Small Business

Zambia, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, is a developing nation with a rapidly growing economy. Despite not holding a good position globally in ease of doing business, the government is making significant strides in promoting small-scale industries. This makes starting a small, medium, or large-scale business in Zambia a potentially profitable decision. This guide will provide an in-depth look at the opportunities and challenges of starting a small business in Zambia.

Understanding the Zambian Economy

Zambia’s economy is primarily based on copper mining, but there’s a high demand for businesses that can cater to the population’s needs. The country’s economic growth provides a fertile ground for small businesses in various sectors. For instance, the World Bank reported a GDP growth of 2.3% in Zambia for 2022, indicating a recovering economy post the COVID-19 pandemic. However, entrepreneurs should be aware of the country’s economic challenges, such as high inflation rates and currency depreciation, which could affect business operations.

Profitable Small Business Ideas in Zambia


Agriculture plays a very important part in Zambia’s economy. Livestock farming is also popular in the country, with cattle, pork, chicken, and dairy items being most popular in the food processing sector. Edible oil production, flour milling, and sugar milling also fetch considerable revenue in Zambia. For example, a small-scale farmer in Lusaka could start a poultry farm with just 50 chickens and grow it over time. The key is to focus on quality and build a strong customer base.


Education is another great sector for starting a new venture in Zambia. In the education sector, there are several business opportunities that demand small capital investment. However, thorough market research and proper planning are important in starting a business in the education sector. For instance, one could start a tutoring service or a vocational training center, given the high demand for quality education and skills training in the country.


The Healthcare sector is also growing in Zambia. And still, there is a lot of work yet to be done in this segment. Therefore, the healthcare sector opens a wide range of business opportunities for young entrepreneurs. A case in point is the rise of telemedicine startups in Zambia, which are helping to bridge the gap in healthcare access, especially in rural areas.


Small-scale manufacturing is one of the most potential sectors in Zambia. And this is one of the most lucrative sectors revenue-wise. However, in general, the manufacturing business demands reasonable capital investment initially. A good example is the production of locally made goods such as textiles, which can be started with a small capital and scaled up over time.


Any individual can earn handsome money from the recycling business. The magnitude of garbage that we produce is increasing day by day at a disturbing rate. While most people are aware of the effects of not recycling used materials, many more are not even aware that recycling can be a lucrative business. A practical tip for starting a recycling business in Zambia is to focus on one type of waste material, such as plastic or electronic waste, and expand as the business grows.


Telecommunication is an emerging sector in Zambia. Most of the business in this sector demands a lot of capital investment. However, there are some opportunities you can find that you can start with moderate capital investment. For instance, starting a business in mobile money transfer services could be a profitable venture, given the high mobile penetration rate and the growing demand for digital financial services in Zambia.


Zambia has some of nature’s best wildlife and game reserves affording the country abundant tourism potential. The North Luangwa, South Luangwa, and Kafue National Parks have one of the most prolific animal populations in Africa. Victoria Falls in the Southern part of the country is a major tourist attraction. A common mistake to avoid in the tourism business is neglecting online marketing. In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for attracting tourists.


Transport business opportunities are emerging globally nowadays. Transportation is one of the world’s largest industries. Different types of specific demands with changing lifestyle habits have introduced several innovative and profitable startup opportunities in the transport industry. For example, a small-scale transport business could start with just one minibus for public transportation and expand over time.

Starting a Business in Zambia: A Step-by-Step Guide

Starting a business in Zambia involves several steps, including finding a business name, obtaining a tax ID number, registering for social security, paying a business levy, registering for VAT, and opening a business bank account. It’s important to follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant. A practical tip is to seek advice from local business advisory services or experienced entrepreneurs to navigate the business registration process in Zambia.


Starting a small business in Zambia can be a profitable venture, given the country’s growing economy and the government’s efforts to promote small-scale industries. However, it’s important to conduct thorough market research and strategic planning before starting a business in Zambia. With the right approach and determination, entrepreneurs can tap into the numerous opportunities that the Zambian market offers and contribute to the country’s economic growth.

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