Last Updated on 2 February 2020 by Gertrude

They say Mombasa is the Importation Business Hub of Kenya. 

There are many profitable businesses to do in Mombasa.

But, there are some businesses which turn Mombasa Entrepreneurs millionaires. 

Some of the best businesses to do in Mombasa to become a millionaire include

  1. Airbnb 

Starting an Airbnb in Mombasa is the easiest way of not only earning side hustle money but becoming rich. 

If you want to run a professional Airbnb to beat the hotels in Mombasa, you need to read this Airbnb ebook. The Airbnb business is a little over-saturated in 2020. 

Not to fear though because you have to know your niche. A niche means a specification, an area of focus for your Airbnb. 

You have to have great customer service. 

A lot of Airbnb hosts don’t consider customer service as a surefire way of attracting and retaining customers. 

You also have to have exceptional services. 

That means thinking out of the box when it comes to hosting. 

Guests want hosts who have greater experiences. 

You also need to know so much about your Airbnb niche market.

 Choosing a niche sets you apart as an expert host. 

Would you love to learn how to host guests in your house with Airbnb and become a millionaire? 

Well, check out my Airbnb book. 

This book opens your eyes to what Superhosts don’t tell you. 

It also encourages you to start your Airbnb from where you are. 

Grab your Airbnb copy today.  

2. Importation/Exportation 

Well, the importation/exportation business is the norm in Mombasa. 

With KPA employing more workers at the dock than any other company. 

How do you start an importation/exportation business in Mombasa? 

1. Know what sells. Cars are what most people think of when shipping big items. A car depot is a greater starting point. 

2. Do you have the money? Of course, you have to have money upfront at least 100,000 dollars to begin.

 3. Build a reputation. Don’t promise what you cannot fulfil.

 4. Know the rules and regulations of shipping from foreign nations

5. Do you have bargaining power?

6. Conduct research to outsource products at better, affordable prices. Remember in Kenya, a shilling discount makes a difference. 

7. Find unique products not already available in Kenya. 

8. Heavy advertising pays off. 

3. Open a Car Business 

A car depot is a great business to have in Mombasa. 

With the number of millennials and buying power increasing in Kenya, you have to outsource exotic and drivable cars. 

This means powerful machinery that Kenyans want and can afford. 

Don’t bring in what every car depot in Kenya is bringing. 

Or if you bring in cars, find an edge like introducing Car phone accessories or offer car customisation for customers. 

4. Sell Clothes 

Women love their clothes and women in Mombasa especially. 

There are a million and one boutiques lining the streets of Mombasa. 

Instead of bulk shipping clothes which gather dust in your store, why not ship exotic clothes like evening gowns or knock-off designer labels?. 

Also, why not show how to style the clothes in your boutique on Instagram?. 

Like fashion for teens, in your 20s, 30s, etc. To start a clothes boutique in an already over-saturated market in Mombasa, know how to display the clothes on mannequins. 

Make your shop presentable and welcoming. 

Also, add accessories like handbag, shoes and jewellery eyeglasses.

 It becomes easier to attract customers when clothes get accessorised. 

The clothing business is getting started and there’s nothing like over-saturation. Find a niche and exploit the heck out of the niche. 

5. Handbags 

Handbags are a woman-wardrobe necessity that bloggers/vloggers create fashion blogs showcasing their handbags collection.

 Check Sonal, Theresa, Jamie Chu and Jamie Xie among others on YouTube. 

Mombasa women haven’t been left out. 

How do you become a handbag seller in an already over-saturated market? 

Find your niche, of course. Like the YouTubers I have mentioned, these are luxury vloggers. 

You could find a niche like buying designer knock-off handbags, which are classy and durable like the designers themselves. 

Some YouTubers succeed in this niche.

 Or you could offer tips for styling handbags and divide into categories like office bags, dinner clutches, day out bags etc. 

It pays to start a YouTube channel or a blog with your handbag collection.

Of course, you branch out into the fashion industry as per your viewers’ request. 

6. Gym 

Have you been to Mombasa and seen every man and woman have abs?. A gym business is another great business to have in this city.

Women love to get in shape from the comfort of their homes or from the gym.

A well-equipped gym attracts great clientele and you could charge from as high as 100 to as low as 20 dollars, depending on the location and demand.

To begin a gym business, you have to have a great location.

Acquire the best gym equipment. And become certified. This means helping customers with their dietary requirements like offering advice on diabetic people.

You charge a bit extra for exceptional service.

Also, create videos to offer as training for people when they don’t feel like going to the gym.

Have extra equipment in the gym to sell like HIIT equipment for people working from home.

Or posture correctors for those sitting at their desks for long.

Be a versatile gym instructor. 

7. Daycare 

The daycare business in Kenya is a lucrative business because kids are born every second. Literally over a hundred thousand infants in a minute.

In Mombasa, parents love to have fancy luxury daycare facilities for their kids as they’d get from a school. And schools are your biggest competitor.

Don’t fret though because there is a complete guide on how to start a profitable daycare as a Kenyan.

The main daycare lesson is to love kids. Kids are lovely but can be quite annoying, you know what I mean. 

Also, have exceptional if not the best daycare facilities.

Have a playground, introduce balanced diet lunches and teach the kids phonics.

To increase your daycare income, introduce after school activities for kids whose parents pick their kids late.

Or have an overnight daycare like a boarding facility for busy bee parents. Want to start a successful daycare business in Mombasa.

Read this blog and grab a copy of the daycare book for residents of Mombasa. 

8. Water 

The water in Mombasa is as salty as hell.

There’s plenty of water to bathe in but not to drink.

You could buy a distillation and filtration water system to ensure the water you extract is as pure as Mount Kenya’s water.

Or you could buy your water from Mt. Kenya, though, that would be so expensive.

Package the water in appealing bottles and have the water refillable for water dispensers to make more sales. 

9. Hair and Beauty 

If there’s a county with beautiful ladies, it’s Mombasa.

Ladies in Mombasa adore their hair.

But proper hair maintenance isn’t easy in Mombasa because of the salty water and humidity which makes the hair brittle. 

10. Real Estate 

Real Estate is growing in Mombasa because many Kenyans realise the importance of having vacation spots where the sun shines almost 365 days.

Also, the search for beach property surges each year in Mombasa.

Why not invest in property in Mombasa and re-rent the property to holidaymakers?.  

11. Pillow Business 

When I started a pillow business in Mombasa, I earned 100,000 shillings in profits in three months.

I fell in love with the pillow business.

But, there are some learning curves I realised when running my pillow empire and I share the ins and outs of a pillow business.

A pillow business is lucrative because people use pillows to decorate their homes.

They use pillows to support their necks and backs when working or sleeping.

And in Mombasa, the pillow craze hasn’t left people. Mombasa is after all a luxury city and an outdoor living for people.

What a greater place to create a business with pillows?. 

Learn how I created and still create an income with my love for pillows. 

12. Sell Kitchenware 

Have you ever walked to Nawal Centre in Mombasa and taken the fleets of stairs to the kitchenware section on the fourth or fifth floor?.

Nawal centre provides a great shopping ground from the first ground but nothing like their assorted kitchenware section.

And women from all walks of life throng Nawal for their great kitchen selection, from the cheapest to most expensive Tuskys and Naivas, won’t beat the prices.

Now, to succeed selling kitchenware, visit Nawal Centre to find out what’s missing on the shelves and not found elsewhere in Kenya. Offer it as an eCommerce for kitchenware.

13. Organise Swimming Competitions and Galas

Mombasa is a swimming spot in Kenya but is there a great swimmer like Michael Phelps in Kenya?.

You could start a swimming school to help kids or adults learn how to swim.

For a long time, swimming has been associated with ‘high class’ in Kenya but it’s a sport.

Then organise swimming galas where people from all walks of life join in the fun.

Charge per ticket seat to generate an income.

You can organise at the beach swimming or in a sports complex. 

14. Prepare Acrobat Shows at the Beach 

When living in Mombasa, I got to see kids perform acrobatic shows from almost anywhere.

It didn’t have to be at the beach. Then, they’d get paid by well-wishers or those who felt entertained.

It takes a lot of balancing skills to be an acrobat. Because acrobat is a skill, make it into an income-generating activity by ensuring you create events and encourage competitions at the beach.

Let there be drinks, eating and merrymaking to make the event a success.

Also, charge to access the venue.

Popular acrobatic hotspots include by the beach events include Serena, Mtwapa’s Copacabana, Mombasa Beach, Pirates Beach. People throng these places every day. 

15. Luxury Airport Transfer 

There’s nothing like a lux car chauffeuring you from the Airport to your destination immediately you land at Moi Internation Airport in Mombasa. How about starting a taxi service that transfers travellers in luxury?.

That means investing in Limos, Bentleys, for example.

What makes a luxury airport transfer?. 1. The car carrying the passenger. 2. The service provided to the passenger. 3. Amenities provided or included in the car.

Have sleek business cards as your clients will be businessmen and women who love comfort and comfort car luxury.

For luxury airport transfer services, you could make packages from standard, premium and executive.

Product tiers help increase the prices of products and services.

Differentiate your service from other established taxi businesses in Mombasa by training your drivers in great customer service.

Network with five-star hotels in Mombasa to get introduced to their customers. 

16. Sell Flowers 

Flowers in Mombasa don’t sell except during Valentines. Mombasa is Kenya’s capital of romance.

Have you heard all the romantic Swahili songs they sing in Kenya are from Mombasa?.

Well, flower gifts are a great gift to start selling.

You don’t find a flower shop in Mombasa easily because flowers wilt faster.

To start a sustainable flower business in Mombasa, show how to arrange flowers as Mombasa is the capital of parties too.

And use flowers during gift giving so introducing a gift shop is the ideal idea.

You’ll work with event planners to help deliver them the best flower cuts.

Networking is crucial.

Have a Facebook/Instagram page to show how to arrange flowers as a hobby or decor. 

17. Event Planning/Party Planning

If there’s a city in Kenya that knows how to throw their parties, it’s Mombasa. From Henna painting parties to piercing and the extreme nightlife.

Start a business helping individuals plan these parties.

Most people would love to see how you would help them enjoy their birthdays, for example, by showing how you planned a party for a previous couple or individual.

Event planning business thrives on self-promotion and serious networking.

Have an Instagram or Facebook page showing how to throw parties, flower arrangement and behind-the-scenes videos/photos. 

18. Farming 

Farming isn’t what many people in Mombasa think about.

Mombasa isn’t a great environment for growing crops.

With technology advancement, crops and farming aren’t limited to places where rainfall is.

Practice Aquaculture, Permaculture, Growing Microgreens. 

19. Water Sports Training Facility 

Think of a water sports facility as an all-inclusive place where people learn about kite-surfing, swimming, water skating, jet skiing.

All great sports for Mombasa county.

Have all the equipment available and source for trainers in the sports of interest. Charge per product tier.

Find a great location by setting your school near the beach where there’s access to changing rooms, toilets.

It can be a tiny mobile structure or ask the local council for advice. 

20. Fishing 

Fishing is a sport or a way of earning extra income in Mombasa county.

Deep-sea fishing is a great skill to have, knowing where the fish hibernates and the best times of day to go fishing.

Investing in a great boat to help stay in the ocean for days or weeks will be helpful.

It’s important to have a market for the fish to avoid them rotting away like these tuna fishermen in Lamu who say they throw tons of tuna per year.

The best tip for starting a fishing business in Mombasa, capture the experience of deep sea fishing like what this Netflix show does. 

21. Tour Guide 

Mombasa provides a lot of experience to its travellers. Not only are the beaches a Wonder of the World but the architecture.

Buildings as old as the Fort Jesus built by the Portuguese to Gedi Ruins in Malindi to Jumba la Mtwana/Jumba Ruins in Mtwapa offer a great historical adventure.

Old Town Mombasa offers old British-designed homes.

You don’t have to stop at buildings and the beach, there’s the rich culture of the coastal people to explore, the nightlife.

The rich spicy Mombasa food and the Kahawa Tungu offer a great travel experience. 

22. School 

Schools are intergral part of the people at the Coast.

They may not perform well in their national exams but they fancy their kids to know how to speak English and other languages.

You don’t have to limit yourself to schools for kids under 18 but set up vocational training centres as well.

So that the youth in Mombasa can stop being labelled as lazy. 

23. Rehabilitation Centre 

Because of the lux and lax environment, Mombasa is the centre of drugs and drug addicts.

A rehabilitation centre is a great business idea and raising awareness about drug addiction.

Start a facility where youths get hope and a second chance away from addiction.

You have to learn a lot about the Psychology of Addiction so get certification to offer the best rehab.

Remember drug taking doesn’t come from drugs but deep-seated issues. 

24. Sewing Notions/Craft Supplies 

Sewing clothes is a great business in Mombasa with deras/kaftans being the most favourite article of clothing.

You don’t have to sew deras, there is a diversity of people in Mombasa and selling the best sewing notions not available in any other shop is the great idea.

A great shop to borrow from is Super Best in Marikiti Market where sewing enthusiasts come from different walks of life to buy sewing notions.

Provide sewing notions like those available in Joanns or Hobby Lobby to satisfy not only sewing professionals but other craft enthusiasts. 

25. Textiles 

Where there are women and children, they have to have textiles.

The textile business isn’t so developed in Mombasa, this is where you chip in as an entrepreneur.

Choose a variety of textiles to sell. You don’t have to sell kitenge fabric only.

Choose a variety of textiles not available in the Kenyan market.

Of course, you don’t have to have a physical shop too, start from home on Shopify using the Oberlo App. 

26. Hardware 

Builders throng Mombasa because of the increase in vacation properties.

Include in your hardware store a variety of heavy tools not found in other hardware.

Think plumbing tools, farming equipment and machinery, tools for DIY. 

27. Transportation 

If you live in Mombasa long enough, you’ll realise you are the only one walking on foot.

Almost everyone else hops onto a taxi or has their own car.

Matatus aren’t a people’s favourite and places like Kizingo don’t have matatus at all. Offer affordable comfortable transportation, luxurious or get into the transportation trend of 2020 by buying scooters and electric bikes. 

28. Security 

Security in Mombasa is an issue like all major cities in Kenya.

A security business will cater to home-security by having surveillance cameras or smart-locks.

You can also train in providing security detail to individuals.

Earn a karate certificate or open a school offering Krav Manga, Tae-kwondoo. 

29. Interior Decor 

Homes in Mombasa get furnishings from Dubai or the Middle East nations.

The interior decor in Mombasa is so unique and well-done, an attraction to the eye.

Begin an interior decor business in Mombasa but incorporate modern ways of decoration to stand out. 

30. Shoes 

Though shoes seem like an unnecessary necessity in Mombasa, sell shoes for women, men and kids.

Choose to niche down by offering a kids shoe boutique or ladies shoe boutique.

The key to shoes means a keen eye to the shoe trends.

Also beginning a business on Instagram or Facebook, where most Kenyan customers prove profitable. 

You must have a unique sense of style to succeed in the shoe business in Mombasa. 

31. Drive-Inn Cinema

A drive-in cinema like the Cinemax at Mkomani near the former Nakumatt Nyali complex. A cinema is a relaxing place.

The catch to having a successful cinema empire is to have the latest movie collections and a combination of blockbusters.

Increase your cinema profit by having popcorns or organising art competitions.

Set up an eatery to attract more customers when the cinema times reduce like during the weekdays. Have more kid favourite programmes so that parents accompany their children. When parents accompany their kids, they can’t get left out.  

32. Lounge/ Bar / Nightclub 

The nightclub is at the hilt of Mombasa.

Entertainment in this city comes next to none in Kenya.

Imagine introducing a luxury non-music booming lounge where businessmen//women can have their meetings without noise from music.

Introduce the tiers/floor plan like what Gasaro in Mtwapa has done with the VIP lounge separated from the other patrons.

Have some wine tasting sessions on Fridays or the weekends.

Teach your patrons to appreciate wine and not drink Tusker only.

Another tip for starting a successful lounge in Mombasa is to have great customer service and discounts or membership cards to VIPs.

Have Tequilla shots competition, if this is a thing.

And introduce more perks for the VIP section so more patrons get encouraged to frequent your lounge.

In addition, have the best restaurant with the latest sea-food and have five-star hotel chefs prepare meals as patrons order them. 

33. Candy Shop 

Mombasa is a luxurious city but  I have never seen a shop dedicated to sugars/sweets only.

I don’t mean cakes/cookies only but a candy shop.

This is where you come in.

Shop for the best candies and provide as arrangements during Valentines Day and Birthdays.

Get inspiration from this Swedish Candy store. 

34. Run Errands 

During the rainy season in Mombasa and also due to excessive heat, many residents don’t like getting sunburns.

Making them come out of their houses in the evening when the sun settles.

As a businessman in Mombasa, you could create a website where you deliver groceries or run errands for the young and old as well.

The errands you could run include and aren’t limited to:

Picking kids from school

Taking care of the elders, of course, if they use medication the elders could direct you

Cleaning windows and floors

Shopping for food in the supermarket or food kiosks

35. ElderCare 

There are a lot of elderly foreigners in Mombasa who could use the services of an elder home.

To start an elder home business, of course you need to love older people.

You must have compassion.

To increase your income, find registered nurses to help you provide door to door treatments as prescribed.

Clean for the elders their homes.

You must have a lot of patience as well as some elders suffer from Alzheimers or Dementia. And maybe irritable. 

36. Laundry 

The laundry business is a booming industry in Kenya and Mombasa hasn’t been left out.

To start a laundry business in Mombasa you need to find commercial washing machine and dryers.

You also need to know how to dry clean clothes. Learn how to clean sophisticated clothes like sequins embellished on kaftans/bubus. 

Deliver the customers clean clothes on time. Or better yet, start a laundromat as there is none in Mombasa. 

37. Househelp Bureau

House helps offer an organisation to a rather chaotic scene for women in Mombasa.

Ease the headache and hiring process of the house helps by having already-interviewed and ready to be placed help.

This business is profitable when you build a reputation to help house helps find the best homes and listen to their grievances.

Take the time to train the house helps in providing the best service there is. 

38. Photobooth

The era of showing off on social media exotic locations makes it easy to provide a photobooth for your customers.

It may not seem like a great business idea but think about it.

Inside the booth, the services get automated, no need to ask strangers to take pics of you, some may run away with your phone.

Or introduce services of video shooting near the beach.

Offer charging portals in the booths so that users pay to have their phones charged.

It’s easy to vandalise photobooths, place them in central locations with night guards guarding 24/7.

Have security locks in case someone tries vandalising. 

In conclusion, starting a business in Mombasa provides a time for exploration and learning as an individual.

The pristine beaches, food and people of Mombasa are welcoming.

Like all businesses, have patience while building your business empire in Mombasa.

Which of these top 30 businesses will you do in Mombasa in 2020 and why?

Why did you choose Mombasa as a great location to set up your business? 




Ramesh Araih · 3 May 2021 at 3:13 PM

Interested to Open a used car importation business

    stephanie · 4 July 2021 at 7:04 PM

    Go ahead and I pray for your success, Ramesh. See what people are buying and why then decide what to bring into the market and what to leave out.

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