Best Small Business Ideas for Students in Nigeria and Africa

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Are you a student looking for profitable business ideas you can start while still in school?  Do you want to know the best businesses you can venture into without hindering your studies? Then read the list of wonderful and lucrative startup suggestions for business you can run from your dormitories and hostels!

I am not saying that running a business from your home is a walk in the park but it is possible, and that’s why you should start thinking about these options pronto!

However, if you have a knack for entrepreneurial spirit in you, these ideas should get your juices flowing and set you off on your way to your small-business success.

How to get that big business idea

Do some research: what do people need or want? Think of an everyday obstacle you’re met with – how can it be overcome?

If you could provide or invent something that would make life easier, better, safer, fairer or cheaper – what would it be?

What are you really good at or love doing? Perhaps start with that!

Think about what ventures might support your degree course or future ideal career.

The Best Small business ideas for students are:

As a student, you can go into any of the following business and yet study without any hindrance. Below are the list of the best business ideas students can venture into anywhere in the world.

Selling of packaged water:  Many dormitories/hostels in many African universities are without potable water. You can come in by arranging with water tankers for bulk deliveries which you can then resell to your colleagues. You can also offer to sell packaged water (pure water).

Become a mini-telecom credit provider: Many times you find it hard to get call credit in hostels. Why not come in as a reseller of call cards. You buy in bulk from the major players and resell to your peers on campus and hostel.

Buy second-hand in-demand textbooks:  At the end of term and sell them on to new students at the start of the new term (worth double checking that the same textbooks will be used again the following term, otherwise you could be left with a lot of useless material!)

Cash in on your creativity by selling a design, a piece of music, a recipe, or whatever your specialty is on a site like fiverr.

Start a website. Make your university days as engaging and insightful as you can (it helps to provide a few laughs and be opinionated). Once you have a good list of subscribers and followers, you can start hosting ads on your site for payment, or even write advertorials for brands (this basically involves you writing about a company for payment.

Similarly, you can earn money from YouTube videos by sharing a slice of the ad revenue. It could be reviews or guides related to your course subject, or pick any topic that really fascinates you (games, comedy and music do particularly well). You can run some ads and often give out freebies, and further down the line you could even stream pay-per-view videos if you get enough subscribers

Become an “emergency key holder”: You can offer a base where people keep a spare key with you that they can collect if they lose their own. We all know how easy it is to get into a pickle with this! You can add additional fees if they want you to deliver or for unsociable hours.

Rent out your student room or house over the vacation periods

Running Errands: Evenings and weekends could see you offering courier services, while early mornings could be for house cleaning services or newspapers retail services. Or just see what everyday things people run out of and buy in bulk for them.

Convert someone’s entire CD catalogue into MP3:  These files they can play on their phone. It’s easy enough to do using software like iTunes but can take hours… which is where you come in! Create and sell it to others.

Start an accommodation reviews website for your campus or town

Set up a Skype language course or conversational practice for learners around the world

Make and sell audio or e-book versions of out-of-copyright set texts, particularly if they’re hard to find (think medieval literature or 18th-century science tomes)

Be the go-to finder for folk who’ve lost something irreplaceable or want to buy something hard to find. Use the web as well as local contacts and retail knowledge to track down the impossible… for a commission

Freelance: Whether it’s related to your current course or your dream career, offer your skills to peeps that need web design, illustration, writing or admin support. You’ll also get CV-pimping experience to bootcat computer freelance

Create food hampers that parents can order and have delivered to their kids – think student essentials in long-life eats or healthy stuff they’re probably not getting enough of

Run a couple of matchmaker events for your campus and charge a small joining fee

Offer a transcription service that types up lecture recordings, or use your graphic design skills to produce handouts for tutors

Create a swaps site that matches owners with lenders: think clothes, services, bikes or books – or maybe one that matches students who want to see the UK with those who live in other towns

Organise student event trips to other cities or to visit festivals – get a good deal on a coach and double your money on the tickets

Design an app that lets students vent about their course or campus anonymously and compare experiences around the world

Produce a campus e-newsletter and take paid advertising from local businesses, or do deals to offer readers discounts and competitions

Be a market research consultant and sell your services to local or national businesses who want to know what students think about their stuff

Freelance graphic designer to create popular web graphics or icons, and sell them on a marketplace like GraphicRiver for recurring income

If there’s one thing we all seem to have lurking in a spare bedroom, it’s unused home gym equipment and a pile of good intentions. Buy or beg the kit at bargain rates to re-sell or re-home with local schools, gyms, offices or personal trainers

Create a portfolio website that bands and musicians can use to connect with local events or businesses

Start a home-made smoothie or sandwich business for local firms: they phone you their orders in the morning and you deliver on the dot at lunch time food as small business idea

Start an essay or thesis proofreading business

Create a local guide – think magazine, website or app – that helps freshers make the most of their new town: the best cafés, cheapest deals, or hidden gems. You can sell these on and even ask businesses to pay a small fee to be included

Start your own travel exchange: put together packages of budget flights, accommodation and events and co-ordinate it between a uni abroad and your own

Sell school essentials welcome package – stationery, kitchen kit, discount vouchers – that can be delivered to freshers’ rooms ahead of their first day

Start a tutoring service for school students struggling with the subjects you’re acing at. Offer online courses or webinars to reach more folk

Collect other students dirty laundry and take it to the launderette for a markup

Design a motivational app that logs lecture/seminar/gym attendance and awards points, vouchers or gifts for achievements or penalties for slacking

Start an outdoor fitness trail, leading groups of people to different/unusual locations to work out without equipment while seeing the sights

Offer a CV design or review service. Check out our guide to CV writing for a bit of inspiration.

Don’t do anything illegal

Don’t compromise anyone’s safety to make a buck

Don’t skimp on your studies in favour or making some cash

Check any rules your university might have about running a business

Don’t just think in terms of the money – going for ideas that help your community or local charities can do just as much for your CV or personal satisfaction.

Everyone has great ideas, but very few actually turn their dreams into concrete reality. Whether you’ve got a world-changing concept or just want to make some extra cash, you’ve got to make a start before you can have a startup.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on with your big venture! If you think we’ve missed any tricks with this list, fill us in using the comments section below.

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