Last Updated on 4 March 2022 by Gertrude

Whether you are a college student or an outsider, starting a business near a university is the wisest decision you will make today.

There is an untapped market in the university that can make you a lot of money in just a matter of months.

If you have gone through campus, then you must know that life can be pretty hard to get by.

You have to look for ways to make money survive instead of relying on your parents for money or taking out student loans (HELB).

As a student or outsider, you can start looking for nearby universities that will allow you to start your business.

Do your research in these places, meet the legal requirements, check for zoning, get your finances right and start your business.

I will give you some of the best businesses you can start near a university today. Let’s get started.

25 Best Businesses to Start Near a University 

If you are planning to start operating a business near a university, then you have to be open to the idea that you will be operating a storefront.

You can choose to start your business solo or hire people to help you.

These business ideas I’m about to get into are some of the best and they are quite simple to start.

  1. Sell street food
frying tripe on the open street food

This is one of the best businesses to start near a university.

In my life on campus, I have encountered lots of food vendors who sell a wide range of food items.

The kicker is that they do this because they reap huge benefits from food vending.

If you love cooking and have amazing recipes, you can start a food vending business and open a food stall, get a food truck or a kiosk.

Starting a food vending business requires little capital.

You can kick things off with Ksh. 20,000. You also want to locate your business near a university so that students can easily access you.

You will be making huge profits in a matter of months when your business breaks even.

  1. Tailoring /clothes alteration

Tailoring involves the repair of torn or worn-out clothes.

Starting a tailoring business near a university is the best decision you will make today.

We all know that all the fashion and trends come from university students.

University students are looking for skilled tailors who can come up with the best fashion designs that meet their needs. If you have the skills, you can set up your business near your university of choice. A tailoring business requires little capital.

You will need a sewing machine and a storefront to start your business.

This should cost you around Ksh.20,000 to get started.

  1. Shoe repair business 

A shoe repair business is the best business idea for any hands-on entrepreneur.

You can start a shoe repair business with little or no capital.

Most university students can survive with a pair of shoes for almost a year.

Along the way, there is some repair that needs to be done. You can learn how to repair shoes and then start your business.

As a bonus, you can also learn shoemaking and multiply your income pool.

You can make cool sandals for both the ladies and the gents and make money this way.

Another way to make money in this business is to make belts and ornaments and sell them to university students. 

  1. Retail shop
yummy cakes on display

A retail shop is a good business to start near a university.

When you start a retail shop, what you will do is that you will be selling items that are not readily available to students.

For example, university students do not have the time to go out shopping at the supermarket every day. Things like books and stationery should be easy to find in your retail shop.

You can buy these items from wholesalers and sell them at retail price for a profit.

A retail shop business requires little investment of capital. It will cost you Ksh. 20,000 or less to start this business.

Make sure you check for zoning and do your research on what the university students lack so that you can sell the right things.

  1. Fruit vending 

Just like food vending, fruit vending is an equally important and lucrative business to start near a university. In my school, we have a fast-growing group of people who are bent on a healthy eating lifestyle.

I see them buy fruits daily to keep their diet in check.

When you start a fruit vending business, you will provide university students with their desired fruits including, but not limited to, bananas, apples, mangoes, oranges etc.

If you want to earn more money, you can make fruit salads and sell fruit juices.

You will never run out of customers. With a fruit vending business, you will need Ksh. 10,000 to get started.

  1. A gym business 

A gym is a facility where physical education (P.E) classes take place.

These classes involve lifting weights and other forms of exercise.

A gym has all the sports-related machines and equipment including weights, treadmills and dumbbells that will be used for these exercises.

University students are quite active and want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

With a gym business, you will work with your clients to help them attain their desired fitness goals.

This could be through enforcing regular workouts, coming up with a healthy diet for them, motivating and doing follow-ups.

Your gym business should be near a university so that it can be easily accessible. You will need Ksh. 40,000 to start your gym.

  1. A vending machine business 

A vending machine (food ATM) is a machine that accepts money and dispenses merchandise such as snacks, beverages, alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets to customers automatically after the customer inserts currency or credit into the machine.

This is the best business you can start today near a university.

It is very convenient and reliable.

You can talk to the university and be given a chance to securely place your vending machines where students can access them.

Within no time, you will start realising huge profits with this business.

When you start a vending machine business, you will have to buy a vending machine, find a good location near the university and stock up.

  1. An ATM machine business 
atm machine

An ATM machine is an electronic telecommunication device that enables the customers of a financial institution to perform financial transactions without the need for a human cashier, clerk or bank teller.

This is what university students need.

Make their work easier so that they do not have to go to the bank to cash their money.

They can easily withdraw their HELB money from your ATMs.

All they need to do is to put in the amount of money they’d like to extract after which the ATM machine will dispense the money mechanically to them. 

An ATM machine business is in high demand today because there are so many university students who want to gain access to their money laying in the banks without going to the banks.

  1. A wines and spirits business 

A wines and spirits business is a business in that you start to sell or distribute alcoholic drinks to individuals, businesses or organisations and events.

University is where we have all the parties and the raves.

One of the best ways university students catch up is by grabbing some beers or a few drinks together.

Starting wines and spirits business is the best idea for anyone who is looking to earn a decent living.

Make sure that you do not sell to minors or any illegal items that can cause your business to be shut down.

Wines and spirits are heavily regulated commodities so you need to familiarise yourself with the rules and meet all the legal obligations before you start this business.

  1.  A gaming business

Gaming is one of the best leisure activities for university students.

From the pool table to FIFA video games, university students are players.

You can start a gaming business and offer these options for university students to chill with their friends while playing.

You can set up a gaming space and mount the TV and have the gaming pads set for playing.

You can also allow university students to hire your gaming devices at a fee. A gaming business will earn you a lot of money in no time. 

  1. A bike rental business 

I’ve noticed that there is a rising number of university students who want to adopt an active, healthy lifestyle.

A lot of friends and community groups in schools are resorting to doing outdoorsy things that will enable them to connect openly and freely, as well as experience the beauty of nature.

One of the ways they do this is by renting bikes and going out to ride them.

This is the best business opportunity for anyone who wants to set up their business near a university.

You can start a business and rent out your bikes at a fee.

You will make a lot of money just from renting bikes.

  1.  A bakery business
a bread bakery

A bakery business is a business where you start to bake and sell bread, cakes and other baked goods.

When you start a bakery business, you will produce and sell flour-based food baked in an oven, for example, cakes, cookies, bread and pastries.

University students and staff need these for tea or to have as a snack during their meals.

Starting a bakery business near a university should be on your bucket list because it is one of the simplest business models you will find.

You can start a retail bakery business where students can walk into your physical store to buy your baked goods.

They can also sit in and dine with tea or their preferred beverage.

  1.  A photography business

Capturing moments on campus is on every university student’s bucket list. Whether they need a friends’ photoshoot or a birthday photoshoot.

A photography business is a great business to start near a university.

You can open a studio and offer your photography services at a fee.

You need little capital and you have to market your business if you want to get more clients.

You can also take good pictures of the school and have them use them in the magazine as a base for which you will find your first clients.

  1.  A laundry business

A laundry business is one that involves washing, ironing and folding university students’ clothes.

Although some are just downright lazy, campus students can be quite busy and they do not get time to wash their clothes.

This is a good business opportunity for any entrepreneur looking to start their business.

You need to invest in a good laundry machine(s) so that you can handle the bulk of work and run things efficiently.

On average, you can make Ksh. 5,000 a day with a laundry business.

  1.  A beauty salon/ hairdressing
a luxury beauty salon

We have lots of beautiful ladies on campus who need their hair done on the regular.

The good thing with a beauty salon business near a university is that you will never run out of clients.

You will always have a head or two to take care of. If you are talented in hairdressing, you should consider opening a beauty salon and taking care of campus students’ hair needs.

On a good day, you can get close to Ksh. 10,000 a day with a hairdressing business.

  1.  A cosmetic shop business 

A cosmetic shop business is a business where you start to sell cosmetic products that enhance people’s appearance and attractiveness.

Cosmetic products can be anything from makeup to body lotions and hair products.

What happens in a cosmetic shop business is that you will be selling your cosmetic products to interested university students and make a profit out of each cosmetic product that you sell.

University students love beauty and make up and opening a cosmetic shop near a university is one of the best ways to make money today. 

  1.  A printing shop business 

A printing shop business is a business where you start to take care of university students’ printing needs.

With the number of assignments and projects that these students work on, they need printing services to make copies and duplicates before they hand in their work.

This business is perhaps the most reliable business you can start near a university today.

The amount of money you will make will depend on how many clients you have and the kind of printing services they need.

On a good day, you can make Ksh. 3,000 or more with a printing shop business.

  1.  Open a cyber cafe

A cyber cafe ranks close to the printing shop business.

If you have the capital, you can set up computers and offer a cool ambience for campus students to visit your premises.

You will also need to have a very strong Internet connection if you want them to have the best experience from your cyber cafe. The amount of money you make with a cyber cafe will depend on the number of customers you get every day.

  1.  A bookstore business 
a library arranged luxuriously

A bookstore business is another amazing business that you can start near a university today.

You can open a book store and offer books that are otherwise expensive to get to university students on rent.

This is very convenient for university students because their books cost Ksh. 20,000 and they wouldn’t want to spend that much money on a book they won’t use later on.

  1.  A swimming pool business

Opening a swimming pool is an ambitious way to start a business near a university.

University students love recreation and if you have the capital that you need, you can open a pool and charge them when they use your swimming pool services.

The amount of money you will make will depend on the number of students visiting your pool.

  1.  A laptop repair business

A laptop repairing business is a business where you start to improve a client’s laptop functionality by replacing and restoring the damaged and broken parts on their laptop computers.

University students have laptops that have been damaged by dropping the laptop, fire and water.

As laptop repairs, you will have to assess the problem and replace the damaged parts such as the laptop batteries, keyboard, laptop screen and even install and update software to restore the laptop to a desirable look.

You will then be paid for these services at a fee for which you are going to charge them. This is a great business to start near a university.

  1.  A mobile phone repair business
a mobile repairman busy at work

A mobile phone repair business is a business where you start to improve your customer’s mobile phone functionality by replacing the damaged parts on their phones.

What happens is that a university student will approach you with a mobile phone that may have been damaged by dropping the mobile phone, fire, and water.

You will then have to assess the problem and replace the damaged parts such as keypad, batteries, LCD screens and even install and update software to restore the phone to its “original” appearance.

You will then get paid for these services at a fee for which you are going to charge them. This business ranks closely with a laptop repairing business. 

  1.  Clothing boutique

Opening a clothing boutique near a university is the best business you can think of today.

As I said, university students love fashion more than anything and if you have a good eye for the most unique and trendy clothes then this business is for you.

You will get more customers every day and make money by selling clothes.

Matter of factly, this is perhaps one of the most popular businesses to start near a university. 

  1.  Be a student’s event organiser. 

Yes. An event planning business should be on your bucket list when you are thinking about the best businesses to start near a university.

You can plan events for university students, for example, meet and greets, brunches and general parties for them.

You will then be paid for these services.

Make sure you invest in the right items you will be using for event planning and organising if you want to run an effective business. 

  1.  A delivery business 

a delivery man

Starting a delivery business is also another great business idea to start near a university.

You will be delivering food items and any other packages that are required of you at a fee.

University students want someone who can save the hassle of going back and forth to look for food or any other thing when they can just have them delivered to their doorstep. 

26. Spicy deep-fried chicken

Apart from making themselves look like world-class business professionals, university students love eating.

Starting a spicy deep-fried chicken business will make you a lot of money. Instead of having an open stall, opt for a closed stall with plenty of clean water and sitting space.

Sell your spicy chicken at affordable prices that even the poorest student can afford to buy from you.

Also, at the beginning pair, your deep-fried spicy chicken with another drink other than a soda can be a smoothie or bubble tea, whatever tickles your students’ taste buds.

If the students ask for fries or other foods to accompany the chicken, introduce them one at a time.

You can introduce other deep-fried foods like tilapia or other kinds of fish.

27. Bubble Tea Business

What Business to Start in a College Town?

The following are the best businesses to start in a college town and they include:

Acting school

Clothes alteration

Art supply store


Fashion design


Printing store

Tutoring business

Resume writing


Coffee shop

Corn roasting

Computer training

Customised phone case business

Food truck

Juice bar


Bookbinding, spiral binding, lamination

Pizza delivery

Vending machine

Top 10 Buget-Friendly Businesses for Students in Kenya

Motivational Apps


Sell Used Books

Sell Your Notes

Event Organiser

Start a Photography Business

Food Delivery Business




Altering Clothes

Best Businesses to Start at University

Social media

A blog

Pet sitting

Runa delivery service

Start a food stall

Write and sell books on Amazon

Start a language course

Design gift baskets/hampers

Start a photo album/scrapbook club

Attend lectures then sell your notes

Start selling stock photos

Sell smoothies and sandwiches

Turn photos/art into posters

Start a proofreading business

Become a local tour guide

Sell university welcome essentials ( stationery, kitchen utensils)

Start a tutoring service

Rent parking space

Laundry and dry cleaning service

Create a motivational app

Start a gym /outdoor fitness

Start acting show/art/music

Resell textbooks

Design and sell art, clothes, shoes

Find thrift clothes and sell

Start an accommodations website

Grow and sell veggies and fruits

Start an eCommerce website

Become a freelancer

Become a freelance writer

Offer resume writing service

Design and sell phone cases

Resources Related to Best Businesses to Start Near a University

Mistakes Youths Make in Business in Kenya

Ultimate Guide How to Start a Business in Kenya

What Business Can I Start With 20k as a Student in Kenya and Succeed?

Business Ideas for Students With Low Investment in Kenya

What Can I Sell as a Student in Kenya to Make Money?

Become a Millionaire in Your Gap Year as a Kenyan Student

65+ Best Businesses to Start With a Smartphone in Kenya

90+ Small and Fast-Growing Businesses in Kenya

a vending machine

Starting a business near a university is a good idea for any entrepreneur looking to make money.

If you are a student, these ideas are for you.

You have to be careful and look into what the school requires of you as you support your business.

In my university, for example, one of the direst room policies in universities is not cooking any type of meals because of safety concerns. If you do this, you will get evicted from the university facilities.

Make sure you also look out for competition and put emphasis on marketing your business and customer service.

Millennials are easily influenced by that I know campus students to be very picky so if you do not listen to their needs or offer excellent service, they will not come back or even refer anyone to you.

Do your due diligence.

The businesses here require little capital and they will make you a lot of money in the long run. Success to you as you start your business.

Do you want to start a business near a university in Kenya?

The businesses listed here to start near a university are some of the most popular -according to the services campus students need.

If you have another business idea you want to begin near a university, don’t limit yourself.

Research and ask the students what they’d love to have as a product/service. Don’t think of products only.

Which business would you start near campus in Kenya today?




Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published.


Online Businesses / Online Work in Kenya