.
The hair and beauty industry has seen an explosion in demand over recent years. Ladies want to look good and as a result, there has been an increase in demand for make-up products, hair extension, and other beauty products.
Hence starting a business in this industry is a no brainer. As long as you do extensive research of your target market, suppliers, and location.
Remember, quality is everything unless you want a lawsuit after you.
And if you think that it’s only ladies who need beauty products, you are wrong.
Men want it too. According to Allied Market research, the men’s personal care industry will hit a whopping $166 billion in 2022.
How insanely cool!
Seriously, if you’ve got the passion, dive for this.
15) Make-up artist business.
From weddings to events, runways, and movie production, the clientele base of make-up artists is huge. Good marketing skills and incredible quality work will put you forward.
Make-up artists can be based anywhere as long as there’s a population of young professionals and a hub of events and activities going on. Agnes is a Nakuru- based make-up artist who has her own business in the industry. Read her story here. Also, check out top-rated make-up artists in Kenya and see what they’re up to.
To diversify your income, you could offer training to newbies or accept contracts to work as a brand ambassador to make-up manufacturers.
16) Fashion consultant and stylist.
Fashion stylists have the role of choosing outfits and coordinating clothing pieces for models, actors, and high-profile personnel. This business idea is lucrative and requires one to have a high-quality portfolio, be in acquaintance with model photographers and magazine editors.
Basically, be connected, have experience in the fashion industry, and let your portfolio do the quality speaking.
Silvia Njoki is a fashion stylist with an interesting story on how she started out.
17) Open your own boutique.
Unique taste, high traffic, and a smart marketing strategy are all you need to succeed as a boutique owner.
Fashion is constantly evolving creating a huge market and demand for clothing. Smart people like you should jump onto this opportunity, narrow to the type of wear they want to sell, and run with it.
You can choose to focus on designer clothes and cater to a small but lucrative segment of the market or go the Mitumba way and cater to the larger segment of the market that is also lucrative.
Smart strategies win.
18) T-shirt design and Printing.
Custom made t-shirts is a great business idea for witty people who have cool slogans and quotes that can sell. Like any other business, you will need to do extensive research and see what consumers identify with.
You could choose to focus on printing original designs, movie characters, quotes, and memes.
The t-shirt design and printing business takes off especially during the holidays when people want to get custom made gifts for family friends and spouses.
Alternatively, you could choose to focus on designing printed t-shirts for organizations and non-profits at a price.
One custom-designed t-shirt can range from 500- 1000 Kenya shillings.
19) Making Jewelry.
An eye for detail?
Insanely creative with a 3D visualization?
Up to date with the latest fashion trends?
If your answer is yes to the 4 questions above, you might consider starting out your business as a jeweler maker. You could always start with the simplest of design from recycled materials and upscale from there.
Jewelry making is a profitable and exciting business for creatives who can make formless wire strings into gorgeous necklaces, bangles, and earrings.
Zaveris is one such family-run jewelry maker that’s raking in huge profits with a single piece of earrings going for as much as 58,000 Kenyan shillings.
You may be the next big shot jeweler in the country.
20) Massage parlor.
It’s 2020 and people are grinding harder than before. (Everybody’s in to make it) Which results in more fatigue and craving for relaxation. Hence the high-demand for massage therapists.
But, certification from a recognized school or organization is a must if people are to trust you with their shoulders and backs.
Providing mobile services will reduce your startup costs significantly. Later, you can find a suitable location and increase your team.
21) Hair/salon and barbershop
Find a terrific location with a sizeable population, use social media to market, and offer the best services while incorporating the latest technology. Additionally, you can include a nail parlor and make-up services to attract more clients.
Remember it’s about quality.
Home-based Business Ideas for Kenyan Students.
22) Laundry services.
University is a busy place to be. With assignments, classes, socializing, and side- hustles, Laundry gets in the way for most students.
Be the savior by offering laundry and cleaning services. At first, you should not be afraid of getting your hand dirty, or wet in this case. Later, when you have the capacity, you should invest in a washing machine for efficiency and better profit margins.
A washing machine can start from as low as 20,000 Kenyan shillings.
23) Candle making.
Candles can be used for exotic dinners, birthday cakes, and religious houses as well as the unfortunate times when KPLC has unsolved technical details.
Start out small then scale up towards manufacturing on a large scale.
24) Soap making.
The good thing about soap making is that you can use the already available raw and environmentally friendly materials like vegetables, aloe-Vera, and even Yam.
Jane, an entrepreneur in the soap business shares that she started her business with only Ksh 3000 and now sells her soaps on a price of 300-500 bob each.
25) Cooking services.
Door to door chefs makes pretty cash from their huge client pool.
Your cooking and inter-personal skills should be top-notch to succeed as a home chef.
Starting is easy as no prior equipment is required. Only you, your services, and the food at the dinner table.
Your marketing strategy for this business should include having a strong online presence on social media to market your services and or a website where people can order and leave reviews.
I love what Sheena’s kitchen has done with its services and website.
26) Babysitting services.
You must love babies (No buts.)
Be patient, have CPR experience, and know-how to change diapers (No buts either).
If you agree to all the terms above, start advertising your services.
As a University student, this can be a good side-hustle over weekends and on days when you don’t have classes.
27) Errand services.
Again, folks are busy yet there’s so much to be done. As an errand guy, you will be required to perform various activities for your clients. Some will want you to go grocery shopping, get their kids from school, drop off laundry, or collect important stuff.
You don’t necessarily need a car. A bike is a good alternative, eco-friendly and cheap.
Post your services on social media or a free ad service platform to get more clients.
Some package delivery services like UPS, the largest in the world, started as a simple delivery service run by two teens.
Pet industry business ideas.
28) Pet breeding and rearing.
Dogs are great pets and people around affluent neighborhoods are most likely on the lookout for pure breeds. You could start with two pure breeds and then advance from there.
Make sure to have the proper vaccination records and permits to operate in the rearing business. A Chihuahua pure breed puppy can go between 25000 and 30000K, not bad for business.
East African Kennel club is a great place to start for those seeking to venture into dog-breeding business.
29) Supplying dog and cat food.
Production of dog food may be challenging without the right amount of capital but supplying it can be easier when you identify a manufacturer whom you can work with.
You can partner up with a manufacturer like Heritage foods and supply to other consumers around the country.
30) Dog Grooming.
Pet groomers can offer services such as coat trimming, spa bath, nail clipping and so much. Your location should be where there’s the existence of a lot of pet owners. Also, offer additional services like Dog boarding and daycare services to diversify your income.
Gain inspiration from Petsparadise.
As you can see, the list of business ideas is endless, but if you are yet to find one that entices you, check out a few others below.
Agribusiness ideas for Kenyan students.
31) Distribute Fertilizer.
Fertilizer distribution, though regulated by the government is a great business idea for people with an interest in farming. Partner up with local manufacturers with quality products and help them get the fertilizers to remote places.
32) Spice and herb farming.
One, you don’t need huge tracts of land to do this and two, it’s profitable and easy to get markets in the hotel industry as long as you have quality products. Ginger, cumin, and chia seeds are some popular options for you.
Entertainment business ideas for University learners.
33) Video gaming shop.
Millennials and Gen Z are crazy about video games. They love the challenge that each stage brings and they’d want to be in a competitive space where they pay some cash to do what they love.
Play video games.
So, if you are a game fanatic, find a high traffic area, do rigorous strategic advertisements and charge them a pretty but affordable penny to keep them coming.
To get more gaming customers to your business, host gaming tournaments, offer discounts, and promotions.
Remember to do a market survey before diving in.
34) Performances business.
For musicians, instrumentalists, poets, and spoken word artists, this can be a great business venture that helps pay your bills.
Talent and creativity will always win the day when it comes to creativity. You could choose to be a solo performer or start a band.
How to turn it into a business.
- Release a new album for your fans.
- Poets can write a book.
- Perform during events.
- Be part of brand promotion by using your art.
35) Events planner.
You know how it goes in Uni. There’s always some event happening somewhere under the sun. You’ll hear about the cake festival, fashion, color, movie, art and so on.
While students like attending these parties and events, not many of them like to be involved in the frustrating planning and all that goes to make an event into an awesome one.
You become the cure to their pain points by offering planning and taking care of the behind-the-scenes business.
Have the knowledge and build your portfolio by starting with a small fee. Ask friends to recommend your services to others and you’ll soon see orders coming in. This will later give you the chance to form a team and scale to higher heights.
36) Challenge course Business ideas.
Outdoor lovers should jump on this idea. It’s easy to start and you don’t need your own grounds in the initial stages. Hotels, restaurants, and schools are most likely willing to rent out their fields to you.
Challenge courses are exciting and most outdoor and adventurous people love getting themselves dirty and claiming the final prize.
You could target young kids for team building, university students in your school, or small companies looking for team building outdoor courses.
Alternatively, you could opt to organize hikes and Geocaching challenges in popular and exciting places around Kenya.
Which among these business ideas would you want to be expounded? I.e. (Create a detailed guide showing how, where, and the price of starting them.)
Plus, what other business ideas would you want me to add to the list? (Credits to you)
Truth is, it all depends on how determined you are to succeed in your new venture and make it work. Any of the above ideas is profitable when undertaken by the right person.
Smart strategies, building connections and providing solutions to your consumer base.
The kind that are willing to take risk, find their most productive times and overcome their procrastination.
Simply, the kind of people that just start.