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Kenyan Business changing due to COVID 19 Challenges

As we pick up the pieces from the devastation left in the wake of COVID 19, our lives are changing. Very much like changing our social behavior and personal traits, we are forced to adjust to the changing business landscape. Some previously lucrative ventures have lost their allure. However, as in all entrepreneurial opportunities, new niches are opening up. Here are some of the big winners and losers along with expect cost ranges.


An employee of the matatu bus station sanitizes the hands of a passenger, before he can get in a small matatu bus.

The transport sectors has been among the hardest hit. Most Kenyans rely on public to get from place to place. It is understandable that the ministry came up with various regulations to keep citizens safe. The unfortunate consequences however have been increased operational costs. The reduction in the number of passengers and need for social distancing place stress on overhead costs. This added comfort is likely to be of benefit to consumers but at a markedly higher cost. Whereas the fares were twenty shillings from one point another, standard fares might now range from a minimum of fifty to as high as two hundred shilling in some areas. What remains to be seen is how this changes will shake up when normalcy returns. Also in question is how long Kenyans will last before falling back to old habits and routines.


The food and beverage business seemed to be among the best to dip ones fingers into. The profits and notable effort to get clients through the doors was commendable. Even more so was the effort to continuously serve delicacies that would have you visiting time and again. Thanks to COVID 19 however, the spaces have turned into blackholes for rental money. Not many clients are as eager to eat out as they did before. This is exacerbated by the crackdown on alcoholic beverages after several people were caught flouting the safe regulations. Prolonged closures in some cases and stringent regulations have led to laying off of staff, and release of leases on rental spaces.

For a select few, delivery services have been the life line keeping them afloat. Many of the catering companies have turned to baking and minor deliveries as fear continues to persist. A few others have turned to Youtube to equip interested clients to prepare meals in the safety of their homes. It is a smart way to keep prospective clients engaged and eager to eat with when normalcy is expected.


At the peak of the vacation faze, being a hotelier looked very enticing. However COVID mathematics has ruined the idea of spending a night at a hotel literally and figuratively. It hurts the industry further that tourism has hit a dead stop. The simple tragedy that we rely heavily on western tourism, which will remain largely non-existent until our numbers flatten of dip is thickly written. Most high-end hotels have laid off staff, and are staring at bankruptcy should this untenable situation drag on.

To survive, many are turning their eyes to local tourist with the hope that they will stay afloat. Some have set up interesting packages already while a number of others are under review. Should you be bold enough a trip to voyager in coast should be friendlier than usual, if their review is complete. (P.S.  I said nothing)


This is a sector that I believe has suffered the most as a result of COVID 19.  Businesses and business people that rely on second hand goods make the bulk of medium and small scale retailers. Unfortunately, the fear surrounding COVID and how long it lingers on materials and surfaces demands caution. The shockwaves hitting this sector are felt deep and far. It’s hard to etch a living with no good to trade.

That said, the increase uptake of the vaccine, and relaxation of COVID 19 restrictions points to a return to normalcy. However that return for most business, will be a lond ardous walk.

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