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Explainers - News around Africa - Startup - June 14, 2019

Small Businesses that Require Less Capital in Nigeria

In a tough business environment, with a teeming population of over 200 million and a continuous decline in white collar job opportunities, Nigeria’s small business industry is gradually following great economies of the world like China, Japan, America and Germany in order to tap into the benefits of small scale industry to provide jobs and know-how.

While, many Nigerians are seeking business opportunities that would not necessarily break the bank, most would-be entrepreneurs and investors are focusing on viable small investment opportunities that can thrive with little capital and in less populated regions as well as major commercial hubs like Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja. Here are some of those small businesses that require less capital to start off:

Catering Services

The food business is one of the most viable small businesses that Nigerians can engage in today. In most urban centres, where people do not have time to cook, they depend largely on food business owners to prepare the meals while they pay them for such services.

The CEO of Speed Meals, Tobias Igwe and Titus Igwe – often referred to as ‘the igwe twins,’ are mobile kitchen operators in Lagos and they now offer their services to big companies with known and established brands: “There is great prospects for would-be entrepreneurs who venture into food business in Nigeria. We started small but today, we offer our services to corporate organisations and even embassies” says Titus.

Food vendors and mobile kitchens are the rave of the moment. With very little capital, people can invest in them and grow them into large scale.


Land cultivation and breeding of animals and plants is assuming new dimensions Nigeria today. The list is rich with many livestock to choose from: Fish farming, poultry rearing, cattle farming, rabbit farming, sheep rearing, piggery, snail rearing, etc. With the current plan of the Nigerian government to ban importation of frozen fish, birds and other livestock products, most business people can key into this venture and run to the bank.

Additionally, the Nigerian government is pouring in funds from different sectors to encourage people to go into farming of food crops, cash crops and livestock. Food and cash crops such as cassava, rice, palm, nuts, cocoa, millet, sorghum, etc, are never out of demand.

Samson Ogbole’s Aeroponic invention of planting without soil

For Samson Ogbole, a Nigerian farmer and biochemist, whose discoveries did not just begin by a yearning for the extraordinary but to provide a lasting end to the hunger plaguing his home country, his ‘smart farms’ invention is building a new foundation for the future for agriculture using aeroponics – a process of growing crops without using soil.

Potable water production and sales

With the booming demand in sachet and bottle water in mostly populated areas of Nigeria, anyone involved in the chain of the water business can cash in owing to one major reason; high demand! With little capital, any entrepreneur can go into this business and thrive.

Furniture Sales

This is quite a novel enterprise. Some people have been able to create great fortunes for themselves in the area of buying and selling of furniture made locally. This is a money-spinner for those who are already in it. Most business people who are into this, engage the services of professional carpenters. All they do is provide a showroom to display good craft and customers come buying. Some others have gone a step further by creating online marketplace to display their wares so that people from all over the world can shop for their furniture online.

Beverage Production

Many beverage companies are hitting it big with different flavor ranges of their products. While these fruit juice companies such as Chivita, La Casera, Nigerian Brewries PLC, Guiness Nigeria PLC, etc, are making billions from their products annually, small business entrepreneurs can borrow a leaf from them and begin to look at producing local street alternatives like zobo (black currant drink), pine-apple juice, ice cream, yoghurt, etc.


A small business entrepreneur, Sylvester Anumba who does his business in Ejigbo, Lagos says though there are many challenges with production of yoghurts, but he explains that the business can be very rewarding: “I have had cause to regret going into the yoghurt business earlier on, but it is very rewarding now because I was able to surmount the problems one after the other. I started with making yogurts for

Real estate

Selling and re-selling of buildings and property in Nigeria is a booming market for those who have great marketing abilities. Most of them work from the comfort of their homes to sell properties and acquire huge commissions from these real estate owners. Most people in this sector today use social media (Instagram, Whatsapp and Facebook) to sell properties for a commission while they get on with a regular 9-5 job.


Transport business in Nigeria has gone electronic. With the innovations from Uber, Taxify and the rest, most car owners now have a ready-made business in waiting because there is a high demand owing to increase in the number of private schools, religious bodies, NGOs, corporate organisations, business places, etc that would need such services.

Some organisations may not have vehicles to move their members and would require outsourced services and some corporate businesses may not be able to afford an in-house transport system for its executives and staff, so this is where you come in. You can provide the cars, vans or the drivers while you get paid on a contract bases.

Day Care and Nursery Centre

The demand for quality daycare services is rapidly increasing as parent’s commitments to career and business are also on the rise due to rising expenditures comparable to low incomes. This service can be a good option for people who love kids have passion for child care.

There are so many more profitable businesses that require less capital that entrepreneurs can go into. Some of these are: fashion designing, shoe making, hair salon services, information marketing, funeral services, recruitment agency services, security services, alternative power production, car wash, laundry and dry cleaning and a host of others.


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