What local business can I start with a small amount of money in Zambia?

What local business can I start with a small amount of money in Zambia? Starting a business with limited capital in Zambia can be a challenging yet rewarding venture. In this article, I’ll guide you through various business ideas suitable for different investment levels, ensuring that you make the most out of your budget. See Is the Mwachangu App Fully Restored?

Business Ideas for Various Budgets

1. Beekeeping: A Sweet Venture

In Zambia, starting a beekeeping business can be a profitable and eco-friendly venture, especially for entrepreneurs with an ultra-low budget. Let’s delve into the specifics:

Initial Investment

  • Cost: Remarkably low, with the main investment being an axe, which costs approximately K10.
  • Resources: You may need to access a wooded area where you can source and hollow out logs for bee hives.

Business Model

  • Operation: Beekeeping involves setting up hives, typically in hollowed-out logs, and caring for bees as they produce honey.
  • Sales Strategy: Direct sales of honey to customers who bring their own containers.
  • Revenue Stream: Income is generated per transaction, with customers purchasing honey in quantities they desire.

Profit Potential

  • Earning Estimate: Selling 20 liters of honey can net around K600.
  • Sales Frequency: Depending on bee colony productivity and customer demand, sales can be regular and ongoing.
  • Scalability: There’s potential to scale by increasing the number of hives and tapping into larger markets or offering packaged honey. See How to Enable SMS Notification Alerts on Your Moniepoint POS


  • Low Startup Cost: The minimal investment needed makes this a low-risk venture


2. Modest Investment (1,000–10,000 Kwacha)

Poultry farming, specifically focusing on egg production, is an ideal business for those in Zambia with a modest budget ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 Kwacha. Here’s how you can start:

Starting Point

  • Initial Chicken Purchase: Invest around K3,000 to buy approximately 30-layer chickens. Each chicken is capable of laying one egg per day under optimal conditions.
  • Choosing the Right Breed: Ensure you select a breed known for reliable egg production to maximize output.


  • Coop Construction: Allocate about K2,000 for building a secure and comfortable coop for the chickens. Costs can be significantly reduced if you can build the coop yourself using locally sourced materials.
  • Location: Choose a space that’s safe from predators and has good ventilation.

Additional Costs

  • Feeding and Watering Equipment: Spend around K1,000 on feeders, water buckets, and initial food supply for the chickens.
  • Ongoing Expenses: Factor in the cost of chicken feed, which will be an ongoing expense.

Revenue Generation

  • Egg Sales: With each chicken laying one egg per day, you can potentially earn around K30 per day from egg sales.
  • Monthly Earnings: This can translate to about K750 per month, after deducting expenses for chicken feed and other maintenance costs.
  • Pricing Strategy: Selling eggs at K1 each can attract a steady customer base.


  • Consistent Demand: Eggs are a staple in many diets, ensuring a regular market.
  • Scalability: As profits grow, you can reinvest in more chickens or expand your infrastructure.
  • Low Technical Requirement: Poultry farming is relatively easy to start and doesn’t require extensive technical skills.

Key Factors for Success

  • Proper Care: Ensure the chickens are healthy by maintaining cleanliness and providing adequate nutrition.
  • Marketing: Utilize local markets, community connections, and social media for sales.
  • Diversification: Consider expanding into meat production or selling chicken manure as fertilizer to diversify income streams.
  • Record Keeping: Keep accurate records of expenses and sales for effective management and planning.

3. Substantial Investment (Over 10,000 Kwacha)

Grain Milling: A Necessity-Based Business

  • Idea: Invest in a small grinding mill for mealie meal production.
  • Operation: Self-operation is recommended, possibly assisted by a family member.
  • Growth Strategy: Save and reinvest profits to expand, like purchasing a canter for maize distribution.
  • Income Utilization: Suggest living modestly to reinvest the bulk of earnings.

General Business Advice

  • Market Gap: Focus on offering services or products in demand yet underprovided.
  • Avoid Common Traps: Resist starting generic shops with low-profit margins.
  • Work Ethic: Commitment and hard work are key to success.

Navigating the Business Landscape in Zambia

For Local Entrepreneurs:

  • Starting Capital: Aiming for a startup budget of around $2,000 is advisable, considering paperwork and operational costs.
  • Efficient Processes: Zambia offers one-stop shops for various business processes, allowing for quicker setup.
  • Legal Compliance: Ensuring all business activities are legal and registered is vital.

For Foreign Investors:

  • Higher Threshold: Foreign nationals face a higher investment requirement and periodic work permit costs ($350/quarter).
  • Documentation: Be prepared for a rigorous documentation process, including necessary permits and licenses.
  • Operational Readiness: With complete documentation, your business can be operational within 48 hours.

Choosing the Right Sector

Selecting the appropriate business sector is crucial. This could range from a pharmacy, a restaurant, or other ventures. Each sector may require specific permits and adherence to local authority and environmental regulations.


Starting a small business in Zambia, regardless of your budget, requires strategic planning, understanding of the local market, and a commitment to legal and ethical practices. By choosing a sector that aligns with your budget and the market demand, and by navigating through the regulatory landscape efficiently, you can establish a successful and sustainable business in Zambia.

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