Simple Businesses to Start in Kenya During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Similar to other parts of the world, the current Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the Kenyan economy. Jobs have been lost, businesses are struggling to remain afloat, and a significant portion of the population is finding it difficult to meet their basic needs.

However, all is not lost. Do you remember the 2017-2018 post-election violence when Kenyans thought the economy will take forever to recover? We have been through various tragedies as a country and we always come out strong. This is no different. In fact, this is the apt time to start a side hustle.

Tough economic times means that you can source labor and a business premise at a fair price to start a news business. Take advantage of this scenario and nurture your startup into a full-blown business that will compete on an even ground with other enterprises when normalcy returns. As such, this article will highlight some of the businesses that you can start in Kenya during the coronavirus pandemic.

Grocery Delivery

The Kenyan government has advised its citizens to avoid crowded places as a way of curbing the spread of Covid-19. Take advantage of this situation, and deliver the essentials to people’s door steps. For instance, if you have a car, you can source products from the market or directly from farmers at a wholesale price, repackage them, and deliver to clients. An attractive website, social media, and referrals are effective ways of marketing such a business. Alternatively, you can stock the items in your car, set shop in a strategic place within a residential estate, and sell to the locals. The key to succeeding in this business is to sell quality products at a fair price.


The coronavirus epidemic has left a significant number of skilled individuals jobless. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should sit on your skills. In fact, thanks to the presence of well-established freelance websites, you can build your career as a freelancer and not even have to look for the usual 8 to 5 job.

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Sites such as Upwork and Fiverr are a good point to start looking for work as a freelancer. Whether you are an accountant, graphic designer, blogger, marketer, or tutor, these platforms offer opportunities to individuals with different skills. What’s more, you don’t have to be proficient in a particular field. As long as you have basic knowledge about the area you are interested in, you can start working and enhance your skills as you go along.

Social Media Influencing

In Kenya, a significant portion of the population has a smart phone and access to Internet. Currently, Internet users in the country are about 22.86 million; an increase of 3.2 million over the past one year. Over 8.8 million Kenyans are on social media. Based on the fact that these figures have been on an upward trend over the years, it is evident that social media is a large platform that one can use strategically to earn a decent living.

In a previous article, I highlighted some of the ways that you can monetize your social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Don’t just socialize with fellow social media users, post photos and videos, and share your thoughts. Focus on expanding your audience and making money from these sites. For instance, you can choose to start a YouTube channel, or a blog. Depending on your interests, create content that will appeal to your target audience. You can also use TikTok to create funny clips that will propel you into a brand that companies want to work with.

Personal Tutoring

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the closure of schools. Despite this disruption of the annual school calendar, candidates registered to sit for the KCPE or KCSE exams this year will not be excused from doing so. Students in other grades are also missing out on their studies. While some schools are able to conduct virtual learning, the learners may not understand all concepts since they lack the usual one-on-one interaction with their tutors. What’s more, home schooling is challenging since most parents still have to work.

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If you are a graduate with no job or have a less demanding job, take advantage of this situation by becoming a personal tutor. Talk to your friends, family members, or neighbors and convince them to hire you as their children’s teacher during this period. Social media and referrals are the best ways of marketing this business.

On-Call Beautician

With reference to coronavirus, some of the high-risk public places are salons and barber shops. If you are skilled in this industry, you can earn a decent living during this crisis by taking your services to the clients. Like the other businesses included in this article, social media and referrals are some of the effective approaches of marketing this venture.

Indeed, there are a lot of products and services that you can offer as an on-call beautician. The common ones are plaiting, pedicures, manicures, and massages. Use this opportunity to introduce other products to your clients. For instance, the human hair business is currently booming in Kenya. Use YouTube or a personal instructor to learn how to make quality wigs of different types and prices. Additionally, you can offer makeup and skincare classes either physically or virtually.


While the coronavirus pandemic has destabilised the economy at a national and global level, it has created needs that budding entrepreneurs should take advantage of. You don’t have to start with a large capital. In fact, most successful businesses started small and scaled up with time.


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