12 Business Ideas for Rural Areas in Nigeria

Starting up a business in the rural part of the country might just be what you need to add an extra stream of income to your family.

This article will give you ideas of the best businesses that you can start that have huge profit margins.

African restaurant business

Most of the businesses listed here have been proven to perform in rural areas while some are fresh Ideas I came up with. You can start most of them with little amount and start making a profit in the first month.

I do not want to sugarcoat anything; the profit you will make depends on how hardworking you are and your marketing efforts but I will give you some Ideas that you can use to increase your profit irrespective of any option that you pick.

1. Delivery Business

This is a goldmine with three problems. If you can solve these three problems, more money for you.

There are lots of businesses in Lagos and big cities that run Facebook adverts to people all over Nigeria to sell their items. 

Now, when these sellers get orders from States outside Lagos, it becomes a problem to deliver the goods. 

However, there are delivery companies that can deliver these items to various states but these delivery companies will not take the goods to the customer’s house e.g. door to door delivery. The customer will have to go to the delivery company to get the item.

A lot of sellers do not like this because customers prefer their items to be delivered to their houses. E-commerce sellers know that if they do not promise door-to-door delivery to their customers, they may get low patronage.

This is the first opportunity – Door-to-door delivery in other states.

You can offer to help e-commerce sellers deliver their items to the doorstep of their customers in the state you reside for a fee.

Another part of this business is payment on delivery.

Because of trust issues, a lot of Nigerians that buy things online prefer to pay when they receive the items.

Most delivery companies do not offer payment for delivery services.

This is the second opportunity – Offer Payment on Delivery

You can offer to help sellers collect payment at the point of delivery. After you have collected the payments, you must transfer money back to the seller’s bank account 🙂

I have sold physical goods before and believe me, there are already people offering this service in your state of residence.

Please note that, in this business, you only get paid when the person you are delivering to pays for the item. If the person does not pay, no money for you.

Although, you can still charge a fee for failed deliveries. You can run your business however you want it.

Another part of this business is warehousing.

Normally, when a customer rejects an item, the seller can tell you to return the item back to his or her location. 

But, what if the seller gets another order in that state?

Most smart sellers will tell you to keep the item for a while in case they get another order from the state you reside.

You can help them warehouse the items pending when they get a new order in that state.

You can offer them some days for free, then begin to charge them later. This is called demurrage in the shipping business.

2. P.O.S Business

Banks rarely open branches in rural areas. This poses a problem for people who want to withdraw money within that area.

When I was in secondary school, I lived in a place where we had to travel long distances because we wanted to use an ATM machine. This continued for years until one bank decided to take the bull by the horn and open a branch.

Till today, as big as that community is, there is only one bank there. You can imagine the long queues and frustration to withdraw money.

People will gladly pay a token so that they do not have to travel far distances to withdraw money or spend time in a queue.

Now this is where you come in, you can open a P.O.S. business in your area.

P.O.S. is the acronym for point of sale machine. This device lets customers pay for goods and services with their debit cards (ATM cards).

In the P.O.S. business, your job is to help customers perform cash transactions.

Here is an example;

If John (a customer) comes to you to send 5,000 Naira to his sister in school, John will give you 5,000 Naira cash while you transfer the money in your bank account to John’s sister. You can charge John 200 Naira for this service or you remove the service charge from the money John is sending to his sister

The P.O.S. company will charge you a token when you transfer. Sometimes as less as 20 Naira.

Here is another example.

If Sandra (another customer) comes to you to withdraw 10,000 Naira from her bank account, she will slot in her debit card (ATM Card) inside the P.O.S. device and enter her pin.

The P.O.S. device will automatically credit your bank account while you give Sandra her cash.

Since Sandra is withdrawing 10,000 Naira, you can decide to charge her 500 Naira for this service and give her 9,500 Naira cash instead.

The P.O.S. company will charge you a token for this service. Sometimes it’s not up to 20 Naira. It all depends on the P.O.S. company you are using.

One good thing about starting a P.O.S. business is that you can decide to start it separately or add it to an existing business.

Let’s say you have a hair salon, barbershop, chemist, boutique etc., you can add this business to get more revenue.

3. Sports Bet Shop

A lot of Nigerians watch football and other sports, especially the male folks. Sports betting allows them to predict the outcome of a sporting event and make money if they get the prediction correctly.

You can become an agent to the popular sports betting companies in Nigeria.

As an agent, you can open a betting shop for customers to come and place bets on different kinds of sports or also play virtual games.

The most popular betting company right now is Bet9ja. I recommend them if you want to become an agent.

Bet9ja pays agents commissions based on the number of turnovers an agent generates. Agents earn this commission on each bet slip they print.

Let’s say you are an agent, if only 20 people come to your shop in a day and play bets of 500 Naira each, you will earn commissions on the 500 Naira of each person.

The more money your customers use to play bets, the more money you make. Also, the more people come to place bets in your shop, the more your commission increases.

If you already own a sports viewing centre, you can add a sports betting business to it.

Click here to apply to become a Bet9ja https://agents.bet9ja.com/become-an-agent/.

4. Football Viewing Centre

A Football viewing centre is a place where people come to watch football matches. This business idea is profitable if you have a large space and a big television where people can watch different football matches at the same time.

I must warn you, starting a football viewing centre can be capital intensive. You will need a lot of money to get started.

But the good side of this business is that you can add other services to it to make more money.

Here is a list of businesses that you can add to your football viewing centre to make you more money.

  1. Video gaming – set up video gaming and charge people to play video games during times when there are no football matches.
  2. Sports Betting: Add a sports betting service to complement your viewing centre business. Your customers can place bets when they come to your shop or they can place bets and hang around to watch the match once it begins.
  3. P.O.S service: If your viewing centre is located close to residential areas, you can also add a P.O.S service. Also, with a P.O.S. device, you can encourage your customers to pay you through their debit cards.

    This will reduce the number of cash with you for security reasons and still make you more money.

5. Barbing Salon

Running a barbing salon is another lucrative business you can start in a rural area. People barb hair every day.

For this business to be profitable from the start, you need to locate the barbing shop at a place with huge traffic – where many people pass through.

You will need to know how to make different haircuts to keep your customers. You can also employ someone who knows how to make nice haircuts.

In this business, you can cross-sell other services like 

  1. Dyeing of hair.
  2. Spotting waves.
  3. Hair or beard growth oil.
  4. Male perfumes.
  5. Dandruff treatment.
  6. Home service to premium customers.

If you can barb but you do not have a shop yet, you can offer home services to your customers. You go to their houses to barb them while offering them your cross-sells.

I got this idea of selling male perfumes and beard growth oil from my barber. I don’t know how much he makes a profit selling the perfumes and beard oil but he actually sells a lot of them.

6. Video Game Shop

Video games are expensive and a lot of people cannot afford it. However, if they see where they can play these video games, they will gladly pay for it.

This is where you come in. You can purchase new or fairly used video games and television sets, get a shop and offer this service to young people in your area.

You can get a new or fairly used Playstation 4 or PlayStation 3 (probably from jiji.ng) and also get a TV set and a generator.

The most popular game on the Playstation is Fifa and most video game houses charge as little as 100 Naira for 10 minutes of play.

Now, most customers will come with their friends to play. If you charge 100 Naira each for a pair, you earn 200 Naira for every 10 minutes they play.

When you start this business initially, you could offer customers extended time to win their loyalty. Maybe 15-20 minutes for 100 Naira.

As time goes on, you can reduce the price.

You could also organize a tournament in your first month of starting this business where the winner goes home with any amount of money that you feel your audience will appreciate.

7. Academic Tutor

Tutoring is a gold mine if you do it properly and it is quite easy and cheap to start.

As a tutor, you teach students of any level you are comfortable with on subjects you are good at.

Many students have at least 2 subjects that they have issues with. Students like me in secondary school had problems with about 7 subjects :).

Now, you can either offer to tutor your students in their houses or at your tutorial centre.

If you choose to tutor at home, then your charges should definitely be higher. But if you choose to tutor at a centre, you can charge cheaper since you will be attending to more students at the same time.

As time goes on, you could hire more staffs that are good at other subjects.

Please note that it is not compulsory for you to know any of the subjects; You can look for someone that knows them and employ them.

To get customers in this business faster, you can partner with teachers.

Here’s how to do it; 

Go to any teacher that you know and tell them that you have started a tutorial centre and you will pay them for every student that they refer to you.

To make your offer sweeter, tell them that you will keep paying them a certain percentage as long as the student remains your customer.

For example, if you charge 4,000 Naira every month for each student, you can offer to pay each teacher that refers students to you 500 Naira per month for each student they refer.

If a teacher refers 20 students to you, they earn 10,000 Naira every month while you keep the rest.

I bet you, the teachers will try to get you more students and also encourage them to remain at your tutorials.

You can also meet business centres involved in exam registrations and give them the same offer.

Note that tutoring is not limited to primary and secondary schools. You can also take your services to students in higher institutions.

8. Sell Water

Access to clean water in rural areas can be a daunting task. And believe me, this problem also persists in many African cities too.

If you own the land and property you live in, you can dig a borehole or a well, create a water system and charge people to fetch the water.

You can also offer to deliver the water to their houses for a higher fee while you employ someone to do the delivery.

9. Student Accommodation

Every state in Nigeria has a tertiary institution. At the moment, the number of higher institutions in the country cannot cater to the increasing number of secondary school leavers every year.

Most tertiary institutions in Nigeria are densely populated and have poor hostels or none at all. 

You can make money from this by offering accommodation to students outside the school premises

There are two ways to go about this business idea.

You can offer accommodation to students in the school and also to students coming from far places to write Post-UTME exams.

What if you do not have an apartment to rent out?

You can partner with landlords that own properties close to the school and collect a commission for each successful student that pays for a house.

Now, for students coming from far distances for Post-UTME exams, you can negotiate with students living close to the school. You tell the students that you will bring Post-UTME students to spend a night or two in their house and you will pay them a cut for each student.

You could charge 2,500 Naira per student and pay your host student 1,000 Naira.

You can find these candidates during Post-UTME periods on Nairaland and on various Facebook groups.

This business is a seasonal business; It comes once in a while. You can do other businesses while you do this one when it is available.

10. Freelancing

Freelancing means providing your skills or services to an individual or organization without being employed by them. Freelancing is more like a part-time job where you can work for as many companies/individuals as possible.

To become a freelancer, you must have a skill that you are good at. It could be graphic design, photo editing, web design, voice-over, content writing, digital marketing, social media management etc.

Whatever you are good at, you can render this service to people or organizations from the comfort of your home through the Internet.

You get paid after completing your task.

The amount you are paid as a freelancer depends on how much you bargain with the person that needs your service.

If you already have a skill, you do not need any amount of money to get started. You can register on some freelancing marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr to get started.

You can also advertise yourself on Facebook groups and Nairaland.

11. Affiliate Marketing

Do you remember the idea I gave in the Academic tutor business idea (number 7 above) where I said school teachers can recommend their students to other academic tutors for a commission?

The process is called Affiliate marketing and the teachers can be called Affiliate marketers.

In affiliate marketing, you recommend products or services to your audience to earn a commission.

Your audience can be anybody. It could be your family members, friends, colleagues or total strangers.

Let me give you an example,

Imagine that there is a new hotel in your community. Then, this new hotel announces to the community that they need customers and for anybody in the community that brings them a new customer, they will pay the person 2,000 Naira per customer.

On hearing this, you go to the motor park in your community at night and tell every stranger that comes down from the buses that you know a hotel where they can lodge or spend a night.

At the end of the night, you took seven strangers to the hotel, five of them paid for rooms, the other two did not like the hotel so they did not pay.

Since the hotel is paying 2,000 Naira per customer, they pay you 10,000 Naira for bringing them five customers.

Here is another example;

If you go to big markets, especially in Lagos, you will see people in or outside the markets trying to ask you what you want to buy.

Immediately you tell them what you came to get in the market, they will take you to a store that sells these items. If you buy from the store, they go back to those stores after you leave to collect their commission.

Hope you now understand how affiliate marketing works.

There are lots of companies online that have affiliate marketing programmes. Some of these companies are;

  1. Stakecut.
  2. Jvzoo.
  3. Jumia.
  4. Amazon.
  5. Expertnaire.
  6. Udemy.
  7. Shareasale.
  8. Commission junction.
  9. Rakuten LinkShare.

There are lots of them.

12. Start a Shawarma Business

This business is booming in big cities already, I believe it will do well in rural areas as well.

People in rural areas may not patronize food vendors as it is in cities but I bet you, everyone wants to eat something delicious irrespective of where they live.

Shawarma is delicious and it is not something everyone can make. If you can start this business in your community, I bet you, you will make good sales.

All you need to do to get started is to learn how to make Shawarma. You can learn how to make Shawarma on Youtube.

There are different kinds of Shawarma but I guess the most popular ones are the chicken and beef shawarma.

Once you have perfected your Shawarma-making skills, and get the tools and ingredients required to start, you are good to go.

13. Sell Smoothies and Ice Cream.

Who doesn’t like Ice cream? Everyone does unless the doctor says you should cut down on your sugar intake. Even if the doctor said so, you can go for smoothies, they are more natural with less or no sugar.

A smoothie is a thick blended beverage containing fruits or vegetables mixed with other liquids like fruit juice, milk, yoghurt or vegetable juice.

You can learn how to make either a smoothie or an Iced cream on Youtube.

This business can be done in a single form or you partner with someone into Shawarma or other fast foods. Customers who buy Shawarma may love to buy smoothies or ice cream and vice versa.


Now that you have seen the 13 business ideas that you can start in a rural area, you might be worried about which of them you should start.

Most of the businesses listed above require some kind of experience and money to start.

The business you should consider starting depends on your experience and how much budget you have to spend.

You can start one initially and add another later on to make more money.

Thank you for reading our article on business ideas for people living in rural areas. If you are a part-time student, you can also read our article on the best business ideas for part-time students in Nigeria.

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