Business to Start With 20k in Kenya : Over 21 amazing ideas

I am pretty sure that you have heard myriad ideas as far as a business to start with 20k in Kenya is concerned.

Remember that in business, there’s nothing like little money or abundant cash- that 20K that you think is small has made people millionaires!

I’m saying so because I often hear people asking ‘can i start a business with 20k?’

Of course, friend! Need evidence?

Well, check how this guy has built a firm worth a staggering 80M shilling from just 40K (20KX2!

Okay, I am here to show you a business to start with 20k in Kenya so sorry for digressing.

But while there, please note that I am not here to preach about scams like betting or some funny multi-level marketing schemes like Public Likes.

Neither will tell you to start making Khaki bags or to become a motivational speaker- By the way I have nothing against these two, it’s just that people overhype them INMHO.

These are real, practical business ideas that have worked for others.

And they can be magical for you, of course, if you play your cards right.

So, what business can I start with 20k in Kenya?

Well, meet them.

Business to Start With 20k in Kenya: Most Profitable ideas

Import unique stuff from China

Have you heard of Alibaba? Well, Kenyans are savvy shoppers and some like to standout with unique stuff.

Now, thanks to the internet, you won’t have to fly to China.

You’ll just tour the Alibaba website, look for some interesting items that people can buy (Hint: Think electronics and Toys), order, pay and have them delivered to you.

I promised to be practical so I have written this Alibaba shopping Guide to help you get started.

Don’t even open a shop…

FaceBook is teeming with groups some with over five hundred thousand members and which allow you to post for free.

All you have to do is just upload these items on Facebook and wait for an avalanche or orders.

On the practical note, Here is How To Sell on Jumia Kenya and Make crazy Money  

Take it from me: if you can crack the product choice, you will be smiling all the way to the bank.

You can even import Mtumba smartphones (GSM unlocked phones only!) from the USA – eBay & Amazon- and sell at even thrice the buying price.

Please read this Amazon importation guide for help.

Sell Women products

My bird whispered to me that jewelry, makeup, wigs, and hair accessories sell like hotcakes.

And I am convinced that you could become a star entrepreneur selling these.

I know you can import but for a start, take advantage of the local wholesalers first.

And you’ll find tens of them at Kamukunji market in Nairobi.

This will help you learn what’s moving and know what you can import over time.

I am not a lady (and my lady hates makeup, lol) so I have no idea about what sells and what doesn’t so it’s upon you to do your research.

Now this is best marketed door-to-door in your estate and offices until you accumulate enough cash to rent a front shop in a busy street.

Also try to post them on your Instagram and Facebook pages.

Hint: Besides regular beauty products like Ponds, Cutex, and Lipstick, try cute earrings, necklaces, and bangles.

Sell Second hand clothes

Another amazing business to start with ksh 20,000 is Mtush Camera!

Here you rent a small stall in an area with heavy foot traffic– they’re not that expensive. For example those at Ngara (near Fig tree in Nairobi) go for about shs.2500 per month.

You will be heading to Gikomba early mornings and picking sizzling hot camera, camera jeans, lady tops, or even kids clothing.

You then resell at your stall at a higher price.

You can as well buy men t-shirts at about shs12k per bail and sell them at shs.100 each.

By end month, you’ll have pocketed about 30k in profits- more than some salaried office guys make!

Does it work? Well, if it doesn’t, all those hawkers you see in town would have gone back to shagz ages ago.

Business to Start With 20k in Kenya: Open a food-related business

Now this is Kenya’s worst kept secret…food works and wonderfully, for that matter.

They even said that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!

And it’s because man has to eat.

Indeed, even if there’s no money to buy anything else, there’s always a budget for food.

For me, food is always top of the monthly budget whether I have been paid or not (Thankfully I have befriended a couple of shopkeepers in my neighborhood).

The dozens of options available for you makes food one of the best business opportunities in Kenya for youth..

Here is a highlight of your options in this lucrative business in Kenya.

·       Start a Chipo-mwitu business

Make them sweet and pack even small quantities like for shs. 20, shs.40, shs.50, etc. You can gradually transform it to a popular fast-food.

·       Open a Chapati-cooking business

If you get lots of compliments each time you cook chapatis for your family, then you could be sleeping on millions.

You can rent a Kibanda or use the internet to let everyone know that you’re a Chapati master for hire. Your friends can be a great starting point if you opt to freelance as a home Chapati-making guru.

·       Open a fruits kiosk/grocery

Any talk about untapped business ideas in Kenya cannot be complete without mentioning fruits and groceries.

Identify a nice spot to site your Kibanda.

You’ll be getting your supplies from Wakulima market or farmers in Limuru or the wider Kiambu to maximize profitability.

To put it into context, you can buy fast-selling fruits like watermelon and pineapples at shs.50 and sell even at shs.150.

Food is a sensitive business and you can easily create a name for yourself if you can stick to fresh produce seeing that many vendors notoriously stock stale fruits.

By the way, this is my dream business and I hope to see you soon, if you’re going for it!

·       Juice and fruit salad business

You can choose to be selling fresh juice for good measure.

Now, if you take this route, buy a used blender from one of those shops in Ngala or CBD dealing with second hand electronics at about 1-2k to cut cost.

Do the same for glasses (and plates if you will be making fruit salad).

You can then teach yourself how to blend juice on Youtube and voila, you’re ready to go!

·       Construction sites or office-block mobile ‘café’

Identify a busy office block, like with 300 occupants and try to win at least 100 loyal customers. You’ll be delivering lunch daily at about shs. 100 (shs. 150 maximum).

Avoid elaborate menus – Dishes like Matumbo, Ng’ombe, Fish, Chicken etc won’t cut it- and stick to simple foods like Chapo, Ugali, Dengu, Madodo, and Githeri.

These have good margins and sellout consistently. Even if we assume a modest ROI of shs.15 per plate, you can easily earn shs.1500 daily working just 5 hours!

The best bit? You’ll be home early to be with your kids.

Can you now see why some believe that an eatery could be the best business to start in Kenya?

But you shouldn’t restrict yourself to the lunch hour- Test the waters by delivering tea and mandazi or Uji at 10.00am.

If not, open a road-side food kiosk and prepare mouthwatering snacks or meals such as mix-mandondo and mbaazi for passersby.

·       Cereals business

You can never go wrong with cereals. Buy Pishori rice, green grams (ndengu), and various varieties of beans, maize, peas, millet, and more. You can start with smaller quantities and scale with time.

Maximize your cereals business by buying cheaply during the harvest season and preserve them to sell at a premium during scarcity.

·       Ice cream

If you live near a school, consider supplying ice-cream to the kids at lunch time and in the evening as they leave school.

·       Other trendy food business ideas

You can source fresh fish, Omena, and even Coconut from outside Nairobi and sell them in your neighborhood at a handsome profit.

I should add that location is king for food businesses.

For this reason, I propose that you look for an ideal spot near a matatu stage, buspark, busy shopping centres, or rental houses with hundreds of tenants.


·       Bar

Okay, not the type of bar you’re thinking of but A milk bar!

Now this should cheer you up if you doubt all the rest.

And you again don’t need to work some magic- a good location and a reliable fresh milk supplier will do.

Plus, top notch hygiene standards.

From there, market the business like crazy and keep your promise of being the best milkman in the entire estate.

And you can add some cakes and even boil some of the milk so that you run it both as a milk-bar and a snack shop.

Online business to start with ksh 20000

Now, the world has really opened up and you may decide to be different and dive in headfirst into an online business.

Again, you are spoilt for choice as long as you don’t mind spending your days plugging away at the keyboard.

Does this sound interesting to you?

If you’ve answered yes, I will share all I know about the type of internet business to start with 20k in Kenya.

Did I mention that I work full time online?

Yes, you’ve heard me right.

And how much money can you make working online in Kenya?

Well, loooooots of money- in fact, my guy Patrick makes over shs.4 million per month.

Sorry, he will be on my neck if I reveal his other names so please don’t ask.

Here are my suggested business ideas if you feel that online is your thing…

·       Affiliate marketing

I will be very brief….

For this, you launch a website like this one and promote it by writing quality, useful articles to attract good online traffic.

Then, once you have good numbers, you apply to be an affiliate (Think of affiliate as an agent) of ecommerce companies like Jumia and Kilimall (for websites targeting local audience).

I, however, recommend that you go for foreign companies such as Amazon, ClickBank, and ShareaSale- you’ll certainly earn more.

Why don’t you talk to Online Moniez for guidance and mentorship- In any case I can’t write everything about affiliate marketing in Kenya in one article.

Could it be the best business for youth in Kenya? I think so, provided you master the game.

You can again bring down your initial cost significantly by buying cheap webhosting in Kenya.

·       Academic writing

Here you’ll be completing assignments and academic projects for foreign students in UK, USA, and Australia.

Pay starts at about shs.200 per page when working under someone but it can rise to shs.1500/- per page if you register your own academic writing account.

Just Google for Academic writing websites to see the steps of owning an account.

In the meantime, join this Facebook Group and look for a trainer first.

·       Become a savvy digital marketer

Everyone wants to make cash online but lack the knowhow.

To succeed, you must master digital marketing (Social Media, Google Adwords, SEO, YouTube, and related topics) first before opening your freelancing digital marketing business.

Training can cost shs.15K so you’ll invest the balance in a website and online marketing strategies.

You then approach small business owners, politicians, and even CEOs of big companies and offer to help them expand their online reach.

You can easily pocket shs.100000 assuming you hook 5 companies paying you a retainer of shs.20000 to manage their online interactions.

The upcoming Kenya Online College has excellent digital marketing programs scheduled.

Check them out on Facebook.

·       Become an Online broker

This works in Europe and America but it’s among the untapped business ideas in Africa.

Yet, you actually need very little cash to start..


  1. Create a free sellers account on (Formerly Olx) and
  2. Hunt for good deals on computers, phones, and home appliances such as smart TVs. Be sure to learn everything about the items you have posted.
  3. Lift the photos and advertise them on your seller’s page at a higher price.
  4. Wait for buyers.

Now to the most sweetest part..

When you receive an order, let the buyer pay you via MPESA and promise to have the product delivered to their chosen direction soonest.

Next, call the original vendor, pay him/her, and direct them to send the TV, phone, computer etc. to the details your ‘client’ sent you.

Don’t let them breathe until they meet their end of the bargain.

Your buyer will be calling you soon elated that you’re super-efficient and promising to come back.

Imagine that? I have pocketed as much as 3000/- sometimes acting the middleman…not bad pay for making some few calls.

Is there an easier business to start with 20k in Kenya than this? (You won’t spend even 1K anyway considering that your main cost is bundles).

Over to you!

ALSO READ: Cheap Internet In Kenya

Other Business to Start With 20k in Kenya – Ideas for everyone

Another of birds has hinted to me that these following businesses can work tremendously for you:

  • Act the Sleep Doctor: You will be selling bed sheets, bed covers, and pillow cases. Gikomba is another brilliant source.
  • Become Mr. /Miss Decorator: Hunt for adorable curtains and other home decoration items such as artificial art flowers.
    Your customer base is the middle class.
  • Loafers: Loafers are immensely popular. The wholesale is about shs.600 and you sell at about shs.1K. You can make good cash selling on Facebook.
  • Perfume refill: You can be refilling perfumes provided you get a good spot (start here)
  • Hawking adult items online and offline: If you can, promote condoms and such products physically and online. This business works like a charm. But be smart because not everyone will want to buy such publicly!


Useful tips for Facebook marketing

  • Be posting when most people are online– in Kenya, this is early morning, lunch-hour, and in the evening.
  • Select the groups to join carefully– Do not bother to join Facebook groups without a good following for obvious reasons. In any case, most block your ads for no particular reason.
  • Be online always– Customers are likely to trust you more if you reply promptly.
  • Have as many photos as possible– Have as many product photos as possible. They help to convince.
  • Don’t forget to be active on whatsapp– Clients will request you to share more photos via whatsapp.


Some questions to ask to help you identify the best business to start with 20k in Kenya

  1. What business experience do you have? Can something on the same line be viable?
  2. What skills do you have? Can you make money selling them?
  3. Is there a business gap in your estate? Can you fill it while making money?
  4. What business does well in your area? Can you make money by starting something similar or to complement it?


Final Word

As you have seen, there are plenty of opportunities awaiting you as far as a business to start with 20k in Kenya is concerned.

However, it pays to first scan your environment and research your business idea thoroughly.

Also note that it’s easier for your business to fly if you have prepared the perfect plan so sit down and come up with strategies before committing your hard-earned cash.

If you’re totally lost, go for something you’re passionate about and be patient.

What do you think about our ideas on a business to start with 20k in Kenya?

Please drop us your comment or questions.

ALSO READ: Business opportunities in Kenya for youth: Lessons from young Kenyan entrepreneurs


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