East African business ideas in my closet

samfloy~31 August 2019 /East Africa/East Africa Business

By the time this email is sent, I’ll have left Kenya “for good”. Sad face.

During the final week, I’ve been procrastinating hard to avoid actually packing up everything, though in moments when I was clearing out my wardrobe I did find some interesting things.

Most were objects that I’d brought over from the UK or elsewhere to test out as potential businesses in the region.

It was quite interesting seeing them again and how there will probably still be some flicker of an idea there.

If any of the below sound interesting to try out, let me know. Either way, feel free to share with any entrepreneurial people you know!

Baby food pouches

Pros: Good demographic trends around smaller family sizes and more women entering the workforce. As incomes rise, money is spent on high-quality items for children
Cons: Tough to do market research with busy mothers. Also lots of additional checks/ certifications around goods for babies. Ideally, the food would be Made in Kenya but discerning mothers often don’t trust Kenyan products and so prefer international

Plastic bottle cutter

Pros: simple contraption to make strong “rope” out of plastic bottles. Puts economic value on rubbish (encouraging people to not litter?). Small enough to be distributed to rural areas and promote employment there
Cons: untested whether people would ultimately pay for applications of “plastic bottle rope”. Unclear if money to be made if the contraption is relatively easy to make (though that’s probably not such a big problem!)

Kenyan face mask coasters

Pros: a product that brings a lot of joy. Should be relatively easy to manufacture. The decent price point to make a good margin. Lots of fun taking pictures for a local market
Cons: 90% of the faces in existing packs are Caucasian – not great for a local market. No printing companies in Nairobi would let me make samples!

Virtual Reality Headset

Pros: relatively affordable way for people to experience VR
Cons: unclear how much people/ organisations/ schools(?) would pay for one

Pollution masks

Pros: loads of pollution in Nairobi. Especially good for motorbike taxi drivers. Demand from the driver: 1 in 7 would ask me where they could buy one
Cons: final price might be expensive if it’s a simple import/ export set up


In other news…

Boris Johnson has been making headlines this week.

This is a really interesting anecdote about him which captures his personality for those less familiar with him (it’s definitely worth reading in its entirety).


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