Township business ideas

Township business ideas

Our economic climate is forcing a lot of people to be entrepreneurs. Job losses and unemployment is rising in South Africa, forcing people to open up businesses. These are some business ideas that are practical for a township, they actually work and not too idealistic. It’s not easy to start a business, run it and make it successful, that’s why most people stay far away from starting businesses. Here is our list of the best township business ideas.

Shisa nyama

A shisa nyama can be a very lucrative business to start in a township in South Africa. A successful shisa nyama usually makes more than established businesses running from town or the suburbs. Starting a successful shisa nyama might require you to have a bit of capital. You can make more than R100 000 a month just by running a shisa nyama. Here is a guide on how to start a shisa nyama. 

Spaza shop

A spaza shop can be a good way of earning a living and a successful business in a township. The spaza shop industry in South Africa is mostly ran by non South Africans. It is however, very profitable and has been the backbone of the Ekasi economy for ages. Starting a spaza shop will require you to have a space to rent and some stock to start with. Here is a guide on how to start a spaza shop business.


If you don’t like the idea of running a spaza shop, you can choose to be a wholesaler. A lot of these spaza shops will be ordering products in bulk from you. This is also a great business to form around a township. There might be multiple spaza shops but there are a few wholesalers. Opening up a wholesaler will demand a lot of capital from you.

Hair salons and barbershops

Running a hair salon business has proven to be a good way of making money for township entrepreneurs, especially when it deals with women hair. Hair salons are a good business to start no matter where you are and they are not that expensive to start. The only thing you need to keep this business afloat is customers, this is why a lot of people who start this business don’t stop easily. Even barbershops make a lot of money, a barber that charges R30 for a  hair cut and gets around 20 clients a day can make around R18 000 a month.

Car wash

A successful car wash business can make a lot of money in a township. When starting a car wash business you need to pay close attention to its location, it should be easily accessible. If you provide a good service then you will be making money in no time. A car wash has the potential to make a huge amount of money, this is why you find car wash franchises in towns and suburbs.

Kota business

Who doesn’t love a Kota AKA skhambane? Every township has a place that is famous for delicious Kotas. You can make more profit running a kota business  by selling some things separately like Chips, Cool drinks, Atchar, Russians and others. This is a great business to start in a township, here is a guide on how to start a successful kota business

Internet Cafe

Most people in the townships are battling with data prices, and most still don’t have the equipment to be fully active on the internet. Those are things like laptops and computers. Some of them have phones but they only use data for social media and not to improve their lives using the internet. You as an entrepreneur can open an internet café and include a WI-FI, you can charge them for access to the Wi-Fi. This is a good business opportunity that actually helps the township, it might cost a lot to start as you will need operating premises and equipment.

Gaming Lounge

Most people are suckers for video games, you can simply open a gaming lounge that has the latest gaming consoles and video games. You can top it up by adding pool tables and other forms of entertainment. This can make you a lot of money, you can even host FIFA tournaments, those will attract a lot of people to your gaming lounge. 

Tavern | Club

Taverns and nightclubs can make you a lot of money. A lot of people like drinking and entertainment, it’s not secret, you can position yourself as the main place to be for entertainment in a township. This can be one of the most successful businesses to start in this list, when successful, these types of businesses can make over a million rands of profit in a year.

Catering business

You can cater for people’s parties or weddings or any events in townships. Catering services are always in need and this is one business that doesn’t restrict you to your geographical location but allows you to go almost everywhere in your province. You can get clients from the township, suburbs and towns.

Rental accommodation | Landlord

You can choose to be a landlord (Mastandi), this is a good way to earn passive income in a township but has its limitations. The amount of money you make will be limited by the number of rooms or spaces you can rent out, changing your income will mean constantly adding new rooms. But this is a very stable business that will always work, people are always looking for a place to rent.

Tattoo shop

This business is not popular in townships, I don’t understand why, there are a lot of people who get tattoos at townships. They have to travel to town just to get a tattoo, you can bridge the gap and offer those services to them. That’s if you have the skills, tattoos are very sensitive and need artists who know what they are doing.

Clothing business

There has been a trend whereby people are supporting local businesses. This has seen a lot of clothing businesses take off. Don’t just do a T-Shirt business but manufacture unique clothing. Create a brand, a lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of basing their clothing businesses on current trends, you can’t do that when looking to create a lasting brand.

Bed and Breakfast

This is an obvious one, it can make a lot of money when done right, you will most likely always get customers. However to increase your visibility; you will need to be easily accessible online, the first step to doing that is getting a website and registering yourself in relevant directories.

Sewing and tailoring

This type of business has the potential to make a lot of money, but it needs you to be professional from the start. If you setup an environment like renting a proper space and investing in the right equipment, you should see some money coming in from this business. Here is a guide on how to start a sewing business.

Creative artwork and designs

The list of businesses under this heading would be photography, graphic design and other art related businesses. These businesses usually don’t earn you that much money but can earn you enough income to make a living.

Kids transportation services

Another business that can be started from a township is a kids transportation business. You can transport kids to and from school. You will have to charge monthly fees, although this business has its limitations, its enough to earn a living income.

Event organising

This is one fun and exciting business to start in a township that can make you a lot of money, it just needs patience. It can take about 5 years before you start seeing a lot of money. The idea behind this is that you can host annual events at a township, it usually takes sometime before events gain popularity but when they do, you can make over R500 000 just from one event. You can also organise events for other people.

Tutoring services

Offering tutoring services to high school kids can be a great way to make an income in a township. This is a good business because you will offer tutoring services on the subject you know best, in most cases it doesn’t require any capital to start. You can speak with schools and organize with them to advertise your services to their learners.

Gardening services

You can do gardening for parks and recreational centers.  The right equipment is needed for this, you can even do gardening for schools and a lot of facilities in your township. You don’t necessarily have to do gardening for individuals. But to get tenders on that level you will need to have an equipment and a registered business.


These are some of the best township business ideas. Starting a business is not easy, put in the necessary hard work and consistency and you will build a solid business. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below  

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hi. Thank you so much for your time, on writing this article. Was indeed very useful for my research. May God grant your heart desires in Jesus name. Shalom

    1. Amen

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