Facebook and Dell started on campus. They’re empires born from hungry university students that wanted to change the world.
Instead of wasting time chasing girls or wondering how to coerce men, ask yourself, what can I achieve as a university student?
What can I build as a university student?
One of Africa’s most recognised fashion designers, Tiannah, started her business on campus.
She saw what campus students want, nice clothes, good hair, good skin, nice shoes and started providing these products to them.
It’s hard balancing university entrepreneurship and a business, so you must learn how to prioritise and also plan your time.
University education should be centred around building a student’s entrepreneurial mindset.
There are not so many entrepreneurship education programs in Kenyan schools curricula.
Students are going out of their way to prepare themselves for the complexities of the current and future workforce by engaging in entrepreneurship activities while in the university.
A school should reinforce both cognitive learning and experiential learning.
Graduates who do not have these skills tend to have a hard time coping with the real world.
Entrepreneurship education is a must. This is not only educational but also a transformational experience.
What’s University Entrepreneurship?
University entrepreneurship is where college students engage in entrepreneurship activities while still in school.
University entrepreneurship does not necessarily revolve around the school premises.
Any idea that you bring to life to earn you an income while still in the university is beneficial.
Why University Students Start a Business?
There are students who want to pay tuition plus other bills.
They start a business in school in order to get income.
Other students may want to be financially independent.
They start a business in order to achieve that.
Some students may want to take the risk of starting a business, in an effort to test their skills.
They take it up as a hobby and run risks.
How to Begin a Business on Campus
Have an idea.
This is an important first step. You have to have a clue on what you want to start.
What is your hobby?
What are your talents?
What are you passionate about?
Knowing this will give you a clear route for you to get started.
Once you have an idea of what you want to do, do your research.
Do not jump right off the cliff and launch your business, ask questions.
Enquire from your classmates what they think about your idea.
Do they need your products or services?
What is the demand?
What are they looking for in your services?
This will help you to engage with your potential customers and your business is likely to take off once it launches.
Write a business plan
Every business must have a business plan.
List all your objectives and business goals that you want to achieve.
Layout your marketing strategy. List the products and services that you will deliver.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
How much capital do you have to raise?
A business plan will be a point of reference in case you miss out on anything as you go about your activities.
Talk to the school administration
The school administration will give you permission to set up your business premises.
Present your business plan and tell them why you think it is important to start this particular business.
Mention how this business is going to benefit the school, yourself and your colleagues.
Once this is settled and you have the go-ahead, you can set up your business.
If you have a physical location, make sure your potential customers know about it.
You can put up posters or give out flyers to advertise your business.
In no time, your business will be operational.
25 Most Lucrative Businesses to Start on Campus in Kenya
There are many businesses you can start in a campus environment.
- Laundry services
Start your laundry business by washing your fellow students’ clothes at a price.
While handwashing may seem a slow and daunting task, invest money into buying a washing machine for your business.
The profits you will earn will be more than the expenses.
- Selling movies
Everyone wants to relax by watching a movie or two.
Some people cannot afford Netflix or do not have time to utilise their full subscription.
Download the latest movies and sell them to your classmates at a fee.
This will get you income.
There is a lot of paperwork involved on campus.
Having a photocopying machine to make copies of students’ bank receipts, revision materials, assignments and notes at a fee, is a good idea.
In school, you might know of a few people who get everything they are taught for the first time.
If you are one of these people, you can teach your classmates or coach juniors on that given subject for a fee.
You can also set up an online Udemy account, register your classes and price them.
- Retail shops
Retail shops are meant to save university students the hassle of going to the supermarket to buy their stuff.
Stock your business with essentials that you know your customers want. You can also ask them what they need
There are a variety of things you can sell in a retail shop, starting from pens and books to edibles.
- Hair dressing
This is particularly important for hair lovers.
You can set up your hairdressing business to offer good hair services like braiding, perm and hair relaxing services to your female clients.
A barbershop is convenient for guys who want to have a clean, nice shave.
- Selling clothes
If you have an eye for great fashion and you get lots of compliments on your dressing, why not capitalize on that?
You can buy cloth items and sell them to your colleagues at a profit.
This business idea is popular in Kenyan universities because it is easy to start and very flexible.
- Mani pedis
You can start a manicure and pedicure business to give your female friends that fresh nail looks for a fee.
This is also a great business idea to give you a decent income.
- Event planning
If you love socializing, you can arrange a meetup session or a trip to a beautiful place.
Make a budget that is going to be in your favour in terms of making a profit. This is one way to get income.
- Transport and delivery
Transport and delivery services are becoming more popular now.
A student may be too busy to deliver a parcel or to go to a certain pick-up point to get them.
Seize this opportunity and get it for them at a fee.
Blogging is one way to make money online.
You can talk about campus experiences, challenges or be a champion for change.
Talking about campus issues will connect you more with your peers.
You also get to make money from your site.
Mpesa shops are quite ubiquitous in Kenya. There are not so many on-campus, however.
Start a Mpesa shop and earn a commission when someone deposits or withdraws money through your account.
- Video gaming
Playing video games is one way for college students to enjoy their free time.
Equip yourself with the best video games and have functional game devices.
Charge your colleagues when they come to seek your services
- Web designing
Design websites for your classmates who want to start a blog or want their businesses to have an Internet presence at a fee.
- Pool centre
From my campus experience, a lot of people love playing pool.
You can invest in buying a pool table and charge anyone who wants to use it.
This will get you decent money in no time.
- Liquor store
We cannot hide the fact that university students love drinking and partying.
You can set up a physical liquor store and sell them good liquor to earn a living.
- Food cafe
If you love food and cooking, why not do it at a fee?!
You can display your good cooking skills by offering delicious meals to students.
In no time, you will have an inflow of customers and make plenty of money to keep you going.
- Fruit vendor
Buy fresh fruits from the market and sell them to make money.
You can also blend them, or make a salad and sell them.
- Selling textbooks
If you have any books or notes that you are not currently using, sell them to your juniors or let them hire them for a fee. This will earn you money.
- Baking/ sell cakes
Bake and sell cakes to your colleagues to wash them down with tea or fresh juice and get yourself money.
- Phone repair
Campus students have the latest gadget but sometimes they don’t want to keep buying.
You can repair the screens, help clean their phones, unlock the phones.
22. Become a dating consultant
While on campus, I wondered how I could ever get a date. It was an interesting time in my life because I had never gone out on a date.
I used this service where I paid 100 shillings and got contacts of about 10 men.
Of course, you had to sign up offline, state the kinds of qualities you are looking for in a boyfriend.
Most of my dates were people twice or thrice my age.
It was the only way I got to talk or tell stories like other girls; I’m dating.
23. Organise group travels and hikes
24. Sell affordable food
25. Offer sewing and alterations services
26. Get into real estate
27. Web design and web developer
28. Design jewellery
29. Sell hair/wigs
30. Start making and selling skincare products
31. Sell shoes
32. Sell handbags/messenger bags
33. Offer online coaching services
34. Become a child caretaker for the numerous mums on campus
35. Start providing services as a whiteboard animator
36. Make music and sell on Spotify
37. Sell video shorts online
Benefits of Starting a Business on Campus
- Available customers.
The connections you make with your classmates will be your immediate target audience. Use this network as a market for your business.
- Time freedom.
There is a lot of time to spare in between classes to manage your business. Campus businesses are more flexible.
- Utilize university resources
The university can help you with setting up the physical location of your business as well as using its electricity without having to cater for those expenses.
- Additional side income opportunity
This is a perfect way to get income to fund your lifestyle in school as well as pay your bills and tuition.
- Starts with low capital investment
Oftentimes, starting a business on campus requires you to have talent, skill or passion. Little or no capital is ever needed to get started.
6. Make mistakes quickly, learn from them and move on
7. It’s easier to become a billionaire
8. Become a source of inspiration
9. Provide employment and build the unemployment gap
10. Never have to suffer ‘tarmacking’ or begging for jobs
10 FAQs on How to Begin a Business Like Facebook/Dell While on Campus in Kenya
- Can you begin a business on a college campus?
Yes, you can begin a business on a college campus. Ask the college’s administrators what you need to get started or if they can offer a place at an affordable rate.
2. How do I start a business while in college?
Research the market and what they want.
Engage the audience. You may be shy, don’t want to market but college students want contact with you.
Market your business and never stop marketing. If you stop marketing or don’t market your business, you die a slow quick death. Ever wondered why businesses fail? They stop marketing, innovating and settle for the routine.
Have a website. In this perfect world where having a website is so cheap, create a website.
A website, apart from helping you market your products or services, can become a source of income for you.
You can create websites for others that want to begin businesses on campus.
3. What is a good amount to begin a business?
The amount of business start depends on what you intend to start.
I’d recommend starting small with 20k shillings or less then reinvesting the profits into the business to help grow it.
4. Do you need a licence to start a business while on campus?
Yes, all businesses in Kenya require you to have a licence before starting.
Unless you want to work online as a freelance writer or graphic designer, you can acquire your licence when you want to expand or ‘get recognised’ as a legal business or for purposes of paying taxes.
5. Is starting a business on campus worth it?
Yes, there has never been a better time to begin a business than on campus.
Why? After graduation, you won’t struggle to seek employment or you will become a desirable employee.
Employees want managers, people with experience and managing your business shows you know how to manage, organise and lead.
6. What are startup costs for a campus business?
The startup costs for a campus business include
7. What are the legal requirements for starting a campus business in Kenya?
The legal requirements for starting a business on campus include obtaining a business licence/permit, getting insurance and determining the legal structure of your business.
8. What business can I start with 3000 shillings on campus in Kenya?
Create and sell printables
9. What business can I start with 1000 shillings on campus in Kenya?
Sell used books
Sell something on Facebook Marketplace
Flip products like aluminium cans
Complete gigs on Fiverr
Become a social media manager
10. What not to do when starting a campus business?
Don’t waste too much time on the business plan; get a lean business plan/
Don’t be afraid to change, businesses change their course/direction all the time.
Don’t forget to read books/blog posts on starting and managing a business.
Don’t get discouraged when your business fails. An early fail means you learn and move on.
Don’t hurry the hiring process. You need a team that values what you’re doing.
Don’t ask for funding from everyone you see. Not everyone is interested. Research your investors then engage them.
Don’t stop advertising.
Don’t be afraid to say what you do to others outside of campus. They may offer suggestions for improvement or become your employees.
Don’t stop learning, the minute you stop learning about your business, you die.
Starting a business on campus seems like a daunting task because you have to balance education and entrepreneurship.
It’s awesome to want to begin a business while on campus because you won’t look for a job or if you search for a job, employers will hire you faster than anyone else.
Employers prefer college students with experience than those that sat through campus and came out with grades only. Before jumping into a business even on campus, do your research.
Understand what customers want and provide it to them. Ensure that you market your business too.
Don’t start a business and assume that students will come to buy because they need your products/services.
University entrepreneurship prepares you for the real world but also helps nurture your ability to think and act creatively.
University entrepreneurship creates great ideas, helps you push past limits.
You get to learn from your failures and address problems to initiate positive change when you begin a campus business.