Best Businesses to Start in Rural Areas in Kenya

This article will take you through the top businesses you can start and successfully run in rural areas in Kenya

Carson O.
6 Min Read
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Being a resident of a rural area can present many financial challenges as the necessary money-minting resources present in the city are absent. Despite that, rural areas in Kenya are not limited to financial stability as many untapped business niches barely have competition. With careful analysis and market research, you can pinpoint a good gap in your rural area and start working towards financial stability. This article will take you through the top businesses you can start and successfully run in rural areas in Kenya. We will also cover the necessary capital investment and what you will need to start up. Let’s dive in;

Start a Boda-boda business

With only KSh.150,000, you can buy a brand-new motorbike and start offering transport services to your residents. In case you don’t have this kind of money, you may choose to lease motorbikes from big companies and pay up slowly as you earn. You can also opt to buy a second-hand motorbike at a lower cost, say Ksh.70,000. Before settling on buying a second-hand bodaboda, make sure you ascertain that it is fully functional and that you are getting value for your money.

You will also need a driving license and motorbike insurance together with other additional fees that may vary from county to county. Do proper research on this, and consider visiting your local huduma centre for more information and legal guidelines.

Open a mini maize-mill

Rural residents rarely purchase packed maize flour. Most of the residents depend on maize mills which are often scarce and inefficient. If you choose to start your mini-milling business, then you will need a minimum capital investment of Ksh.50,000. However, for standard maize milling machines, you may need Ksh.150,000 onwards.

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Start a Kinyozi or salon business

If you have the necessary skills required in a salon or Kinyozi, then setting up this business will cost you anywhere between Ksh.50,000 to Ksh.100,000. Here are the requirements for a successful business:

  • Mirrors and cabinets – Ksh.20,000
  • Licenses – KSh.7,000
  • 2 plastic chairs – KSh.1,500 cumulatively
  • 2 WAHL clipper machines – Ksh.6,000 in total
  • Cosmetics – Ksh.3,000
  • Towels and miscellaneous – Ksh.6,000
  • Bluetooth music system – Ksh.3,000
  • Electricity bills – Ksh.1,000
  • Blow driers – Variable

Start a water distribution service

Water distribution services could work for you if your rural area does not have sufficient amounts of rainfall. All you will have to do is bore your well or borehole so that you can have the chance to sell your water. You can also stock up on very large tanks and a good water collection system that will enable you to collect enough rainfall that could be distributed to an entire village.

Here is a list of the worst businesses you should never try in Kenya.

Brick baking

Brick baking is especially prevalent in Kisii and Nyamira counties where there are dark clay soils that support the craft. One fully baked piece of brick costs around KSh.6.00. therefore, if a client wants to build a house and orders 50,000 bricks, you stand to make Ksh.300,000. Of course, you will then have to recover your production costs, transport and labour, not to mention the amount of time needed to make bricks.

Become an M-Pesa agent

Signing up as an M-Pesa agent is a quick and simple process. Here is a short tutorial.

Open your Agro-vet

The most prevalent economic activity in rural areas is farming. With this activity, come diseases and other challenges that face farming. Setting up an agro vet in a rural area will fill a market gap and earn you a reasonable income. Consider stocking up on fertilizer, planting seeds, insecticides, and herbicides such as Roundup. Research fast-selling products and stock up on them. You will need a capital investment of at least Ksh.50,000.

Zero-grazing and selling milk

Factories such as KCC etc., are constantly looking for milk suppliers as the market demand for milk grows daily. Consider building a zero-grazing unit, freshian and jersey cows and a good supply of animal feed to be successful in this venture. You will need to set aside at least Ksh.100,000 or more for this venture.

Sell Napier grass and fodder

Since many residents in rural areas are livestock keepers, they will always need feed for their cattle. This is a market gap that you can fill by planning and selling them Napier grass, fodder or both

Start a small hotel/kibanda

Consider starting a small kiosk/kibanda where you could bake and sell mandazis alongside tea and other foodstuffs. This could be a way of making a good income especially if you cannot get employed by the government and if you don’t have the necessary funds to start a bigger business.

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Starting any business, in a city or rural area will require proper market research, finding a good location and having self-discipline for you to realize financial stability. Good Luck!

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I am a multi-faceted professional with a strong foundation in Business and Finance, honed since 2020. Additionally, I possess a deep passion for automobiles, serving as an avid car enthusiast. In parallel to my diverse interests, I am also a dedicated student pursuing a career in the medical field.
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