20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria


This Article was Reviewed by The Chief Editor, Godfrey

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Embarking on a journey as an entrepreneur in Nigeria requires the right small business idea and the tools for sustainable growth. Regardless of the chosen business, from personal catering to tutoring, makeup, bedding accessories, and hairstyling, it is crucial to find genuine enjoyment in the business.

In 2010, Anita, my roommate back in the university, embarked on a journey to financial independence with very little money in her bank account. 

Her story is a testament to the potential success that small business ideas hold in Nigeria. Starting a small oil perfume business in the student lodge, Anita faced initial challenges, but with minimal capital requirements, her business flourished.

Today, she serves hundreds of satisfied customers both physically and online and imparts her knowledge to budding entrepreneurs eager to go into the world of small-scale businesses. This is to show you that there are small business ideas that will work in Nigeria and are yielding good returns.

READ ALSO: Why Your Business Needs to Develop a Great Mobile App in 2024

What is a Small-Scale Business in Nigeria?

Small businesses are the economy’s backbone—a source of employment and industry innovation. However, pinning down the definition of a “small business” can be tricky, given that it differs by industry, revenue, and employee count.

According to The US Small Business Administration, a small-scale business is a privately owned venture that demands minimal capital investment, operates independently within a localized area, and typically has a limited number of employees.  

(SBA) provides a concrete explanation of what constitutes a small business. Per SBA regulations, a small business:

  • Falls within industry-specific standards for number of employees or annual receipts (total revenue)
  • Operates with a profit-making motive
  • Maintains a business location within the US, primarily functions within the US, or significantly contributes to the US economy
  • It is independently owned and operated and does not hold a dominant position in its field on a national level.

The business entity can take any legal form, including sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. 

Now that we are done with knowing what a small-scale business is, here are 20 Small-Scale Business Ideas in Nigeria:

20 Small Business Ideas in Nigeria

1.  Private Catering:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

Starting a personal catering business can be as simple as preparing meals based on customer preferences or local demands. You can cook in your house and do home delivery to customers. 

You can even have a restaurant or a makeshift space popularly known as mama put. This business requires less capital. With a few kitchen utensils, a cooking stove, ingredients, and a good recipe, You are good to go!

You can also download recipes online and advertise your business on social media to boost your cooking and sales.

2. Ice block Production:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

Do you have good and steady electricity in your residence? If Yes, then you have just hit the jackpot!

Ice block production is a small business idea you should definitely try out. This is because the business is as simple and accessible as it gets. 

You can efficiently run it from the comfort of your home, using your deep freezer and containers of different sizes for production. 

It’s a flexible and lucrative business, and you can earn good money monthly just by selling ice blocks.

3. Hair Styling:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

Offering hairstyling services can be a lucrative business, one that always remains, especially considering the consistent demand in Nigeria. 

Specializing in braiding for students and other customers, or even venturing into wig installations, which is currently in vogue in the hairstyling market, with a few pieces of equipment and creating a home-based service, you can kick start your journey into making good money!

4. Content Creation:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

Content creation, often considered a business requiring expensive equipment, can be initiated with just a smartphone and a passion for engaging content. 

From making dance videos, comedy skits with your friends, and videos on how to prepare locally made foods and posting on your social media pages to building a community, focusing on quality content, and eventually monetizing through brand partnerships (as an influencer), it can lead to a successful content creation business.

5. Thrift Business:

The sale of second-hand items, also known as Okrika here in Nigeria, presents an opportunity to tap into cost-conscious consumer preferences. 

It is one of the small business ideas which is more than just a thriving industry. It’s a lifeline for many Nigerians, providing high-quality, reasonably priced apparel and lucrative business prospects. 

Despite the hike in price, the demand for Okrika continues to soar. This is because of its perceived durability and affordability. 

With little capital, you can start and gradually grow an Okrika business over time. This small start-up capital is because you can start the business in whatever location of your choice. This also makes it a low-risk business. 

Another secret of okrika business is that your stock can last long—it doesn’t get spoiled easily. Plus, there is no limit to the profit you can generate. Carry out market research to find the category with the most buyers considering your location. 

Knowing how to recognize high-quality okrika would also be beneficial. The quickest approach to accomplish this is to take advice from someone who is successful in the industry and has experience. This will also enable you to master the trade tricks, such as bargaining skills and finding a reliable supplier of okrika. 

6. Small Chops Catering:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

One of the small business ideas that will work in Nigeria is venturing into small chops catering. Influenced by the vibrant Nigerian party culture (owanbe), this opens avenues for selling delectable treats. 

Learning the art of small chops creation through online tutorials, establishing an online presence, and being able to manage payments can ensure a successful venture.

7. Private Tutoring:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

Years ago, while I was teaching in a secondary school, impressed by my teaching methods and their children’s academic progress, some parents approached me with a special request to take their children on private lesson sessions. 

While helping them with their academic challenges and improving their grades, it is safe to say that I was able to get some of my bills cleared from the extra pay I got alongside being a teacher.

Capitalizing on the demand for private academic tutoring is one of the many small business ideas that will work in Nigeria. 

Entrepreneurs can offer coaching services tailored to various subjects or skills. Establishing credibility, utilizing online platforms for visibility, and providing value can make private tutoring a profitable small business.

8. Makeup and Gele Services:

Entrepreneurs entering the beauty industry can start a makeup business with a strategic initial investment in quality products.

Professional training and building an online presence are essential steps for success, all of which can be done from the comfort of your home.

9. Perfume Store:

Earlier, I mentioned a friend who had started an oil perfume business while in school and how it has grown to be very successful.

Launching a perfume is one of the best small business ideas because it requires minimal capital, making it an accessible venture for aspiring entrepreneurs. This also makes it one of the best business ideas to start.

Do your Research, know your target customers, and stay Consistent. Three years after Anita had launched her perfume business, she began selling to hundreds of customers on her website and training those who wanted to start the business. Consistency pays.

10. Bedding Accessories:

A brilliant way to start selling bedding accessories with little startup cost is to avoid making bed linens in large quantities. Instead, make provisions for many designs and let your customers choose the fabrics they need directly from your catalog, and then you can sew and deliver them straight to your customers 

Tip: By accepting a deposit for the order, you can reduce the cost of your investment.

11. Article Writing Company:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

In a world where outsourcing has become a norm, article writing is one of the small business ideas that will work in Nigeria. This is due to the high demand for article writing or ghostwriting services. 

If you have a flair for writing, consider setting up a writing company. This business is profitable and flexible, allowing you to work from home as a freelance writer or establish a company with a team of skilled writers.

12. Call Center Agency:

Have you ever wondered who takes your calls or responds to your complaints when you contact customer care? Welcome to the realm of “Call centre outsourcing.” 

Setting up your call centre agency can be a lucrative venture in the list of small business ideas. You can start small by becoming a call centre agent from home and later expand by employing competent hands as your business grows.

13. Daycare Centre:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

With more Nigerian women actively participating in the workforce, the demand for daycare services is rising. Starting a daycare centre business is not only a viable option but also aligns with the evolving needs of modern families. 

If you lack the capital for a full-scale childcare centre, consider a small-scale babysitting service or Nanny Agency.

14. Training Centers:

As millions of Nigerians sit for various examinations and tests yearly, there’s a growing need for training and tutorials. 

Capitalize on this demand by offering training services, such as skill and vocational acquisition training or corporate management skill training. 

You can also provide tutorials for individuals preparing for professional exams like ICAN, WAEC, JAMB, etc.

15. POS Agency Business:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

Imagine turning the simple act of facilitating financial transactions into a lucrative business. This is what POS (Point of Sale) agency business is all about, where Fintech companies like Moniepoint, Opay, and Palmpay are paving the way for entrepreneurs.

As a POS agent, you become the linchpin, earning commissions ranging from 10,000 Naira to 30,000 Naira daily. The beauty lies in its simplicity, requiring little to no capital; connect with a Fintech company, set up your POS machine, and let the transactions roll.

16. Cleaning Business:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

Large cities in Nigeria are bustling with professionals who barely have time to tidy their homes. Seize this golden opportunity with a cleaning business. Offer your cleaning services to friends and acquaintances initially, building trust and a clientele base.

17. Laundry Business:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

Looking for a small business that will work in Nigeria? Then Laundry is the go-to business. Laundry is a chore that many are willing to outsource. 

Launching a laundry business can be a manageable investment. Market your services to friends, family, and acquaintances, gradually expanding through referrals.

Profit margins can range from N5,000 and above weekly, depending on your dedication. Entice customers by providing free laundry pick-up and delivery. Watch your laundry business grow as the word spreads about your reliable service.

18. Beauty and Personal Care Products:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

Nigeria’s beauty market is vast, with room for small businesses. You can sell beauty and personal care products – from skincare to haircare. 

To thrive, ensure your products are high-quality, use safe ingredients, and market strategically. Selling products from the likes of Oriflame and Forever Living can put your dreams to reach.

19. Car Wash + Barbing Salon Business:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

Combine two services, and you have a winning formula – a car wash plus a barbing salon business. Imagine a place where customers get pampered while their cars get a makeover. 

Success here involves creating a comfortable space, offering additional services, and embracing the local culture.

20. Market Runs:

20 Small Business Ideas That Will Work In Nigeria

Individuals thinking of small business ideas that will work in Nigeria can embrace the vibrant market culture by offering market runs for those who seek efficiency and convenience. You can become the personal shopper for busy individuals.


In a world of opportunities, these small business ideas are seeds waiting to be planted, nurtured, and harvested. As you contemplate your entrepreneurial journey, remember that it’s not just about making a living; it’s about crafting a story that resonates with the heartbeat of Nigeria. So, bring your business idea to life.


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About the Chief Editor

Godfrey Ogbo, the Chief Editor and CEO of AtlanticRide, merges his environmental management expertise with extensive business experience, including in real estate. With a master's degree and a knack for engaging writing, he adeptly covers complex growth and business topics. His analytical approach and business insights enrich the blog, making it a go-to source for readers seeking thoughtful and informed content.

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