11 Smart Businesses to Start with 1k in Kenya

11 Smart Businesses to Start with 1k in Kenya

Kenya’s entrepreneurial spirit thrives, and you don’t need a fortune to kickstart your own business venture.

With as little as 1,000 Kenyan shillings (approximately 8 USD), you can get a head start on a fulfilling and profitable business journey.

Let’s dive into 11 business ideas perfect for a 1k budget!

1. Selling Boiled Eggs

Boiled eggs are a quick and nutritious snack popular among Kenyans. With 1k, you can buy eggs in bulk, a small portable stove, and fuel to get started.

Set up shop in busy areas for hungry commuters and students craving a simple protein boost.

  • Tips:
    • Source eggs at wholesale prices.
    • Add a touch of salt or offer a chili dipping sauce for extra flavor.
    • Maintain clean and hygienic presentation.

2. Hawking Snacks and Drinks

Become a mobile snack vendor – buy popular packaged snacks and drinks (sodas, juice, water) with your 1k and hawk them in busy areas like bus stops, markets, or construction sites.

This requires minimal investment and provides flexibility in your selling locations.

  • Tips
    • Offer a variety of items to appeal to different tastes.
    • Keep drinks chilled in a cooler if possible.
    • Develop a friendly and outgoing sales approach.

3. Airtime and Mobile Data Reselling

Mobile phone usage is widespread in Kenya. With 1k, you can purchase airtime and data bundles from major providers and resell them to individuals with a small markup. This business can function well in areas with limited access to physical airtime shops.

  • Tips:
    • Familiarize yourself with the various denomination options offered by telcos.
    • Build trust by consistently offering reliable service.
    • Consider offering mobile top-ups as an added service.

4. Selling Homemade Yogurt

Homemade yogurt is a healthy and refreshing treat. With 1k in Kenya, you can source the necessary ingredients like fresh milk, starter culture, and flavorings. Package your yogurt attractively in small containers and sell it within your neighborhood network.

  • Tips:
    • Master the yogurt-making process and experiment with various flavors.
    • Ensure strict hygiene standards.
    • Grow your customer base with door-to-door deliveries.

5. Fruit Peeling and Slicing

Offer peeled and pre-sliced fruits like mangoes, oranges, and pineapples for a convenient and healthy snack. With your 1k, purchase a variety of fruits and basic tools for preparation. This business idea works well in busy markets or near transport hubs.

  • Tips:
    • Choose high-quality fruits in season for freshness and affordability.
    • Package portions neatly in takeaway containers.
    • Maintain impeccable hygiene standards.

6. Mobile Manicures and Pedicures

Beauty services are always in demand. With just 1k in Kenya, you can invest in basic manicure and pedicure supplies like nail polish, removers, and tools. Offer services within your home initially and expand to clients’ houses for a small transport fee.

  • Tips:
    • Take online courses or get basic training to learn the skills.
    • Build your portfolio with practice and showcase your work on social media.
    • Keep up with stylish colors and nail art trends.

7. Selling Used Books

Secondhand books are a valuable commodity, especially for students on a budget. With 1k, visit markets specializing in used books and curate a selection. Resell them online, at markets, or around schools and universities.

  • Tips:
    • Focus on popular genres or books in high demand.
    • Check book conditions carefully before purchasing for resale.
    • Price your books fairly.

8. Social Media Content Creation

If you have a knack for writing, photography, or graphic design, offer your services as a freelance content creator for small businesses with limited budgets. Your 1k can be invested in online courses to sharpen your skills.

9. Homemade Cleaning Products

People are becoming conscious of harsh chemicals in commercial cleaning products. With 1k, source natural ingredients and follow DIY recipes to make eco-friendly cleaning solutions. Sell them in your community and online.

  • Tips:
    • Specialize in products like multipurpose cleaners or eco-friendly detergents.
    • Use simple, sustainable packaging to appeal to your target market.
    • Offer variations like different scents using essential oils.

10. Errand Running and Delivery Services

Got a reliable bicycle or means of transport? Busy individuals and businesses in Kenya often need errands run. With your 1k, advertise your availability for tasks like grocery shopping, bill payments, or small package deliveries.

  • Tips
    • Be reliable and accountable, especially when handling money or valuable items.
    • Target your services to a specific area initially for quicker turnaround.
    • Offer competitive rates or package deals for regular clients.

11. Phone Charging Services

In areas with inconsistent power supply, offering phone charging services can be a lifesaver. Invest in a multi-socket adapter or simple power bank with your 1k. Set up a small station near waiting areas or busy markets, charging phones for a nominal fee.

  • Tips
    • Use safe surge protectors if connecting multiple phones at a time.
    • Be open to providing cables for popular phone models.
    • Offer a secure place where people can leave their phones safely while charging.

Tips for Success When Starting a Business with 1k in Kenya

  • Invest in yourself: Even with a tiny budget, online courses or short workshops can enhance your skills and business acumen.
  • Focus on customer service: Excellent service builds a strong reputation even for small-scale businesses.
  • Collaboration is powerful: Consider partnering with other businesses offering complementary products or services.


Your entrepreneurial journey can begin today even with the smallest budget! Choose a business idea that resonates with you, be resourceful, and provide excellent value to your customers as you grow your venture. Remember, starting small is the key to building something sustainable.

I’d love to hear which business idea excites you the most! Feel free to ask questions if you want more tailored advice.

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