How to Invest 500000 In Kenya 2024 (11 Smart Ideas!)

You generally don’t need to be a millionaire to invest in Kenya successfully. With half a million Kenya shillings, you can invest online or start a profitable business and earn a good return on your investment. Today, I’ll share how to invest 500000 in Kenya for maximum gain.

You can invest Ksh 500000 in Kenya online through money market funds, REITs, company shares, SACCOs, or government securities. Alternatively, you can start a cooking gas, motorcycle spare parts, photography, bookshop, laundry, or phone accessory business.

So, you’ve two ways to go about it. If you want minimal involvement in the day-to-day operations, an online investment seems like a good idea. However, starting a business makes more sense if you want to be involved in day-to-day operations.

I’ll share all these approaches while giving relevant examples culminating in 11 brilliant investment ideas. Hopefully, you’ll find at least one investment idea you can try out in the country, earn a living, and eventually build wealth.

Let’s dive into it!

how to invest 500000 in kenya

In a rush? Below is an overview of the 11 best investment ideas in Kenya for someone with a Budget of Ksh 500K.

Quick Guide on How to Invest 500k in Kenya

Investment IdeaMinimum InvestmentPossible Return
1Money Market FundsKsh 10010-17% effective annual yield
2REITsKsh 1,000
3Company SharesKsh 25,000Ksh 0.5 – 1.0 per share
4SACCOsKsh 9,00018 – 21% dividend on share capital
5Government SecuritiesKsh 50,00011.45 – 19.496% yield (for 10-year government bonds)
6Cooking Gas BusinessKsh 50,000Ksh 350 – Ksh 500 Per 6Kg cylinder; Ksh 800 – Ksh 1,000 per 13Kg cylinder
7Motorcycle Spare Parts BusinessKsh 250,000Ksh 2,000 – Ksh 7,000 daily return
8Photography BusinessKsh 300,000Ksh 30,000 – Ksh 100,000 monthly return
9Bookshop BusinessKsh 300,00010 – 15% per book sale
10Laundry BusinessKsh 200,000Ksh 50,000 monthly
11Phone Accessories BusinessKsh 100,000Ksh 30,000 – Ksh 100,000 monthly

How to Invest 500000 In Kenya

As mentioned, you can invest Ksh 500000 online or start a business. Let’s break down the ideas to help you understand what to do.

Best Online Investment Ideas to Consider with 500000 in Kenya

Here’s how to invest 500000 in Kenya online:

1. Money Market Funds

Money market funds involve investing in short-term and low-risk profile securities like bank deposits, treasury bonds, treasury bills, fixed deposits, commercial papers, and commercial bonds. These funds typically have a higher yield rate than traditional savings accounts. And as I mentioned, they are low-risk.

Overall, you don’t need much to invest in money market funds in Kenya, as options like Mali, Etica, and Zimele funds allow you to start with an investment of Ksh 100. As for the yield rate, most of these options average an effective annual yield rate of 10 – 17%, which is quite impressive.

2. REITs (How to Invest 500k in Real Estate)

While it’s almost impossible to invest in physical real estate in Kenya with only 500K, it is more than enough to invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). REITs are companies that pool money from their members and invest it in lucrative real estate.

Most REITs in Kenya invest in rentals, shopping complexes, health centers, office buildings, and storage facilities.

Ideally, we’ve two types of REITs:

  • Income REITs (I-REITs) – which invest in rental income properties and a good example is Stanlib I-REIT
  • Development REITs (D-REITs) – which invest in land and other development projects such as the QWETU hostel project

The advantage of REITs is that they require a small investment. For example, an option like the Fahari I-REIT allows you to start with an investment as small as Ksh 1,000. That means you can buy a lot of units or shares with half a million, which means a better investment return.

3. Company Shares

Do you dream of owning a company, even as a minor shareholder? Then, invest in company shares. You can visit the NSE online platform to see which stocks are doing well. With company shares comes the opportunity to earn dividends and stock gains, which is passive income.

Overall, you don’t need much investment to buy shares in Kenya. For example, Safaricom shares require buying at least 500 units. The last time I checked, a unit cost Ksh 20, meaning the minimum share investment is Ksh 10,000.

In addition to that, you need to deposit a non-refundable registration fee of Ksh 10,000 and a monthly contribution of Ksh 3,000.

So, you can get started with around Ksh 25,000. But with a Budget of Ksh 500K, you can buy more shares, which you can sell and earn a return of about Ksh 0.5 – Ksh 1.0 per share.


SACCOs are another online investment vehicle to consider for passive income. They pay dividends and offer other advantages, such as loan access and investment opportunities. With SACCOs comes a saving culture and a higher return on investment.

Some of the best SACCOs in Kenya include Nyati Sacco, Magadi Sacco, Tower Sacco, Mombasa Port Sacco, and Biashara Sacco. In recent years, all these SACCOs have averaged a dividend on share capital rate of 18 – 21%, which is quite impressive.

5. Government Securities

Another way to earn passive income from online investments is to buy government securities. Government securities are loans that a government obtains from its people and pays back. So, you loan the government by investing in treasury bills and bonds in Kenya.

On the one hand, treasury bills are short-term investments (with a maturity profile of 3-12 months) where you pay a discount. Once the maturity arrives, you receive the total face value. The minimum investment is Ksh 100,000.

On the other hand, treasury bonds are mid-to-long-term investments (with a maturity profile of 1-30 years) that pay interest after every six months. The minimum investment is Ksh 50,000.

Regarding returns, 10-year government bonds have averaged a yield rate of 11.45 – 19.496% over the past few years (from July 31st, 2019, to March 18th, 2024). The rate as of the time of writing (May 6th, 2024) was 18.009%.

Best Business to Start with 500k in Kenya

Here are ideas for businesses to start with Ksh 500000 or less:

6. Cooking Gas Business

Most Kenyans nowadays use LPG gas for cooking, which means there’s an endless demand for cooking gas at home. With Ksh 500K, you can start a cooking gas business in your neighborhood or anywhere with a ready market.

The minimum investment for such a business is 50K, but you can always have more stock if you have 500 K. As for the profit margin, you can average Ksh 350—Ksh 500 per 6 kg gas cylinder and Ksh 800—Ksh 1,000 per 13 kg gas cylinder.

best business to start with 500k in Kenya

7. Motorcycle Spare Parts Business

With more motorcycles today than ever before comes the opportunity to run a successful motorcycle spare part business in Kenya. You can opt for the most popular motorcycle brands like Bajaj Boxer, Honda, TVS, and Captain.

You require a minimum investment of about Ksh 250K to start a motorcycle spare parts business in Kenya. Hence, 500K gives you more leverage to get more stock. The profit margin for this kind of business is about 2K – 7K per day.

8. Photography Business

The demand for photographers rises daily. There’s much to do, from events and weddings to wildlife and portrait photography. You can even do stock photography, earning commissions from photo downloads, and the income is passive.

A good photography business in Kenya will cost at least Ksh 250K if you factor in the rent, premise customization, license, permit, and supplies. Speaking of supplies, you need a quality camera, computer, photo printer, tripods, and lighting, among others.

With photography, you can make Ksh 30K – Ksh 100K a month.

9. Bookshop Business

Though Kenya is not a reading nation, there will always be a ready market for books, especially for school-going kids. Thus, you can use your Ksh 500k to start a bookshop business. The minimum investment for such a business is Ksh 300K, which means you can use the additional 200K for extra stock.

Earnings-wise, you can make 10-35% per book sale, which isn’t bad. The best part about a bookshop business is that you can also integrate other businesses such as photocopying and printing, MPESA, and Cyber.

10. Laundry Business

We all know about our local Mama Fua (in-home cleaners) and the typical laundromat (where we take our clothes for cleaning and ironing). But still, there’s a home laundromat where you pick up dirty clothes from clients, wash and iron them at home, and deliver them to the client.

You can decide to do any of these. In all cases, you don’t have to do the laundry. You can hire people, including Mama Fua, and buy the right supplies, including a washing machine and iron box. The 500K should be more than enough, as the minimum investment is about 200 K.

Generally, a profitable laundry business in Kenya has an estimated monthly return of Ksh 50K.

how to invest 500k in kenya

11. Phone Accessories Business

Now that most people can access mobile phones, they always look for accessories like phone chargers, earphones, phone cases, screen guards/protectors, flash drives, adapters, and USB/data cables.

Thus, you can start a phone accessories business in Kenya. The minimum investment for such a business is 100K, so you’ll still have some money left for more stock. As for the earnings, you can average 30K – 100K per month.

Concluding Thought On How to Invest 500000 In Kenya:

It generally takes one of the eleven discussed investment ideas to invest Ksh 500000 or less in Kenya and earn a good return. You can take on an online investment idea where you don’t have to do anything but just put your money into the idea but aren’t involved in the day-to-day decision-making.

On the other hand, you can start a business that will require your maximum attention in addition to your investment but gives you complete control of the day-to-day decision-making. Whatever you go for, ensure you fully understand the investment idea before putting your hard-earned money into it. After all, we are talking about half a million. Such an amount doesn’t come cheaply!

Written by Alex

Written by Alex

I have passion in helping people Make, Manage, Multiply & Protect Wealth.Download my Free Guide to Financial Freedom >>[ GET IT HERE]<<