1. Register the company
You can set up a partnership, sole proprietorship or limited company. However, you can also start a small outfit from home.
Linda Chuka, who runs a food business that today employs 22 people, says she started out baking cakes and breads from her house for friends and family.
“You don’t need to make it official immediately, especially if you can provide all the labour necessary. When work picks up, then set up a legal entity and get the licensing required,” she says.
You will need a business permit from the county you operate in. You will also need a food handling medical certificate, which ensures food handlers are free from disease, and is valid for six months. It costs Sh600. Your bakery outlet will also need a food hygiene certificate, valid for a year, and whose costs start at Sh300 and depend on the size of your establishment. You also need a Sh3,000 fire safety certificate, valid for a year.
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According to Alex Milenye, the director and CEO at Kijiji Cuisine, which runs a bakery and offers outside catering, you will need start-up capital of at least Sh100,000 to set up a small outlet. This will cater for the costs of supplies and simple machinery. Linda agrees with this, saying this is what she started her home bakery with. For a bigger outlet, Linday says, you need at least Sh700,000, with a commercial oven alone costing at least Sh400,000.
What you don’t need
1. A lot of space or sophisticated equipment
According to Hellena Mumbi, the CEO of Bakers Island which has outlets in Kasarani and Ngara in Nairobi, you don’t need a lot of space or commercial machinery to get started: “Just look for the simplest things to start, and then get everything else as you grow. The secret is just to start.”
2. Unique recipes
You don’t need to come up with products that are completely original.
“What you can do is jazz up the basics. Be creative with the ingredients that you mix together,” says Linda.
3. A client list
Start your business with family and friends, or bake a cake or bread for your church, a family function or even a charitable cause. The referrals will push your business, says Linda.