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Revealed: Top 40 Profitable Business Start-Up Ideas (PART I)

Unemployment and underemployment are undoubtedly a global problem, and it is expected to worsen given the increasing use of technology that reduces the need for human labour.

In Uganda, unemployment has been described as a ‘time bomb’ given the fact that youth unemployment is estimated at over 60%.

Away from unemployment, there are people with a lot of money, but don’t know where to invest it. Worry no more! There are many unexploited lucrative business ideas in the Trade Sector that can make you a billionaire in a few years.

In no particular order, below are some of business ideas for start-ups that are recommended by Uganda Investment Authority that can mint you money. Read on!


This business idea is for production and marketing of cotton t-shirts. Cotton t-shirts are particularly for sports and casual wear.

A good sweat absorbent wear, these garments are soft, tough and wrinkle free. The revenue is estimated at US$ 702,000 per year, and the project cost is estimated at US$ 107,819 inclusive of operating cost in the first year and the revenue potential is US$702,000. The pay period is 3 months at net profit of 87%.

The production capacity per day is 450 t-shirts per day. The risk associated is marketing mix which can be managed by better management and control of the business.

The demand for T-shirts has been increasing as a casual wear especially for sportswear.  Apart from domestic demand, the shirts enjoy a lot of demand from the export market.


This is about making jewellery such as rings, brooches, chains, and bracelets by cutting, shaping and polishing the material for producing fashion jewels. Jewellery is used by women mostly though of late men have started using it.

This business idea aims at production of 200 pieces of jewellery per day thus 62,400 pieces annually. The revenue potential is estimated at US $ 62,400 annually and the total investment is estimated at US$ 1,580 in the first year of Project operation. The net profit margin is estimated at 39%.

The market for jewels is constant throughout the year and could include the following; beauty shops, market places, street vending places, work places, homesteads, salons and tourist places.


Shock absorbers are essential items for smooth riding of any automobile. Their basic function is to absorb any shocks to ensure a comfortable ride and better control of the vehicle/automobile.

With the high number of automobiles in Uganda and noting the state of most of Uganda’s roads, the rate at which shock absorbers are replaced is high.

The project cost is US$12,740, capacity of 4,000 per year giving US$13,978 as revenue in a year. The market is mainly from existing vehicles for reconditioning the shock absorbers.

The used shock absorbers can be reconditioned and used, which costs less than a quarter of the Price of a new set.


This project is for manufacturing and marketing of Expanded Pet pre-foams. Foam nets are preferred over conventional packaging materials due to their merits. They are mainly used for packaging glass bottles, medicine and electronic instruments.

The business idea is premised on production of 2002 rolls per month which translates into 24,024 rolls per year, with a capital investment of US$35,100. The revenue potential is estimated at US$96,096 per year with a net profit margin of 24% and a payback period of 3 years 6 months.


Belt fasteners are used widely in industries manufacturing suit cases, travel bags, apparel belts, shoes etc. They could be manufactured in different sizes and designs depending on the demand.

The unit would make the buckles for the belts as well as the shoes in different varieties. The variety may include double wire lock buckle, oval shape shoe buckle, square pronged buckle, rectangular buckle among others.

There are however no standard set up for these items since the designs, size, and material are constantly changing due to the market demand.

The established setup would produce about 2,500 pieces of fasteners of different sizes a day thus 780,000 per year. The Revenue Potential is estimated at 234,000 per year. The net profit margin is at 51%.


Candles are cylindrical structures made of wax and are used for illumination purposes. Their market structure is relatively high since they are used in hotels, households, churches and for decorative purposes.

They are available in ordinary, fancy shapes and various sizes. The business idea aims at production of 14,612 wax candles per month which translates into 175,344 wax candles per year.

The revenue potential is estimated at US$ 1,753 per month, translating into US$ 21,041 per year with a sales margin of 20%. The total investment capital for this project is US$17,586.


Modern fishing hooks are used in fishing of large fish such as Nile perch, fishing in ponds and wells etc. The investment in this project requires a certain big amount of capital, but the payback period is short.

An estimated fixed capital of US$53,023 and operating costs of US$ 123,094, when invested can generate estimated revenue of US$ 283,920, in the first year of operation.

The net profit margin for this project is 57%. And the pay pack period is estimated at 1 year 8 month. The market for fishing hooks widely exists since the fishing industry in Uganda is a vibrant one contributing to about 10% of the GDP.


The business idea is for making and marketing of Power Invertors. This business idea is premised on production of 15Invertors per month which translates into 180 Invertors per year.

The revenue potential is estimated at US $ 9,000 per month which translates into US $ 108,000 per year. The project cost is US $ 108,165.

There is an ever-increasing demand for Invertors due to power shortages and interruptions. The market for the invertors is within the country and spreads beyond our borders like Rwanda, Sudan and Congo.


This business idea involves preparing different kinds of foodstuffs. The food is prepared and served to people at their work places. The various local dishes prepared include: Matooke, groundnuts, beef stew, rice, sweet potatoes, beans, cassava, peas chicken and greens.

The business risk involved is healthy and safety related risks surrounding the manufacturing and processing. The business idea is premised on production of 130 plates of food per day which translates into 3,380 plates of food per month and 40,560 plates per year.

The revenue potential is estimated at US $85,800 per year and net profit margin 27%. The market for this business consists of people who are not able to prepare food because of their commitments at their work place.

The food will be vended in different places like workplaces, markets, building sites and bus stages.


Paint manufacturing involves the mixing of different chemicals at different sequences and at specified durations for them to set and form a thick and, or sticky solution that is used to coat structure surfaces when applied to give them a decorated look of the desired colours.

The mixing is done by a trained person with acumen in that field. This industry product is on high demand since the construction sector is growing very fast and booming.

The capital outlay is a bit stretched but the return on investment justifies it.

The project requires an estimated fixed capital of US$ 14,544 and operating costs of US$ 491,765 generating revenue of US$ 698,880 in the first year of operation.


The proposed plant is for manufacturing refills for the ball pens. The ball pen has almost replaced the conventional fountain pens, with the use-and-throw refills, creating a niche of its own.

Thanks to the ease and convenience of the ball pens, they have turned into the most preferred medium of writing, which is not only cost –effective, but also serves the variegated needs of the people who write.

These come in different sizes and in various colours made from a very small diameter HDPE tubes filled with a special type of ink.

The business idea aims at production of 500 units per day thus 156,000 units per annum. The revenue potential is estimated at US $ 31,200 annually and the start-up capital is US $2,660 thus total capital investment of the project is US$ 23,887.

The payback period is approximately 1 year with a net profit margin of 32%.


This idea is for producing cream that drives mosquitoes away from whoever applies the product. Mosquitoes are a menace to human race as they transmit malaria parasites through their bite.

They must therefore be kept at bay.  This can be successfully done by applying a repellent cream which keeps them at bay.

The cream is applied on the exposed parts of the body e.g. the face and neck; the legs, the hands, and it remains effective for about 10 hours.

The project requires an estimated fixed capital of US$ 629 and total operating costs of US$84,566 generating revenue of US$126,000 in the first year of operation with a net profit margin of 33%. The payback


There are many types of artificial flowers including those made from glass, paper, porcelain and plastic, just to name but a few.

The most popular artificial flowers are made from silk. All petals are made from white silk cotton and rayon fabric, regardless of the finished colour.

The demand for silk flowers arises from the fact that they last much longer than natural flowers.

The market for silk flowers is very high in residential houses, factories, hotels, offices, and even overseas. Natural flowers wither in a few days and they are quite expensive.


This business idea is for the production and marketing of plastic bangles. Women world over wear bangles for elegancy.

Plastic bangles have a good market as they are available in different designs and colours for different occasions and seasons.

Thus setting up a plant to make plastic bangles is a good business and is quite viable. The TR is estimated at US$ 1,248,000 per year while the production capacity is estimated at 1,000 bangles per day.

The total investment is estimated at US$ 852,277 per year. Plastic bangles have a ready market both in rural and urban areas.

More so, they are liked by tourists and are normally bought for remembrance.  They are therefore supplied in tourist centers, cultural centers and all shops.


This project is for making and marketing of screen printing units. Screen Printing Unit is a type of printing done by using designs developed on nylon silk cloth by chemical method, which is used for printing items like cards, stickers, file covers and also used for textile printing.

Different types of press that may be private or public sector undertakings are buyers of screen printing units therefore there is a high demand in the market.

The idea is premised on production of 385 screen printing units per day which translates into 120,120 screen printing units per annum.

The revenue potential is estimated at US$231 per day, translating into US$72,072, per year with a profit margin of 28%; and total investment is US$ 3,850 for the first year of project operation.

The payback period is estimated at 5 months. Screen printing is popular and used by almost all people in the printing sector and product manufacturers. There is a high demand for printed materials, in both rural and urban areas.

Richard Kamya
Richard is a Digital Communication Specialist and an Entrepreneur

6 thoughts on “Revealed: Top 40 Profitable Business Start-Up Ideas (PART I)

  1. Elvis

    Thanks for the info. Though I think your revenue estimations are a little exaggerated

  2. Ciattah

    Am interested in jewellery making.thanx

  3. Niwahereza Dan

    Its time we moved from flair to jump and male money cant fail to wait for part 2.thnx

  4. Isah Ssewankambo

    Thanks for your extensive research although its mostly urban-centered, how i wish you also publish a well researched potential businesses for us living in rural areas. and all the above require specialised skills hence limited to a few persons

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