School isn’t a scam — even if some university sapa stories suggest otherwise. In fact, getting a degree is still one of the best ways to access international opportunities and break into financial freedom. But are there ways to make some cash while you’re studying?
The best business ideas for students in Nigeria include blogging, coaching, e-commerce, freelancing, modelling, tutoring and ushering. You can also explore beauty services, birthday gift curation, delivery and logistics services, digital product sales, interior decoration and thrifting.
In this article, we’ll explore nine of the most lucrative business ideas for students in Nigeria and find out just how you can start your own business. We’ll also share some practical tips for balancing your education and business. Let’s go!
9 lucrative business ideas for students in Nigeria
Let’s be honest: being in a Nigerian university is like training for a competitive sport — complete with early mornings, long study hours and a constant urge to nap for a week or two. It can be quite an expensive affair, so extra cash is always welcome.
The following is a list of 9 lucrative business ideas for students in Nigeria:
- Beauty services
- Birthday gift curation business
- Cleaning services
- Digital product sales
- Fruit, food and foodstuff business
- Personal shopping services
- POS business
They’re all great options and pretty profitable businesses if you do them right. Plus, these ideas are perfect for whatever student community you’re in — whether you live in a school hostel or off-campus.
1. Beauty services
Beauty services have always been a big hit on Nigerian campuses — from tailoring and hairdressing to barbing and even pedicure services. There are several options, and most only require you to have a skill and relatively cheap equipment.
The great thing about offering beauty services is that you can build a sustainable business out of it. After all, there’s always a market for those services.
Everyone is a potential customer. Who doesn’t want to look good in school?
2. Birthday gift curation business
Birthdays are synonymous with gifts, cakes and parties — especially in school. It’s why almost everyone you know is ecstatic about their birth months and birthdays. But do you know you can make a business out of birthdays?
Try gift curation!
A gift curation business might seem complicated, but it’s pretty easy. All you have to do is buy, arrange and deliver personalised and thoughtful gifts to your customers.
You can even put a personal spin on it by crafting the gifts yourself so it’s even more special.
3. Cleaning services
Starting a cleaning service might seem small, but it can be profitable. You can build a successful business by helping other students clean their hostels and apartments. This could include laundry services and doing the dishes.
Plus, it’s one of the cheapest businesses you can start in Nigeria.
All you need to get started are willing customers and cleaning materials — like bleach, soap and detergent. You might not even need cleaning supplies. Some customers might provide the necessary materials.
4. Digital product sales
The best thing about selling digital products like ebooks, courses and even digital art is that you can monetise the same product countless times. It’s a great business to start in a Nigerian university, and you can sell to a global audience — if you market your products well.
Fortunately, you don’t need too much to get started. Just create a digital product and sell it on a platform like Selar.
Online storefronts like PocketApp by PiggyVest have revolutionised internet-based transactions for the better. Today, you can easily set up your e-commerce store and sell anything you want — from clothes and study materials to accessories and food.
The great thing about starting an e-commerce store as a student is that you don’t need to worry about paying for a shop. This way, you can put more money into your business.
Freelancing is perfect if you have an in-demand skill — like writing or software development — and access to the tools you need to get the work done. It’s also very profitable and a great way to earn dollars as a student in Nigeria.
You can also use platforms like Fiverr and Upwork to find and connect with customers quickly.
7. Fruit, food and foodstuff business
Tosin Samuel might be a viral social media sensation today, but she started her food business as a student at Obafemi Awolowo University. You can make money by following her path.
A food delivery business in a university is a no-brainer: students will flock to your brand if your food and services are excellent.
You can also start an online food delivery business and channel the costs of having a physical restaurant or stall into your core offering.
8. Personal shopping services
Personal shopping is like e-commerce in many ways. In this business, you’ll assist customers with purchasing the items on their wish lists. This includes groceries, books and clothes.
You can become a personal shopper with little to no funds and make a lot of money if your services are dependable and top-notch.
9. POS business
Point of Sale (POS) businesses have flourished in Nigeria because they’re a convenient alternative to banks and ATMs. They’re another profitable venture you could explore as a student in Nigeria.
Fortunately, you can get started today with ₦20,000 (or less) and pay point devices from Patronize. These devices offer perks like instant automatic receipts and the ability to track payments on your device or via the web app.
How to start a business in Nigeria as a student
Surviving a Nigerian university is (mostly) easy — study as hard as possible, make the most of the ASUU strikes and try your best not to cry publicly. Well, that last part might be tricky if you’re studying engineering, but it isn’t impossible! Luckily, starting a school business isn’t quite as hard.
Here’s how to start a business in Nigeria as a student:
- Come up with an excellent business idea. You can start with any of the examples we’ve provided in this article. Just ensure it’s an idea that matches your skills, interest and local market.
- Create a detailed business plan. You can use tools like Google Workspace (or even a piece of paper), but ensure you highlight your business goals, target market and everything your business needs. This step is small but crucial and includes picking a business name and developing an effective business strategy.
- Register your business with Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). This step is a legal formality but can help solidify your business offering and improve your trustworthiness with customers. You can also obtain any licenses, permits, or certifications required for your business.
- Find funding for your business. Calculate how much money you’ll need to launch and operate your student business. You can save up from your allowance — as Ore Akinde did for her crochet business — or try other options (like loans and student programs).
- Find a location for your business. You might not always need a physical location (especially for online businesses like blogging and e-commerce). However, ensure it’s a suitable and affordable space if your hostel or apartment doesn’t work for you.
- Set up your business. This step depends on your offering but can include getting the necessary equipment, materials and goods to start.
- Market your business. We recommend embracing word-of-mouth marketing and creating an online presence via social media or a website. The internet is a cheap and easy way to reach a large audience and sell the value of your business.
- Launch your business. You can launch online or put a spin on it by hosting a launch event, offering promotions and engaging in activities that create buzz around your business. Remember to keep promoting your business as well.
- Track your business growth and manage your finances. Your business is a money-making scheme, so ensure you work hard to make it as profitable as possible. You should also save and re-invest in your business to maximise your profits.
That’s all there is to it!
Putting money aside is easy if you use a safe and secure savings and investment platform like PiggyVest. It offers you six excellent ways to save and invest money — in naira as well as dollars. It also provides helpful functions like automating your savings.
Tips for running your business as a student in Nigeria
Running any business is challenging — but it’s especially tasking if you’re a student at a Nigerian university. Fortunately, you can always leverage the experience and ideas of other entrepreneurs to succeed. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some excellent tips you can try.
Here are some handy tips to follow if you’re running a business as a student in Nigeria:
- Manage your time effectively so your business doesn’t affect your education.
- Set realistic and achievable goals for your business.
- Save and invest your profits using safe and secure platforms like PiggyVest.
- Bring in dependable coworkers or partners.
- Communicate clearly with your team members, suppliers and clients.
- Use digital tools like email, social media, ChatGPT and messaging apps to bolster your business.
- Prioritise self-care by scheduling regular breaks, getting enough sleep, exercising and engaging in activities that help you relax and recharge.
- Stay away from illegal businesses or business strategies.
- Connect with business organisations, mentors and other entrepreneurs offering advice, support and insightful information.
- Reduce your workload or adjust business hours during exams or heavy study weeks.
- Go for business ideas that can improve your CV and help your community.
Now, you’re good!
The businesses in this article might seem less glamorous than landing international undergraduate internships. However, they’ll help you make more than enough money to buy the handouts and study materials you need to ace school. And who knows? You might have a promising career or flourishing business before you graduate.
The articles on the PiggyVest Blog are developed by seasoned writers who use original sources like authoritative websites, news articles and academic journals to perform in-depth research. An experienced editor fact-checks every piece before it is published to ensure you are always reading accurate, up-to-date and balanced content.
- Investopedia: What Is a POS System and How Does It Work?
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