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Believe me, these days are not the best of times for Nigeria and Nigerians. Today, you hear that hundreds of workers have lost their jobs, and tomorrow, the news bulletin would read that several promising companies have gone under. You begin to wonder if you’re not in an entrapment, where all doors are closed.

Our economic recovery condition does not differ from an entrapment, and one of the few ways for escape is self-dependence.

Nigeria is a promising economy with plenty of resources that can help attain the heights of self-dependence. These resources can even be utilised by people who wish to venture into small and medium scale businesses.

Seeing that this is the way, I have compiled a list of top ten cheap and lucrative businesses that you can venture into in Nigeria.

As you read through this list, you will discover some low capital money-making business ideas in Nigeria that are proving to be very profitable with every passing day. These should help in your search for economic recovery.

Let’s get started.

1. Fashion Design

Fashion design, or tailoring, as some call it, involves the design and production of clothes and other clothing materials. In Nigeria today, the fashion design industry is a fast selling one. Whether it’s clothing materials and accessories needed for modelling, or parties and ceremonies, tailors are in high demand and make a lot of money in Nigeria.

Some fashion designing services you can offer include:

  1. Traditional attire sewing
  2. Bag making
  3. Dress making
  4. Suit making
  5. Dress illustration
  6. Wedding gown making, etc.

What you Need: Sewing or knitting machine, scissors, and knives, needles and pins, chalk, tape measure, drawing board, ironing board, mannequin, etc.

2. Photography

Photography is also big in Nigeria and so are the number of photographers in Nigeria, but fear not, Nigerians are photogenic, beautiful, colourful and picture-loving people, so you would always get customers if you go into this thriving business.

Starting a photography business in Nigeria with just a camera isn’t impossible. You can become a mobile photographer by selling your services at weddings, birthdays, photo-shoots, and other events without owning a studio or having expensive equipment.

Simply expand gradually!

Some services you can offer include:

  1. Photography at events
  2. Photo-shoots
  3. Photo-book
  4. Photo frames
  5. Photoshop designs, etc.

What you Need: A good camera, a camera bag, lenses, memory card, photo printer, photo editing software, etc.

3. Website Design

Yes, website design is a very profitable and low capital business in Nigeria. It is also one of the freelance services you can offer with no office, staff, huge investments or overhead costs.

It’s no longer news that the internet has come to stay with huge benefits for us all. Online presence today is counting in billions and websites are equally increasing. This is where starting a lucrative web design business comes into play.

By becoming a web designer, you can provide these services:

  1. Web design
  2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  3. Graphics design
  4. Web hosting
  5. Website repair, maintenance and administration

What you Need: A text editor, Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, web hosting provider, domain name provider, etc.

4. Freelance/ Virtual Assistance

Freelancing is not a new concept, even in Nigeria. It has been a very profitable and lucrative online business venture in Nigeria. A freelancer is a self-employed individual who provides services for a client or group of clients from a remote location instead of a physical office. The freelance industry has provided many people with a stable source of income and has become a fast selling business in Nigeria and all over the world.

The amazing thing about freelancing is that, not only is it profitable, but it is also flexible because it gives you the freedom to choose which service(s) you wish to offer, to whom you wish to work for, and for how long you wish to work.

To spice things up, you can either join a freelance community that connects employers with freelancers or launch your own website to allow people hire you right from your website. With time, you will be able to set up a thriving business that provides you with a daily income.

The opportunities and service options for freelancers are endless. Here are a few:

  1. Software design
  2. Website design
  3. Graphic designs
  4. Theme designs
  5. Copywriting
  6. Content marketing
  7. Editorial services, etc.

Here are some top freelance platforms that you can join:

  1. Upwork 
  2. Elance
  3. Freelancer
  4. Findworka

5. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing involves you recommending a product or service to your audience and readers using custom tracking links and then getting a referral commission for every time someone makes a purchase using your link.

This is more favourable for bloggers and website owners who wish to make money online in Nigeria. All you need to do is to sign up for any of the affiliate programmes below, promote their products and services on your website or in social media campaigns, and start making money from the comfort of your home.

It’s really that simple.

Here are some of the most profitable affiliate marketing programmes for Nigerians:

    1. Amazon Affilates
    2. ShareASale
    3. SEMRush
    4. Konga
    5. Jumia
    6. Whogohost

6. Handcrafts

The business of handcrafts is a very lucrative one in Nigeria because Nigerians love to wear accessories. This is one important craft you can learn to set up a profitable business, even from home.

When you adorn your beautiful dress and attire to parties, you are also tempted to wear handmade crafts like native beads that give your native attire all the traditional touch that it needs.

Handcrafts like beads, earrings, ankara bags, shoes and other accessories can be of benefit to party lovers and are some of the most common types of jewellery in Africa. They’re mostly used for beautification, and they do a darn good job at that!

The demand for these beads has also driven many people to learn how to make them. This is where you can come in, too. You could learn from vocational centres or watch as many YouTube tutorial videos as possible.

7. Tutoring

If there’s any business that you can get into and be sure of almost not spending a dime, it has to be tutoring. With tutoring, you not only make money from teaching, but you also do what you may enjoy doing; teaching students.

Today, because of dwindling student performance in post-primary examinations, many parents are looking for extra alternatives to help their children perform better in exams. As a tutor, you may be hired by private schools or do home tutoring services and teach only the subjects you are competent in or what the parents request.

All you need to get you started is to be knowledgeable in any subject and show a mastery of that subject and you’re good to go.

As a tutor, you can learn as much as ₦150,000 in a month if you tutor 2 kids and earn ₦5,000 per day.

You can get started with Tuteria.

8. Catering

If you’ve never thought of going into catering before or you don’t realise the lucrative potentials in catering, then you are still on a long thing.

Yes, a very long thing…

Nigeria is home to a variety of local cuisines, with a people who have a large appetite for local dishes, especially at ceremonies.

Whether it’s amala, fufu, jollof rice, pounded yam, egusi, ewedu, edikaikong, etc., the catering industry in Nigeria is so big that caterers, often, run into the challenge of deciding which area to specialise in.

Because people cannot do without eating an average of two square meals daily in Nigeria, the catering sector, put together, is a profitable business worth hundreds and millions of naira.

To get started, capital can vary according to your scope of business and target customers. If your potential customers would be high-income level customers in eyebrow areas, you can open an eatery, but if you wish to serve low and medium income customers, then you could simply set up a small roadside “booka” in Nigerian parlance.

Other ideas include providing catering services at ceremonies, mobile catering service, home delivery services, etc.

To be successful, maintain maximum quality, give your customers the best, reward loyal ones, be unique and innovative, create your own brand and expand when you can.

Follow these simple tips and first-time visitors will quickly become regulars for you to make money from.

9. Small Scale Farming

The agricultural sector is currently the largest employer of labour in Nigeria and most of the labour is unskilled and self-employed. This means you too can become a boss by setting up your own profitable business in this industry.

Small agricultural businesses require small capital to start up if you factor in the amount of money you may make if you maintain the business.

Most of the needed inputs are land, water and the viable breeds (crops and animals). You can start this business as a sole-proprietor and then grown into a Limited Liability Company.

Opportunities that abound in this sector are almost endless. Here are a few below:

  1. Poultry farming
  2. Fishery farming
  3. Snail rearing
  4. Pig rearing
  5. Livestock rearing and feed production
  6. Horticulture
  7. Rice Milling
  8. Cassava processing
  9. Palm oil processing

10. Cosmetic Business

Cosmetics business is another big and lucrative business in Nigeria today. Running a cosmetics products business is good, because almost everyone, especially females, is finding better skin care or face products that would improve their beauty.

This business has a lot of competition because of the high demand but still fast selling and profitable.

The business is also in two broad categories. While there are those who produce cosmetic products like skin care and makeup products, there are also those who offer home spa, pedicure or makeup services.

There are many resources available online and on YouTube that can get you started with your own profitable business.


There you have it guys. The above list is not exhaustive, so you can look inwards into your available resources and knowledge base to start a business that isn’t listed here, but be sure that you can start any of the businesses in this post with relatively minimal capital.

Until the next post, keep winning!

Oyekunle Damola

About the author

Damola is a Digital Marketing Consultant who teaches people how to use Digital Marketing channels to grow their business online.

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