10 businesses one can start with capital of Shs 150,000

A fruits vendor using his car to supply to customers

A fruits vendor using his car to supply to customers

There is an increasing number of Ugandans especially in Kampala starting roadside businesses since the partial lifting of the lockdown.

On the roads to the suburbs where people live, there are more selling fruits, liquid soap and other household items. Some look like people who have been formally employed before given their dress code and how they speak. With jobs lost, this is a good thing.

Over the weekend, there was a post circulating on social media where somebody was inquiring what business they could do with start-up capital of Shs 150,000. Some people ridiculed the post as something impossible while others argued it was possible.

I thought of businesses one could start with Shs 150,000 and came up with a few of them. In no particular order, here they are.

Fruits vending

Sixty passion fruits (Masaka type) are retailed at Shs 10,000. This means that one can start. So, with Shs 150,000 one can start with more than 15 bag packs of 60 fruits each. An apple is sold at about Shs 1,000 at wholesale prices and retailed at Shs 1,500.

So, one can start selling apples with 140 fruits. Many other fruits can be sold with the said capital.

Toilet paper

Toilet paper vending in traffic is common these days. Retail prices range from Shs 10,000 to Shs 20,000 depending on the quality. This is another business one can start with Shs 150,000.

Liquid soap

Making liquid soap is so easy and ingredients are readily available. One just needs to learn how to make it. A five-litre jerrycan is sold at Shs 10,000. This means that one can easily start the business with 75 litres.

Shoe shinning

The new normal of working from home seems not to be working. Offices are open again and Kampala is full of people.

The dust in Kampala isn’t about to go away. So, this is one business one can be able to start with Shs 150,000 if they identified a busy location.

Household supplies

If you identify a few families in your neighbourhood, you can start supplying them with household items. With a capital of Shs 150,000 you can buy stuff from the market and you are paid on delivery.

Hair plaiting

Once you have the skill, you can identify a salon which you sub-rent per a hour whenever you have a client. The capital is then used to purchase hair braids or weaves. Where weaves are more expensive, you simply ask a client to pay in advance or identify a shop where you can get them on credit.

Fresh beans and peas vending

In Kampala’s traffic, you can easily vend fresh beans, peas and vegetables all of which you can start with Shs 150,000 or less. You can also identify buildings with many offices and ask for permission to deliver to clients in their vehicles.

Bricks and sand supplies

A small tipper (Elf) carries about 800 bricks. Each brick made out of ordinary soil is about Shs 150. You can hire a truck and deliver them to people’s construction sites at a profit. You can also deliver sand to sites.

Social media influencer

I assume you already have a smartphone. You can start a business of tweeting, and making posts for organisations and individuals.

Many of those standing for election don’t know a thing about social media. You can start making favourable posts for them. All you need is data and OTT. If you don’t have a phone, you can still get an affordable one.

Cleaning services

There is need for cleaning services in homes and business promises. You simply need soap and some pieces of cloth all of which cost less than Shs 150,000. You can even employ other people to help.

Where you need machines such as vacuum cleaners or high pressure pumps, you can hire them. Imagine if you negotiated with an office block and they allowed you to wash cars as office people worked, you could easily clean 10 cars a day earning Shs 100,000 a day for at least five days. You can also hire brush cutters to slash compounds.   

There are hundreds of other business ideas one can start with Shs 150,000. I just picked these ones.


The writer is a communication and visibility consultant.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd