27 Business Ideas in Malawi (2023)

Ad Blocker Detected

Disable ad blocker to view this page

Small business ideas in Malawi that are profitable and demands small capital to start are many. If you are pondering on `What small business to start in Malawi`, read up to the end. You are likely to find a good business idea that resonates with your passion, skills or simply be inspired to think of other profitable ideas.

Sometimes people do small businesses in Malawi as side hustles to make money aside from their regular job. While others do business as full time entrepreneurs. Regardless which path you take, at the beginning it common that we are not sure what business to start. In such moments its when we browse the internet to find out what business ideas to start in Malawi. As such this blog post will suggest 20 profitable business ideas that you can start with small capital.

business ideas in malawi

According to (MSME survey 2012) Malawi has 760 000 small business owners which generate annual revenue of about USD$2billion. This shows that Malawian SMEs make a good contribution to the economy. It is not surprising that others conclude that SMEs makes the backbone of our economy.

Identification of Business Ideas

First and foremost, let’s look at the general idea of starting a business. We have to understand that a successful business answers a specific need in the community. It is the nurture of business people to offer solutions to markert problems. Therefore, to find the best business idea to start in Malawi one has to find a need or a problem. If the problem identified is big, it affects many people, there is a possibility that such a problem may turned into a good business opportunity.

However, identifying business need does not always mean you have to invert a new product. At times it is simply a process of modifying the already existing business products or services to meet a specific gap. Sometimes all you do is finding a niche markert within an existing bigger markert.

Business is about the provision of products or services which customers are willing to pay. Therefore, main sources of business opportunities in Malawi are the problems that exist among the people.

What small business to start in Malawi?

After identifying the need the other factor is to source capital for your business. As a business owner, you can use your own capital or find capital from external sources.  

Using your own capital to start a small business in Malawi gives the business owner more freedom. The other advantage of using own capital is the assurance that the capital is permanent. Unlike using external capital, that can be withdrawn anytime.

Having more control over your small business is good for small business owners. At present only 13% of small business owners in Malawi use financial services offered by commercial banks (MSME survey, 2012). It is very difficult to find funding for new businesses from banks in Malawi.   

When starting a small business in Malawi you also have to choose the right place for the business. The importance of choosing the right place for your small business in Malawi cannot be overemphasised.

20 Small business ideas to start in Malawi

Malawi is ranked on position 160 out of 190 countries on ease of starting a business ( World Bank, 2016). As you can see, this means starting a business in Malawi is relatively difficult. It requires hard work and more effort to succeed. Now let’s have the list of small businesses to start in Malawi. The listing is in no particular order.

  1. Agriculture

Malawi is known for its fertile land and diverse agricultural industry. You could consider starting a business that involves farming, such as growing fruits and vegetables or raising livestock.

2. Cleaning services

Demand for cleaning services is on the rise, especially in cities. Starting a company which will offer cleaning services is a lucrative business.

Creativity and uniqueness in service delivery can help you to stand out of the competition.

Most residential places have no proper waste disposal area. These are potential customers who would be willing to pay monthly to someone doing the job for them.

Companies and shop owners also tend to outsource cleaning services.

3. Freelancing

Freelancing is another is a good business idea for people who choose to earn a leaving on their talents. The idea with freelancing is o specialize in one thing you are the best art. For instance, if you are a skilled writer you can make money selling your writings to newspapers, magazines, and websites.

4. Part-time teaching

If you take teaching as a business you are likely to make money. Most parents are willing to pay for someone who would like to help their students to pass exams. Adults who are doing upgrading courses pay well for part-time teachers.

So if you have specialized knowledge for instance in accounts, marketing, physics, mathematics and computer you can earn good money.

5. Soap and detergent making

Making soap is simple like baking bread. Demand for soap is always going to be high. Simply put people cannot do without soap. People need soap for washing, bathing and cleaning other objects.

They key with this business idea is having a proper marketing strategy. Materials for soap making are also cheap. Organic soaps can be made using locally available waste plant materials.

The post How to Start Soap Making Business in Malawi has all required details on homemade soap making in making  

6. Selling Spices

Local spices have a big market. The international market demand for spices is huge. Making spices which meet international standards is likely to make huge money.

7. Web and graphic designing

Many people want to make their online presence outstanding. Such people, companies, and NGOs need people who can code websites for them. They want someone to design logo’s, calendars, flyers, posters, banners, T-shirt branding and more. This is an ever-increasing opportunity for web developers and designers in Malawi.

8. Computer and mobile phones repairing

Many people who use computers and mobile phones do not know how to repair their devices. Anyone who is skilled in hardware or software maintenance can make money by repairing gadget for customers. Flashing phones and software installation are few of the available opportunities for skilled people. Good thing about this is that demand will always be there as new models of computers and phones hit the market.

9. Salon and barbershop

Everywhere, anywhere people will look for barber shops and saloons. To stand out from the crowd to make it a habit to meet customer needs.   

10. Import goods from China

Start Importing low-cost things from other countries and selling them at a high price in Malawi. Importing goods from China is not complicated. This a good business because Malawi imports are of goods from China. As such if you are able to research for hot selling products from China you will have many customers. Items you can import include mobile phones, laptops, stationary supplies, building materials, shoes, and cosmetic products.

Read: How to start importation Business in Malawi with Small Capital

11. Education and Training

You could start a business that provides educational or training services such as tutoring, computer skills training, or vocational training.

12. Retail

You could start a small retail business that sells locally made products such as clothing, jewelry, crafts, and household items.

13. Real estate agents

Help busy people easily find houses and property to rent or buy. In this business model, you get paid by the property sellers and from the buyer.

14. Construction and Home Improvement:

You could start a business that provides construction and home improvement services such as building homes, remodeling, or providing home repair service

15. Renewable Energy:

Malawi has abundant renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. You could start a business that provides renewable energy solutions such as installing solar panels, designing and implementing renewable energy systems, or providing energy efficiency consulting.

16. Waste Management:

Malawi has a significant waste management problem, and there is a growing need for sustainable waste management solutions. You could start a business that provides waste management services such as waste collection, recycling, or composting.

17. Transportation:

You could start a taxi service, a motorcycle taxi service, or a delivery service that offers reliable and efficient transportation.

18. Wedding accessories

  • Supply wedding dresses for hire or for sale
  • wedding cakes
  • Being Master of ceremony
  • Wedding DJ
  • wedding decorations

19. Gym and Fitness Centers  

Gym centers are ideal for people who value body maintenance and fitness. As such they are willing to pay for gym equipment and services. You may also do message for a fee.

20. Sausage Making

Making and selling sausage is a good business idea to start with a small capital. This one of the many business opportunities for Malawians. Everyday people want to eat and drink. People are always willing to pay for quality food. Making or source foodstuffs like confectioneries, snacks, lunch boxes among others is an evergreen business opportunity.

21. Tourism:

You could start a business that caters to tourists, such as a tour guide service, a guesthouse, or a souvenir shop

22.Event Planning:

You could start a business that provides event planning services such as wedding planning, corporate event planning, or party planning

23. Security Services:

You could start a business that provides security services such as security guards, security systems, or surveillance services.

24. Entertainment:

You could start a business that provides entertainment services such as a cinema, a nightclub, or a music venue.

25. Art and Crafts

Malawi has a rich cultural heritage and there is a growing demand for traditional Malawian art and crafts. You could start a business that produces and sells handmade items such as pottery, woven baskets, carvings, and paintings.

26. Mobile Money Services

With the increasing use of mobile phones, you could start a business that provides mobile money services such as mobile banking, mobile payments, or mobile money transfer.

27. Green Business:

You could start a business that focuses on sustainability such as eco-friendly products, recycling, or sustainable farming.

Lastly, notice that these are just a few small business ideas that you could consider starting in Malawi. It’s important to do your research and identify a need in the market that you can fill with your skills and resources. With determination, creativity, and hard work, you can build a successful small business in Malawi.


  1. Bannet chinsinga
    • Chimwemwe Nuka
    • Carolyn
  2. Zanele Machedi
    • Chimwemwe Nuka
  3. Harriet
    • Chimwemwe Nuka
  4. petrus
    • Chimwemwe Nuka
  5. nganiwe ndovi
  6. Epiphania Phiri
  7. Mayur Navghare
  8. Sarel van der merwe
  9. Cecilia Chilendo Mwenifumbo
  10. Nick
  11. Nomthi
  12. Nick
  13. Florence Bandawe
  14. faith
  15. A Docrat
  16. Charles Chimwendo
  17. Rabson Mbale
  18. Devie wyson
  19. Enwood mlotha
  21. Effort
  22. Edna
  24. Precious Kantembe
  25. Peter
  26. Clement
  27. Hastings mbewe
  28. peter chapendeka
  29. chapendeka
  30. Richard Nkhonjera
  31. Kennedy
  32. Stanford Zgambo
  33. Ivan
  34. javier
  35. nicola tullie
  36. Andrew
  37. Chawa
  38. John chilita
  39. ACKIM
  40. Lawrence
  41. Kiki
  42. Richard Mkandawire
  43. Japhet Toto
  44. Hussein Chibwana
  45. Adrian
  46. Amina Hassan
  47. Christone
  48. Steve
  49. Steve

Leave a Reply