Have you ever considered where in Kenya you can do good business? Come to think of it, many Kenyans think only as far as Nairobi and Mombasa – the big cities- yet many places are crying out with investment opportunities that could make you a millionaire overnight.
The World Bank frequently looks up, evaluates and issues reports on the best towns and cities to do business and based on a variety of criteria including ease to register property and to start a business. Frequently, town such as Narok top the list – and I was there only a few weekends ago. All its extremely large hotels were overflowing. Here we give a list of the best and suggest some businesses that you can start
Malaba is a small town in Busia County in the Western part of Kenya. The border town handles 70% of cargo in transit to and from the port of Mombasa to neighbouring landlocked countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and DR Congo. With completion of the standard gauge railway line, the town will host a train passenger terminal which will further boost fortunes for investors in its environs. Further records show that Malaba collects at least Ksh60 million in revenue every month.
Malaba has often been recognized as the best place in the country to get construction permits and the third best for enforcing contracts. Over the last 5 years Malaba has been competing closely with Narok for the number one position on the ease of doing business list.
Some ideal business ventures for Malabans to embark on include: Wholesale supply of consumables, import of leather products from Kampala to Kenya and fast food restaurants to cater to travelers who may stop over as they await customs clearance.
Narok, a tourist town neighboring the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve, is renowned for its significantly cut bureaucratic red tape in the business environment. The World Bank once ranked Narok the 15th best investment destination in the world just behind towns in Hong Kong, China. Ease of obtaining business license, a resurrecting tourism sector and proximity to the Capital City makes Narok one of the most attractive towns for a small business or start-up to launch.
Some ideal small business ideas for residents of Narok and its environs revolve around supply of imported clothes, supply of cooking gas, supply of spare parts for motorcycles, restaurants and curio shops.
Known for its perfect blend of pineapple and coffee farms, Thika town is reputed world over for its heavy industrial production ventures. It was once named the 78th best destination to do business in the world because it has comparatively less cumbersome procedures especially on property registration. Cheaper rent prices, good road infrastructure and proximity to the Capital make it among the most wonderful places for a start-up.
Some small businesses that are performing well in and around Thika town include transport business, middle-income real estate, supply of construction material, ICT-based and grocery supplies.
The distant town which is located about 200 kilometers from Kenya-Somalia border offers major business opportunities. Demand for low cost housing is high while medical services are far from being adequate for the fast growing population. Yet the town enjoys relatively good infrastructure and is strategically located next to the ongoing LAPPSET project, Mombasa Port and the NEP frontier. The World Bank once recognized Garissa as the best town in the country to enforce business contracts in and number 3 when it comes to issuance of construction permits for new businesses.
The speed of the town’s growth coupled by the presence of the Eldoret International Airport provide opportunities for growth. Eldoret was once ranked as the second best place to process construction permits and the 5th best for enforcing contracts according to a report by the World Bank.
Businesses that deal will supply of electronics, stationery and construction materials find the Eldoret market quite attractive. Also Eldoret is at the centre of Kenya’s bread basket, offering an excellent opportunity for agri-business.
The coastal city enjoys broad based business opportunities that are attractive for start-ups. Mombasa is one of the lucky few towns in the country to have a specialized court for commercial dispute resolution. According a report by World Bank Mombasa is the best place in Kenya to register property.
Mombasa is served by relatively good infrastructure and is gateway to Kenya and much of Eastern and Central Africa. Ideal business include those related to tourism and conference.
- Isiolo Town
Isiolo dominates the Central and Upper Eastern business environment with its eyes set on a future plan that will see it assume the role of Kenya’s premier resort city. Isiolo is also at the heart of the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor. The World Bank once ranked Isiolo as the second easiest place to start a business after Thika town. Catlle and related businesses such as hides and skin and agro vets, remain the basic business opportunies.
High population growth remains a key to the business opportunities available in Kisumu town.Demand for low cost housing, hardware shops are some of the obvious busineses. But there is also increasing demand for schools, hospistals and consumer goods. Of course fish remains a big source of business opportunities as the City lies at the shores of Lake Victoria.
With its strategic location in East Africa and a growing middle class Kisumu City has been a focus for infrastructure upgrade which has created many opportunities for small businesses dealing in consumer goods.
Kilifi is a coastal town best suited for businesses related to tourism. The town enjoys relatively cheaper county government rates and access to the Moi International Airport, Malindi Airport, upcoming Lamu Port and upcoming Standard Gauge Railway line. Restaurant business and agri-business (particularly nut farming and exporting) are among the most favorable businesses to start on a budget in Kilifi.
Ranked number 10 among towns and cities of Kenya where you can do good business, Nyeri town has low cost of living because it lies within agriculturally rich area. Best businesses to start there are therefore agriculture based – farm produce, poultry keeping, onion farming, rabbit farming, food processing, milk packaging and production. Large education institutions are also setting up in the area and this is gradually creating housing demand.