What Are The Best Businesses To Start In Nigeria In 2023?

If you were asked right now to invest in a particular business that you think would yield the highest returns, what business would you invest in?

Ok, let me put it in a better way.

If you had a capital of 1 million Naira and you were asked to invest it in a business that you think would bring reasonable returns at the end of this year 2021, what business would you start?

This is often very difficult for many people. Funny enough, some people have business ideas, but no capital. While others have capital but no business idea.

You could have asked your friends and family what business is best to start in 2021, and they could have given you 102 business ideas that are booming right now, and enough reasons why you should jump ship.

But you know deep down that you need more information, aka, more assurance to take the big jump. And that is what I want to help you with in this post.

No doubt, 2021 is a fresh new year. It is a new page in a new chapter, and we can all start afresh and build something worthwhile, either in our private or business lives. I’m sure that is the main reason why you need a good business to start this year.

So, without further ado.

There are so many profitable business ideas to start this year, but for the sake of clarity, I’ll be breaking it down into different groups to help you take advantage according to your capability and business positioning.

Top Business Opportunities

  • Small Scale Businesses
  • Large Scale Businesses
  • Trending Businesses

In this case, I regard small scale businesses as those you can start with 100k and below. These businesses could be done from home or via the internet. 

I regard large scale businesses as those you can start with 1 million and above. They might require physical assets, hiring other people, and spending on marketing. 

Lastly, I regard trending businesses as those that are currently popular, but might soon phase out. These trending businesses can be small scale or large scale, depending on the opportunity. You have to master the trend and know when to make your entrance and exit profitably. 

Best Small Scale Businesses To Start in 2021

House Agency

This is my number one for the best small scale business to start in 2021. This is because it requires zero capital on your part to start and almost anyone can do it, even students. Many local house agents in Nigeria earn an average of 300k per month. All you have to do is find houses for rent or for sale, and then find someone interested in occupying them. 

In Nigeria of today, this is the easiest way to earn free money. Find buyers, connect them with sellers, and get your commission. 

It is also easy to market home properties In Nigeria. All you have to do is open an account with Jiji and start posting available houses for rent or for sale at the properties section of the website.

Automobile Agency

Just like a house agency, an automobile agency is also a great way to earn good income in Nigeria of today. Most people do not recognize this. All those ads you see of cars for sale are being marketed by automobile agents, and they make good commission per sale. On average, for each car sale, an agent can make around 100k. So, imagine if they can sell 5 cars per month. That is easily an income of 500k per month. 

You can easily approach any car dealer around you and ask to market their cars. You have to look responsible and well-spoken. This is because most car dealers are wary of fraudsters using their cars to dupe others. Some car dealers may even require that you bring a guarantor to stand as a surety in case anything goes wrong. 

If you have struck a deal with any car dealers, you can then go on and start your marketing. A good way to market cars for sale in Nigeria is to go online. The autos section of Jiji and Nairaland is always a good place to start. Be patient and keep at it, and soon you’ll start making sales once people come to trust you.

Digital Advert Agency

If you have digital marketing skills like running adverts on Jiji, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google, then you can easily monetize that skill. You can help businesses market their products and services online for a fee.

Most businesses in Nigeria recognize the power of social media and online marketing, but a lot of them are not equipped skill-wise to do them. Hence, the high demand for digital marketers in Nigeria. 

If you are good at digital marketing, then you can quickly build a portfolio of customers by helping your friends and family advertise their businesses online. Thereafter, you can create a business card and start talking to businesses about how you can help them increase their sales.

You could also advertise your services online, so they can actually see your skills at work. If they like what they see, then there is a big chance that they would patronize your services.

Procurement Business

Procurement is one of the hidden businesses in Nigeria. Most business owners are happy to pay someone who can help them procure raw materials, products, or other business needs. For example, a house builder would happily pay someone to help them procure quality building materials at the right price. Likewise, a foodstuff seller would happily contract someone who can help them procure foodstuff in bulk at the right price.

The truth is that procurement is big business anywhere in the world. Even large manufacturers have procurement companies that they pay huge sums to help them procure all their material needs. But the most exciting part of this business is that you can start it with zero capital.

If you have a network of suppliers, or can create one, then you can start a profitable procurement business in Nigeria right from where you are.

Digital Freelancing

If you have any digital skill, then this would be the obvious choice. A digital skill is any skill you can deliver over the internet without the need for your physical presence. Examples of digital skills include; graphics design, copywriting, web & mobile development, video and music creation, transcription and voice over, etc. 

If you are proficient in any of these digital skills, then you can easily sell them online via platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork, Jiji, Nairaland, Twitter, etc. You have to carve a niche for yourself on any platform you choose to join and market your skills.

The average monthly income for a digital freelancer in Nigeria is 100k, which is not bad. However, if you put in the time and effort, you could easily do over 500k per month, depending on the skill.

Local Freelancing

If you do not have any digital skill, but you have skills that can be delivered physically, such as painting, Electrical repairs and installations, POP designs and home decorations, then you can still make money by indulging in local freelancing.

Even though local freelancing is dependent on the Nigerian economy, there are many freelancers making good money. 

I know an artist who does hyper-realistic paintings and murals in Nigeria. He makes nothing less than 1 million Naira per month. That tells you that even though the Nigerian economy might not be doing well, local freelancers are still making money.

You just have to be very good at what you do and carve a niche for yourself. Don’t go after everybody. Choose your market and be the best there.

Fruit Sales

Contrary to popular belief, fruit selling is a really profitable business. All it takes is finding a good location with low competition. Unlike the previous small scale businesses I discussed above, you would need some capital to start your fruit sales business.

With about 20k to 50k, you can start a fruit sales business in Nigeria. Ideally, you have to first start small and then increase your produce according to demand. This is because fruits are perishable, and if you don’t sell them within 3 to 5 days, they may lose their appeal to customers or even spoil. So, start small and continue to increase your inventory. 

I happen to know a particular fruit seller around my area. I do go there to eat fruits most weekend evenings, and also to receive fresh air and look around. One day while discussing, this particular fruit seller revealed that on a bad day, she makes 3,000 as profit. Multiply that by 6 days a week, and you’d get 72k a month. That is, on a bad month. Imagine that.

She revealed that the secret to this fruit sales business is patience and tact. You need to be friendly with your customers and constantly communicate to them to know what they need. You also need to be able to buy from a good source, else your fruits would begin to decay in 2 days or less. But the biggest secret to this business is location. Find a good location where there are no other fruit sellers.

If there are corporate people and businesses around that side, the better. These corporate people are food conscious and need to eat fruits at least twice a week to compensate for their poor eating habits while sitting at the office all day. But you need to find a location that has no competition, or at least, be the first fruit seller in that location.

To start this business, you need to talk to other fruit sellers and learn the tricks of the trade because in truth, it is a risky business and you could lose your money if you don’t start with the right information.

Food Processing

This is one of my personal best small scale businesses to start this year. I like this business because it is cheap to start, and you can make a lot of money if you know what you are doing. It is akin to having a small factory, and you can start it with less than 100k.

There are different aspects of food processing. You can purchase farm produce and process it to raw foods that are sold in wholesale, or you can buy raw foods in wholesale that can be processed to finished foods that are sold in retail and consumed directly. I like the latter.

If you want to start buying raw foods and then process them to finished food products, there are many ideas you can start from. 

First let me give you examples of such foods:

  • Processing Corn flour to pap
  • Processing wheat to wheat flour
  • Processing Semolina grains to flour
  • Processing Millet seeds to flour
  • Producing custard flour
  • Etc.

The list is endless. You just have to pick your niche and start producing. The reason why I like this business is that it is underestimated in Nigeria and the opportunity is enormous. Do you know that almost every family in Nigeria needs at least one of these products for their daily consumption? 

If you can find a good location to set up this business, you will make it big. The location has to be far from the market, and should have a lot of family residents.

With a capital of 100k to 200k, you can get a small shop space, get 2 grinding machines, buy some bags of grains, and start your own food processing business. If you want, you could even start producing your own branded processed food products and selling to retailers and supermarkets. The opportunities in this business are enormous if you start thinking out of the box.

Food sales

We all know that as long as humans exist, the demand for food will never cease. Food is one of the biggest markets globally and will continue to thrive until the world ends. So, why not make your entry into this market where revenue is guaranteed?

There are different kinds of food sales businesses you can start on a small scale. I know I’ve mentioned fruit sales previously, but here, I want to focus on foods. 

Let me give some examples of small scale food sales businesses below:

  • Fries and small chops
  • Corporate Lunch
  • Stews and Soups
  • Shawarma Spot
  • Etc.

You can add anything to the list as long as you are able to prepare something delicious that someone will love to eat. This is also a very cheap business to start and you can even run it from home. 

A capital of 20k can help you set up a food business, but the most important thing is to know how to cook or employ someone who can, and have the skills to take good photographs of your menus. These photos would be used for marketing your business online to friends and family.

Obviously, your friends and family would be your first customers, then they would refer you to their friends, and then their friends would refer you to their friends, and so on. Just be ready to hire more hands in case there is a spike in food orders.

Best Large Scale Businesses To Start in 2021

Home Building contractor

Do you know that most people who have their own houses in Nigeria did not supervise the building process themselves? They usually have someone on ground who supervises the building project, handles the finances, procure building materials, and then reports to them.

That person is known as a building contractor. They are usually land surveyors or architects by profession, or someone who has vast experience with building houses. If you have any of these qualifications, then you can become a home building contractor.

This business usually doesn’t require any capital, but you must have the required skills and industry reputation to be successful.

Vehicle Hire Purchase

If you are looking to invest more than a million Naira, then investing in transportation business is the way to go. Vehicle Hire Purchase is a very lucrative business if you have the capital and strong management skills.

It is just like flipping cars, but with the addition of job creation via empowerment. You could purchase a car of 2 million Naira and sell it for 3 million Naira via hire purchase.

Here is how it works. You purchase a vehicle, such as a car, bus, or Tricycle, then you find someone responsible who is willing to purchase that vehicle as a hired purchase. They would usually pay back the money in several months or years, depending on the payment structure.

Most hired purchases require a percentage deposit and guarantors to verify the legitimacy of the buyer. So, you have to look out for that. 

Most vehicle loan managers prefer to loan vehicles to transport workers who can remit payments on a daily or weekly basis than private owners. This is because a transport worker would put the vehicle to work in order to yield income which is a more guaranteed way of paying back the hire purchase or vehicle loan.

To make this business successful, you have to put structure in place, and get legal advice on probability of defaults. The more structured your hire purchase business, the more successful it can become.

Refurbished Laptops & Smartphones Sales

The cost of getting a brand new laptop or smartphone in Nigeria is increasingly becoming expensive for the average Nigerian. Hence, the increase in demand for refurbished laptops and smartphones in Nigeria.

Refurbished laptops and smartphones cost almost half the price of the original ones, and are now becoming the go-to choice for the average tech buyer in Nigeria, especially students.

If you have at least a million Naira capital, you can invest in this business by importing refurbished laptops from China, UK, or USA. Some of these products are available at a cost next to nothing in these countries, and would require only a small repair to make them usable again.

But you would have to tread with caution, and invest in learning the trade of the business in order to avoid getting stuck or losing your money.

Local Pharmacy

Health is wealth they say, and this is even more true in business today. With hospitals getting more and more expensive for the average Nigerian, local pharmacies have become a money spinner for the average investor. 

Health doesn’t have a price, and medicines don’t have price tags. So, you could buy a 12-tablet medicine for 500 Naira and sell each for 200 Naira or more. That is a whopping 300% profit on just one product. And most local pharmacists sell hundreds of products daily.

You don’t necessarily have to be a pharmacist to own a local pharmacy in Nigeria. You can employ one to help you oversee the medical part of the business while you run the financial aspect. 

More interestingly, a pharmacy can double as a supermarket where you can sell other fast-moving consumer goods to customers. For example, a patient who buys medicine from a pharmacy may also buy Lucozade drink or Glucose. So, running a local pharmacy in Nigeria is like a double opportunity.

With about 2 to 3 million Naira, you can start a good local pharmacy in Nigeria and be on your way to making millions of Naira. 

Best Trending Businesses To Start in 2021

Cryptocurrency Exchange

We can’t deny the fact that cryptocurrency has been a trend in Nigeria for the past few years. Everyone is now buying cryptocurrency in the name of investment. With this trend, we have seen new crypto apps spring up and numerous crypto investment schemes come and go.

So, how do you profit from this crypto trend?

A mentor once told me that if you want to get rich in a gold rush, buy gold. But if you want to get stinkingly rich in a gold rush, sell the mining tools. 

For me, the people making the most profit in today’s crypto rush are the people who own crypto-enabling businesses. You can start yours too. 

The biggest place to start is to own your own cryptocurrency exchange business. It is extremely profitable and I’ve seen people make as much as 10k profit in just one transaction.

You don’t have to be the biggest Cryptocurrency exchanger in Nigeria to make it big. You can start from your own family, friends, and local community. Help them get started in buying their first Cryptocurrency. 

Once they have tried your service and like it, they would inform their friends about your Cryptocurrency business, and then their friends would then inform their own friends. Before you know it, you have become the biggest Crypto exchanger in your state.

Travel Advisory Service

In light of Covid-19, travel globally has become very restricted and difficult to manage. So many countries now require Covid-19 tests or vaccination before granting you entry.

This has made traveling very stressful for many frequent travelers. A service that helps them simplify their travel plans by providing travel information and requirements for different destinations at this trying time would be welcome.

This where a travel advisory service can come into play. You can set up a bespoke travel agency where you help travelers procure all they need to travel in an era of Covid-19. This is a trending business and may not last for long, but there are many people who are willing to pay for such services to avoid the stress of traveling in this period.

Most of your capital would go into marketing and advertising in order to educate travelers on the services you offer and the need to patronize your business.

You can make good money in this business if you build your network and have a good marketing strategy to find and sell to your ideal customers.

Alternative Energy

The truth is that alternative energy is the future. With global warming becoming a growing concern all around the world, many countries are now investing in alternative sources of energy and making policies to that effect.

To that effect, the future is dedicated to clean sources of energy, and many businesses are already positioning to take advantage.

So, what are you waiting for? You can start your own business and position for a future dedicated to cleaner energy.

Some of the alternative energy sources are solar and natural gas. There are many opportunities in these areas, and if you are willing to invest the time and effort in learning about them, you’ll be able to build a profitable alternative energy business.

For example, this year, the Nigerian government is investing in a scheme that would reduce the use of fuel in vehicles plying Nigerian roads. The plan is to encourage vehicle owners to use liquefied natural gas instead of petrol. 

To this effect, the federal government plans to create jobs in the auto sector of the economy via the planned conversion of at least 1 million vehicles to Autogas by the end of 2021.

You can create a business to this effect, either by building your small autogas station for LNG vehicles, or offering your service to help car owners convert their vehicles from petrol-dependent to Autogas.

The opportunity in alternative energy is huge. You just have to position yourself to take advantage and build a business out of it.


The truth is, building a successful business in 2021 is a lot harder than the previous years. The Covid-19 issue and the failing economy can be stumbling blocks, but we can’t deny that we now have more access to information.

So, educating yourself and learning more about a business before investing is crucial. A business idea may be good, but we will always need our individual applications to make it great.

Whether you choose to invest in a small scale business, a large scale business, or a trending business, It is important to start a business that you have the capacity and resources to run. If you cannot dedicate your time or resources to it, then there is no need to start.

Ensure to make your due diligence and let nothing take you for surprise. Here’s to 2021 being a great business year for you. Cheers.




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