Best Businesses to Start on Campus in Kenya

Carson O.
13 Min Read

Picture this: it’s the start of a new academic year and university campuses across Kenya are buzzing with energy. Fresh-faced students eagerly explore their new surroundings, make new friends, and stock up on the essentials they need for the year ahead. It’s a time of excitement and possibility, but it’s also a time of challenge, as students grapple with tight budgets and the pressure to make ends meet. But what if I told you that there’s a way to turn this challenge into an opportunity? By offering the right products or services, you can tap into the needs and desires of university students and provide them with what they need. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the list of small businesses you can start to finance your university/campus expenses.

Sell laptop and phone stickers

If you possess the drive to market your products and the creativity to reach a large consumer base, then selling stickers might be your ticket to quick profits. With a starting investment of just Ksh. 5,000 and an Alibaba customer account, you can be on your way to making money within a matter of weeks. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting you started:

businesses to start in university
  • Start by creating an account on and logging in.
  • In the search bar, type in “stickers pack” and browse through the options until you find the one you want.
  • Click on your preferred pack to add it to your cart and proceed to checkout.
  • During checkout, you’ll need to provide a delivery location within the merchant’s country. To do this, you’ll need to find a shipping service that can transport the goods from the country of origin to your location in Kenya.
  • Consider using Silvergate Cargo Limited as your shipping agency. Contact them at +254 722 220717 for more information.

If you spend Ksh.5,000 on 10 packs of stickers, each containing 50 stickers, selling each sticker at Ksh.10 will yield your investment capital only. However, choosing a higher price for the products, say Ksh.30 per sticker will bring in 150% profit.

From the analysis above, an investment of Ksh.5,000 will yield Ksh.15,000. Use a third of your revenue to purchase more stock and make more money. It is as simple as that!

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Start a printing service

Capitalizing on the high demand for affordable printing services among campus students can be a profitable venture. To start, invest in a high-quality printer and a supply of paper. A budget of approximately Ksh.20,000 will ensure you get a reliable printer without overspending.

As a busy student, you can opt to partner with trusted retailers to manage the printing business on your behalf. Make sure to establish a clear agreement on revenue sharing to ensure mutual benefits.

With a steady supply of customers and proper management, you can expect to turn a profit in no time. As your business grows, you can reinvest your earnings to expand your operations and increase your earnings even further.

Selling Movies

Selling movies does not necessarily mean that you have to own a physical shop. All you need is a good laptop with a large amount of storage.

Since you are on campus, accessing Wi-Fi for your downloads shouldn’t be a problem. A good place to download your movies and series is the library.

After downloading the movies, spread the word that you are selling movies and series to friends and other students at an affordable price. In a few days, you will have a solid client base. While this business can’t make you filthy rich, it will certainly prevent you from sleeping hungry.

Selling Perfumes and makeup

Students who have started this business all have the same technique of generating profit i.e., buy a good perfume that cost around Ksh.2,000, and dilute the perfume while mixing it with other scents. After this, they subdivide the perfumes into smaller portions of around 3ml to 5ml. These portions are sold for Ksh.50 each. Therefore, diluting 100ml of perfume and reselling the modified versions may yield ksh.2,500. This comes to a net profit of Ksh.500.

Important to note is the fact that you will need to walk from room to room marketing your products. You can also opt to invest in social media marketing to expand your clientele.

Delivering Alcoholic Drinks

Campus students enjoy having fun and being wild, especially on Fridays. As a campus student, I witnessed how students would save the entire week only to spend it all on liquor on weekends.

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Do you see a market here? I do.

Choosing to be a delivery person to your friends or colleagues will help you earn a little more while your friends spend. All you need is a good mode of transport for your deliveries to arrive on time. You should consider using Bodaboda transport as it can manoeuvre lots of terrains.

If you are not willing to work for your friends, then consider working for the dealer. Approach a liquor store and using sales techniques, convince them that giving you a delivery job will be mutually beneficial. In some lucky cases, the dealer may offer you a motorbike in case you need to handle bulk deliveries.

Start a Play Station gaming centre/lounge

Despite being rather expensive, starting a Play Station business is a very lucrative niche. Campus students don’t have a lot of commitments and therefore, enjoy spending their money on gaming.

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A good Play Station business will need a capital investment of around Ksh.600,000 to Ksh.700,000. Monthly earnings on the other hand range from Ksh.70,000 to Ksh.130,000. Read here for a more detailed review.

With a huge investment in Play Station lounges, comes a lot of responsibility.

Play Station lounges have many costs and risks. For instance, maintenance of devices, gadgets and furniture may cost a lot. Further, some of your clients can be malicious and invade your business when you are away.

It is important to invest in good security and set up guidelines on how clients should conduct themselves within the gaming lounge.

Selling Snacks

businesses to start in university

Snacks can range from simple products like lollipops and groundnuts to setting up a business to sell smokies and eggs. Initial capital investment will range from Ksh.500 to Ksh.10,000. Consider doing a market analysis before investing in the business.

Snacks you can sell include:

  • Cakes
  • Mandazis
  • Samosas
  • Chapati
  • Biscuits
  • Fresh juice from blended fruits
  • Boiled eggs, sausages and smokies

Graphics design

businesses to start in university

Graphics design is a good niche if you are computer savvy. I am a graphics designer and the fact is, the business is lucrative. You can make posters or logos for clients at Ksh.2,000 or more.

If you perfect your art, you can complete a single order in less than an hour. If you handle 3 orders daily, you will make at least Ksh.20k per week.

What do you need to start graphics designing?

Avoid people or websites that say you need a premium course to learn graphics design. It took me two weeks to learn the basics from youtube videos and a few months to perfect my art. Now I charge my willing clients exorbitant prices, haha.

Offer forex classes at a fee

If you are a forex guru, you are not broken. However, you can choose to sell signals to novices looking to make quick money without actually studying the markets. You can also offer to be a tutor and help many young traders make money from forex.

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Bicycle-riding services

If you have a bicycle or two, you can rent them out at an hourly rate. Most businesses charge clients Ksh.60 per hour.

If you don’t have bicycles, you will need a Ksh.30,000 capital investment and licences that may cost Ksh.5,000 or more. For storage, use your hostel room until you can afford to pay rent for the bicycles.

Use the profit to expand your business. In a few months, you will be making a good sum of income.

Open a barber shop

Starting a kinyozi business can be a lucrative and low-cost opportunity for university students in Kenya. A kinyozi is a barbershop that primarily caters to men and offers haircuts, shaves, and grooming services. To start a kinyozi business, you will need to secure a location, purchase equipment such as barber chairs, clippers, and other styling tools, and stock up on basic supplies like shaving cream, combs, and brushes. A rough estimate of Ksh.50,000 to Ksh.200,000 is a good starting point for your business.

To make your kinyozi stand out, consider offering a range of services beyond basic haircuts and grooming, such as beard trims, hair treatments, and scalp massages. Additionally, create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere by decorating your shop with colourful posters, sports memorabilia, or other items that appeal to your target audience. Finally, offer competitive pricing and consistently provide high-quality services to build a loyal customer base. With the right approach, a kinyozi business can be a profitable venture for university students in Kenya.

Sell affordable clothing for ladies

Ladies like shopping and having a business for ladies-wear can be a stepping stone to financial success. Second-hand but fashionable clothing will surprise you with how fast the sales go. All you need to do is wake up early on the market day, rush to a mitumba dealer and buy the best clothes before other buyers do. You will then have to set up a stall or walk from hostel to hostel selling your products.

Fast-selling electronics and gadgets

Students are constantly in need of gadgets such as microSD cards, earphones, charging cables, adapters, headphones and the like. Just like selling clothes, you can choose between setting up a simple stall, renting a room or walking from room to room marketing your products.

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In conclusion, starting a business at university can be a great way to earn extra income and gain valuable experience. From selling stickers to starting a printing business or even opening a kinyozi, the opportunities are endless. However, it is important to consider your skills and interests, as well as your budget, before choosing a business to start. With a well-researched business plan and a little hard work, you can turn your entrepreneurial dreams into a reality. Best of 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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