49 Top Business Ideas That Can Be Successful In Developing Countries In 2023.

49 Top Business Ideas That Can Be Successful In Developing Countries In 2023.

This 2023, there is a multitude of exceptional business concepts that can be executed with great success in developing countries.

Table of Contents

What are developing countries?

Developing countries, also referred to as less developed countries (LDCs), are nations that have lower levels of industrialization, income, and human development compared to more advanced and industrialized nations. These countries often face a range of economic, social, and political challenges that can hinder their progress toward achieving higher standards of living and overall well-being for their populations.

Key characteristics of developing countries include:

  1. Low Income: Developing countries generally have lower average incomes and GDP per capita compared to developed countries.
  2. Limited Industrialization: These countries often have a less diversified and advanced industrial base, relying more heavily on agriculture and raw materials.
  3. High Poverty Rates: Poverty is widespread in developing countries, with a significant portion of the population living on or below the poverty line.
  4. Limited Access to Healthcare and Education: Developing countries often struggle to provide adequate healthcare, education, and other essential services to their citizens.
  5. Inadequate Infrastructure: Infrastructure development, such as roads, electricity, and communication networks, may be lacking or underdeveloped.
  6. Unemployment and Underemployment: Many developing countries experience high rates of unemployment and underemployment, often in the informal sector.
  7. Political Instability: Political instability, corruption, and weak governance can hinder economic growth and development.
  8. Limited Technological Advancement: Access to and adoption of advanced technologies can be limited in developing countries.
  9. High Birth Rates and Population Growth: Many developing countries have high birth rates and population growth, which can strain resources and public services.
  10. Dependency on Agriculture: A significant portion of the population may be engaged in subsistence agriculture, which can be vulnerable to environmental and market fluctuations.

Are you living in a developing country and interested in starting a business? If so, we have compiled a list of the top 49 small business ideas for you to consider.

Starting a business and choosing a niche can be a challenging task, especially in developing countries. Instabilities in the economy, poor healthcare and infrastructure, political factors, and unreliable power supply can make it difficult for a business to thrive. Nevertheless, many entrepreneurs have succeeded despite these challenges. Individuals such as Mike Adenuga, Patrice Motsepe, Mohamed Al-Fayed, and Shyam Bhartia have demonstrated that success as an entrepreneur is possible even in developing countries.

Where most people saw challenges, these people were able to see opportunities that they took advantage of. Here are a few profitable business ideas for developing countries.

Best Business Ideas for Developing Countries

Many developing countries share the issue of pollution and waste disposal, specifically with garbage and waste collection. Entrepreneurs have the opportunity to address this problem and potentially earn a significant profit by creating an effective solution for disposal.

It’s important to properly dispose of garbage and recycle as many items as possible. A great example of recycling success is Lorna Rutto, a citizen of Kenya who left her bank job in 2009 to start the business Eco Post. This business focuses on recycling plastics from various dumpsites and homes to create fencing posts. Today, Eco Post employs over 500 people and generates over $150,000 annually.

1. Daycare center

Many developing countries are constantly changing and progressing. They are transitioning from traditional, agricultural practices to more modern, business-oriented methods. 

In many cases, both parents work outside the home, making daycare services a necessity. As an aspiring daycare center owner, you can obtain a license, rent a suitable building, and offer quality care for children while their parents are away. If you provide excellent care, satisfied parents will refer other families to your establishment.

Tip: a surveillance camera and any other semblance of added security would be a plus as parents would trust leaving their kids in your care because of the extra precaution.

2. Farming

One of the greatest advantages of farming is that it’s difficult to make mistakes, especially if you select the right product. Despite being an ancient practice, farming remains highly lucrative when properly managed. You can approach supermarkets and stores and propose to provide them with your freshly harvested products. Alternatively, you may export your goods to countries where they are in greater demand.

3. Real estate

The demand for lands and properties has increased in developing countries due to the rise in rural-urban migration. There are various opportunities in the real estate sector in these countries, which cater to everyone.

Investing in real estate in developing countries is comparatively easier than in developed countries, where the processes are more stringent. You can earn profits from real estate in several ways, such as land flipping, open space leasing, providing real estate agency services, developing properties, and buying land and renting it out after constructing a building.

4.Barbershop and salons

Individuals who own barber shops and salons have a talent for enhancing the appearance of others. This type of business doesn’t typically require a large amount of capital to get started, making it relatively simple to manage as long as the necessary skills are present.

5. Freelancing

Starting a freelance business is a quick and affordable option for anyone. Numerous websites connect people who need assistance with those willing to complete tasks for a fee. Popular examples like Fiverr, Upwork, and Seoclerk offer opportunities for individuals to work from home in various niches including graphic design, digital marketing, video creation, writing, advertising, music, and programming. By delivering the service the buyer purchased, freelancers will receive payment.

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6. Blog

Blogging is the act of regularly updating an individual website. There are various ways to monetize a blog, so it’s best not to limit yourself to only one. Some of the ways to make money through blogging include displaying ads on your blog, selling your courses and books, affiliate marketing, and Google AdSense. African bloggers such as Ameyaus Debrah, Uche Pedro, and Linda Ikeji, to name a few, earn thousands of dollars every month solely from their blogs.

7. Solar power

Solar power is a highly accessible and plentiful source of energy, particularly in tropical countries. Many developing nations struggle with unreliable electricity, making solar power an attractive solution to this issue. Entrepreneurs have recognized this need and have successfully created businesses that not only generate wealth for themselves but also provide comfort for their communities. For instance, M-KOPA, a solar energy provider in Kenya, offers pay-as-you-go solar power systems and has received investments of up to 40 million dollars.

8. Smartphones

Smartphones are among the most popular items sold around the world. Even in Africa, where the majority of countries are still developing, smartphones are the second fastest-growing market after Asia. People are always searching for the latest and greatest technology in smartphones and many are willing to upgrade to newer devices with better features.

Although high-end smartphones from top producers like Apple, Samsung, and Blackberry may not be dominant in developing countries due to their high prices, this has opened the door for low-priced smartphones to enter the market. These low-priced smartphones often have similar styles and functions to their high-end counterparts. As a result, many smartphone brands have emerged to take advantage of this opportunity and turn a profit.

9. Tutorial centers

One way to supplement a student’s regular school education is by providing tutoring and teaching services. You can establish a tutorial center from the comfort of your own home, avoiding the need to rent additional space. To promote your services, you can use various methods such as social media, distributing flyers, and relying on word of mouth.

10. Fruit juice kiosk

On a hot day, many people enjoy refreshing and healthy fruit juice. If you want to start a business selling fruit juice, you’ll need to obtain a permit for a kiosk (if necessary in your country) and find a strategic location to rent. Once you have secured your space, set up your store and gather your raw materials, which will primarily consist of the fruits you use to make your juice.

11. Garment making

The desire for custom-made clothing is on the rise worldwide, even in developing countries. Many individuals seek unique designs that cater to their preferences. Becoming a tailor doesn’t require a significant amount of capital. All you need is a shop, sewing and stitching equipment, and a reliable source of electricity to operate your business efficiently.

12. Art

The business of creating and selling artworks and artifacts has become quite lucrative. In November 2014, a collection of pieces from Mali, Gabon, Congo, and Liberia were auctioned for a staggering 41 million dollars, highlighting the increasing popularity of antique and contemporary works from developing countries. Collecting and reselling such pieces can be a profitable venture if managed wisely.

13. Apps and online services

In today’s world, the use of technology has risen exponentially. Mobile apps are a prime example of this, with almost every business having its app. These applications can provide solutions for a variety of needs such as hotel accommodation, movies, entertainment, and even purchasing a home. For tech-savvy individuals, creating, maintaining, and updating these mobile apps can be a lucrative opportunity.

14. Payment solutions

In developing countries, cash continues to be the primary mode of transaction due to the limited adoption of cashless systems. This presents a profitable opportunity for entrepreneurs with financial acumen. To reduce cash usage in individual transactions, M-Pesa has been implemented in East Africa. Additionally, Paga, a payment solution company based in Nigeria, has raised 15 million dollars in just one year to expand its business in Nigeria and beyond.

15. Financing startups

Getting funding is a major obstacle for even the most promising business ideas. Without the necessary funding, great business ideas can fizzle out and never take off. Investing in startups and early-stage businesses has become increasingly popular in recent times because of their potential to be lucrative in the long run if the startup succeeds.

These startups are catching the attention of venture capitalists (VCs), private equity firms, and angel investors who can become shareholders if the business becomes successful after they provide funding.

16. Travel agency

Now is the ideal moment to invest in your passion for travel. As a travel agent, you can assist your clients in choosing and arranging their vacation or journey according to their financial means. You can establish a travel agency from your home by partnering with a host agency.

17. Mobile recharge shop

Although online recharge is becoming more widespread worldwide, recharge cards for mobile phones are still in high demand in many developing nations. To establish this business, you’ll need to rent a storefront and establish connections with your network provider to become a distributor or seller of their recharge cards, earning a commission in the process.

18.YouTube Channel

Starting a YouTube channel is a great work-from-home idea that offers versatility and ease. When managed well, a YouTube channel can be just as profitable, if not more so, than a traditional blog. One of the benefits of starting a YouTube channel is that you don’t need a domain or hosting for your channel, which can save you money. Additionally, YouTube has a large audience, and you have a readymade platform to work with. You can get AdSense approval easily through YouTube, and you can start earning from the very first day you create your account and post a video. There are a multitude of niches to choose from, including online reviews, comedy, how-to, real estate, business, gaming, and motivation channels. Every day, over 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube, so there is ample opportunity to reach a large audience and monetize your channel. You can get paid through Google AdSense, sponsored videos, and the sale of your services or the services of others on YouTube.

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19. Handcraft lessons

Do you have skills in a specific handcraft like pottery, basket weaving, fabric weaving, tatting, or macramé? You can make money by selling your handmade creations and also by offering lessons to others for a fee. You can choose to teach individual classes or have group sessions with all your students.

20. Music teacher

Utilizing your musical abilities as a music instructor is an excellent means of earning supplementary income. Regardless of whether you possess a talent for singing or playing an instrument, your skills can be employed to assist and impact others.

21. Sports Coaching

If you have expertise in a specific sport and a thorough grasp of its skills and technicalities, you can consider coaching amateurs. Your proficiency and experience in the sport could attract the interest of various sports academies that might hire you as an independent coach for a particular season.

22. Tour guide

Every country has its unique tourist attractions, regardless of its level of development. For those interested in starting a tour guide business, you can offer assistance in arranging visits to various tourist sites and also provide personal guidance during those visits. To get started, creating a website for your tour guide services is a great idea.

23. Cooking classes

If you are a professional cook, you can offer your services by organizing both online and offline cooking lessons. To conduct online classes, you can either create your website or use popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to post videos and written instructions on how to prepare various dishes. For offline lessons, you may need to find a suitable studio or hall to host your classes on the days you have scheduled them.

24. Breakfast joint

As humans, we need food to survive, making it a fundamental requirement. Food-related businesses tend to thrive, particularly when the meals served are well-made and hygienic. If you’re considering opening a breakfast restaurant, you’ll require a permit, a suitable space to sell your food, and sufficient funds to prepare the meals. It’s important to note that permits may vary depending on your location.

25. The alternative source of fuel

In many developing countries, fuel options are scarce and expensive. Petrol, diesel, and kerosene are the most common sources, but their high cost makes them challenging to afford, even in oil-producing nations. Many people rely on these fuels daily, which compounds the issue. Given the chance, individuals would likely opt for a more affordable alternative. Bio-fuel and ethanol are both viable and inexpensive alternatives that could potentially replace traditional fuels. Entrepreneurs who invest in these industries have the potential to earn significant profits.

26. Fuel savers

As previously stated, fuel is a significant concern in developing countries. Innovators can generate good profits by creating products that use less fuel than their current alternatives.

27. Importation and exportation

It’s rare for any country to have everything it needs. Most countries must import items they lack and export those they have in abundance. This presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs to export unique products from their home country to other parts of the world where there’s a demand for them, while also importing items their country requires. For instance, one can export agricultural goods such as charcoal, bitter kola, and cocoa, and import clothing, electronic devices, solar panels, and more.

28. Selling used items

Selling used items can be a great source of income in developing countries where many individuals earn low wages. Whether it’s used cars, clothes, mobile phones, or shoes, there are plenty of opportunities to sell second-hand goods.

29. Meat store

Many developing countries are now more aware of the importance of hygiene, leading people to choose prepackaged meat over meat sold in open markets. This is due to concerns about unsanitary conditions. If you have the resources to open a meat packaging and delivery business, it could be a lucrative opportunity.

30. Security services

In developing countries, security is a major concern for influential individuals, neighborhoods, companies, schools, and more. To protect themselves from security threats, starting a security outfit that specializes in utilizing sophisticated equipment can be a viable solution. Additionally, selling security gadgets like electric fences, pepper spray, tasers, stun guns, and more can be a profitable venture.

31. Recruitment agency

Developing countries face a significant challenge with high unemployment rates. According to the latest statistics from 2013, there were approximately 157.1 million individuals without work in developing nations globally. East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa have the highest number of unemployed workers among developing regions. As a result, businesses that focus on reducing unemployment have an excellent opportunity to succeed. By connecting companies with job seekers, you can help people find employment and profit from your services.

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32. E-commerce

The rise of e-commerce has affected every part of the world, including developing countries. Websites like Jumia and Konga in Nigeria and other West African countries, Flipkart in India, and Shophive in Pakistan have changed the way we shop for our wants and needs. Starting your e-commerce website can be a profitable way to make money and create jobs by selling items for a profit.

33. Survey and data collection

Individuals and companies in developing countries can receive funding from the government, international organizations, and research institutes to gather information on specific topics within their niche. If you possess data collection skills, you can establish a company that specializes in this field and generate profit.

34. The alternative source of energy

Entrepreneurs in third-world countries face the common challenge of finding a reliable and affordable source of energy to power their businesses. Many resort to generating their power, which can be costly. However, by exploring alternative sources of energy such as solar, geothermal, and wind energy, entrepreneurs can save money while powering their businesses. Another option is to import and sell generators, which can also be a profitable venture.

35. Procurement services

There is a significant need for procurement services for government and capital projects. If you have access to a source where you can buy items at a lower cost, starting a procurement agency could be a profitable opportunity for you.

36.Haulage and transportation

Transporting goods and people from one location to another is a necessary daily activity, making it a profitable business.

37. Data encryption

Just like how individuals hire security companies to protect their lives and belongings, various organizations such as government agencies, banks, and companies require protection for their data against hackers. If you possess expertise in data encryption and protection, you can offer your services to them for a fee.

38. Educational consultancy

In many developing nations, the level of education is subpar, prompting some of its inhabitants who have the means to do so to pursue their studies in foreign lands. As an education consultancy service provider, you need to offer sound guidance and assistance to aspiring pupils who wish to study overseas. This entails advising them on the application process and assisting them in navigating visa and travel-related matters.

39. Laundry services

Many people want to appear presentable and well-groomed, but not everyone has the expertise, free time, or willingness to handle their laundry. There are plenty of individuals who are willing to pay for the convenience of having their dirty clothes cleaned and pressed by someone else.

40. Repair services

If you possess the ability to fix electrical and mechanical equipment that has been damaged, you can earn a significant amount of money by utilizing this skill. It is common knowledge that repairing damaged equipment is typically more cost-effective than purchasing a new one, which is why individuals are often willing to invest their money in repairs instead of buying brand-new items.

41. Healthcare

In developing countries, there is a shortage of healthcare facilities like hospitals and pharmacies, which can’t keep up with the increasing population. However, if you are a healthcare professional or an entrepreneur with sufficient resources, you can establish a contemporary hospital or pharmacy.

42. Computer business center

Despite the increasing availability of laptops in developing countries, many people still lack the necessary computer skills. One option is to provide services at a computer business center, such as document typing, photocopying, scanning, laminating, and designing pamphlets and flyers, among others.

43. Accounting

If you hold an accounting degree, you can utilize it by providing freelance accounting services. Many small businesses require the assistance of an accountant, but hiring a full-time employee for accounting and bookkeeping may be too expensive for them. You can offer your services as a freelance accountant or bookkeeper to such individuals.

44. Business plan service

Many people come up with great business ideas, but they often lack the necessary experience, expertise, and skills to create a solid business plan. You could offer your services to draft a thorough and detailed business plan for them in exchange for a fee.

45. Car wash service

Cars will inevitably accumulate dirt and require washing. However, starting a car wash service with minimal funds is achievable. Additionally, providing mobile car wash services at the convenience of your customers’ homes is a viable option.

46. Computer training

Despite the surge in computer usage, not everyone possesses proficient computer skills. Presently, numerous examinations are conducted on computers, and basic computer literacy is a prerequisite for most job opportunities, as well as for daily life. Additionally, you have the opportunity to earn an income by providing computer education to individuals.

47. Personal trainer

Obesity is a prevalent concern in many countries, and it affects a significant number of individuals. By promoting a healthy lifestyle and exercise, you can assist many people in maintaining their fitness. If you have a passion for physical fitness and enjoy sharing your bodybuilding and fitness expertise, you can consider starting a business in this field.

48. Translation service

If you can speak two languages, you have the opportunity to translate between them and receive payment for your services.

49. Moving service

In many developing countries, owning a car large enough to transport one’s belongings during a move is not common. Therefore, hiring a moving service is often necessary. You can capitalize on this need and generate income by offering your moving service.


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