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10 Profitable Businesses to Start With Ksh50K in Kenya
10 Profitable Businesses to Start With Ksh50K in Kenya
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10 Profitable Businesses to Start With Ksh50K in Kenya

Ian Job
October 5, 2022
M-Pesa shop in Nairobi, Kenya. Image by Fiona Graham.
M-Pesa shop in Nairobi, Kenya. Image by Fiona Graham.

Many firms rely on Kenya's favorable economic and technological conditions. Because of Kenya's excellent road infrastructure, security, and devolution, you may conduct business nearly everywhere in the country.

But then again, the country is a vibrant and strategic business hub for the entire East African region. It attracts both residents and foreigners in equal measure making businesses thrive. And the icing on the cake? You can start with a modest Ksh50k for lucrative businesses like:  

1. Movie Shop

The insatiable demand for western movies creates a way for a profitable movie shop in Kenya. With Ksh50k you can successfully set up shop and bring it to stability. A movie shop requires equipment, licenses, overheads, and movies.

The three compliance licenses are:

  • Single business permit 
  • Public Performance License 
  • Film/Video Regulatory License 

Equipment includes; a computer and internet connection, a movie duplicator, and blank DVDs with 50 rims costing Ksh500. A single Movie purchase ranges between Ksh800 - Ksh1500. Others include:

  • LED T.V. and Woofers. 
  • A few pieces of furniture. 
  • Movie posters and envelopes for packing movies.

Here is what your tentative budget might look like:

  • Rental expenses -Ksh15,000
  • Desktop Computer - Ksh15,000
  • MSK License - Ksh4,000
  • Business Permit - Ksh3,000
  • KFCB License - Ksh3,000
  • External hard disk - Ksh5,000
  • CD Burning Software - Ksh5,000

Note: This budget is not conclusive. The overheads depend on your location. Your cost also depends on where you shop your equipment, making the budget slightly more or less Ksh50k.   

Read Also: 5 Movies Anyone Who Cares About Money Should Watch

2. Hardware

Hardware is a lucrative business that has withstood the test of time in Kenya. With an increase in construction, the trick is to do a competitor analysis to unearth hardware items unavailable at the competitors. 

Conducting proper market research also shows you fast-moving items. Rent and other overheads depend on the business location, while a single business permit goes for Ksh10,000 per year. Other critical requisitions include a KRA ETR machine for tax payment purposes. Some of the fast-moving hardware items that can begin to rake in profits include:

  • Cement
  • Steel bars and rods
  • Plumbing materials
  • Door hinges 
  • Flooring tiles
  • Welding rods, plumbing materials
  • Nails

The trick is to start with a smaller stock of each item and progress as you make sales. 

3. Providing Laundry Services 

Laundry services rank among the most profitable businesses; you can start with Ksh50k. To accomplish this, identify a suitable location along a busy street. A small single laundry drop-off room/office would do for a start. You can use that backyard as a work area.

Besides licensing and overheads such as rent, electricity, and water, you may need to source the following equipment:

  • Ordinary front loading machine
  • A Dryer – Ksh22,000
  • Iron Box and Ironing Board 
  • Detergents 

4. Home Bakery 

When establishing a home bakery, you can quickly create a niche and find the right equipment to kick-start your business. 

Standard baking tools and equipment include:

  • Pans 
  • An oven
  • Mixers
  • Cake decoration kit 
  • Raw materials

Raw materials such as eggs, flour, and sugar can be costly, and the trick is to buy them in bulk at wholesalers. Again, different wholesales can have different prices, so window-shop before you purchase. 

5. Selling Second Clothes (Mitumba)

A ready market for mitumba clothes and other items exists in Kenya. While you can start with the lowest capital, you have to focus on quality to attract customers and quickly make sales. 

Sourcing excellent quality mitumba clothes equals spending good cash. Depending on the source, you might spend about Ksh40k - Ksh50k for a grade A/crème bale/Camera. 

The items within that bale are either brand new or almost new with minimal usage. They sell quickly and at higher prices than if you bought a cheaper bale. As such, you have a guarantee of your return on investment.

Read Also: Starting a Mitumba Business in Kenya: All You Need To Know

6. Car Wash 

You can also start a sustainable and highly profitable car wash business with as low as Ksh50k.

Key requirements are: 

  •  Leasing Land space 
  • A car wash business license
  • Car wash equipment such as;
  • A pressure washer
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Wax and polish 
  • Alloy wheel cleaner
  • Car Shampoo
  • A wash mitt
  • Microfiber clothes

Auto shops have the necessary equipment. Since you're starting with a limited budget, window-shop first to get the best price for each item.

7. Catering Services 

If you have the passion and expertise, catering might be a great business to start. However, catering is a large field, and carving out a specialisation will help you buy the correct equipment and attract clients for your meals. 

Important considerations include the following equipment:

  • Oven
  • Cooler
  • Backup generator
  • Pans and pots

You will also be good to go with a single business permit. Another thing, though, is that your overhead costs depend on where you start. If from home, then you cut most of these expenses, quickly break even, and enjoy the profits.  

8. Printing & Photocopy Business 

While many thought digital technologies would wipe out paper-based businesses, the contrary is true. Printing & Photocopy services continue to prosper, and you can start yours with Ksh50k. 

Here are the main costs to consider:

  • Single business permit -Ksh2,500
  • Safety license--Ksh2,500
  • Kopiken License-Ksh2,500
  • Standard 3 in 1 Photocopier( printer, scanner) Ksh35,000
  • Laminator-Ksh4000
  • Binding machine-Ksh-10,000
  • Stationery-Ksh5,000
  • Small office printer-Ksh1500
  • A regular size copier-Ksh3500

Points to note: The above are average prices. With Ksh50k, you can shop for cheaper equipment. While you may want a standard photocopier, starting with the most inexpensive one would be wise. You can purchase the most advanced as the business picks up the pace.

9. Mobile Money Agency 

The mobile money agency, also known as agency banking, involves third-party delivery of financial services to customers. Kenya's most popular mobile money agencies are Equity, Mpesa, and Airtel money. 

You should have an initial float to start a mobile money business. Even though some people pump vast amounts of cash, Ksh50k is sustainable. 

Commissions that you derive from money deposits and withdrawals are your profit. Setting one up might require: 

  • Rental costs
  • Initial float

A strategic location helps to rope in as many customers as you can. Also, strive to adopt best practices to infiltrate the industry comfortably. For example;

  • Strictly follow the rules and regulations guiding mobile money transactions.
  • Build excellent customer relations to attract customer loyalty.  

10. LPG Gas Refill Business 

Like most already mentioned businesses, location is key to cracking the gas refill business. The gas business does well in any county in Kenya so long as you identify a strategic location with a sizable population. 

Although people still think significant towns and cities are major gas consumers, many Kenyans, even in the rural villages, now prefer cooking with gas because it is clean, fast, and cheaper than other fuel options. 

Essential gas operation licenses include :

  • County Business License
  • Fire license
  • Energy Regulation Commission License and Authorization letter

 Other essential requirements to set up the business include:

  • Rent 
  • 3 13kg cylinders
  •  10 6kg gas cylinders for a start 

Depending on the brand, you might fork out between Ksh3,800- Ksh4,600 for each of the 13 kg cylinders and Ksh2,100-Ksh2,500 for the 6kg cylinders.

Licenses depend on specific county government regulations, but most range between Ksh3,000 and Ksh5,000.

Rent also depends on the exact town, but it would be prudent to work with about Ksh10,000 for your store. 


In Kenya, there are numerous money-making businesses that can be started with as little as Ksh50,000. This is merely a starting point. You can do extra research depending on your skills and interests. 

If you've never done something like this before, gather additional information before diving in. Then, develop a practical business strategy that takes into account the Ksh50,000, including raw supplies, overhead costs such as rent, power, water, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses.

All the best!

Ian Job is an articulate writer with over four years of experience in SEO writing, digital marketing and screenwriting. Away from writing, he's probably producing an indie movie if you don't find him mentoring upcoming content writers. You can connect with him on Medium.

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