Top 15 Best Small Business Ideas in Kerala for 2024: Profitable Ventures in God's Own Country

Sivaram Gadiraju
Founder, CEO
April 20, 2024

Looking to embark on your entrepreneurial journey in Kerala? Interested in discovering promising small business ideas for the region? You’re in the right place!

Kerala, known for its natural beauty and vibrant culture, offers a diverse range of opportunities for aspiring business owners. Whether you’re considering tourism-related ventures, agricultural innovations, or eco-friendly initiatives, this state has a wealth of possibilities.

But before we delve into the ideal business ideas for Kerala, let’s explore why these specific ventures are thriving in this picturesque state.

Kerala, often referred to as “God’s Own Country,” boasts lush landscapes and a flourishing tourism industry. Its commitment to sustainable practices, along with a growing interest in organic farming and unique local products, has created a fertile ground for entrepreneurial success.

Stay tuned as we uncover the most profitable and promising small business models tailor-made for Kerala’s unique environment and culture.

What makes Kerala an excellent business location?

Kerala business ideas

Several factors make Kerala an attractive destination for businesses:

Favorable Business Environment:

  • High Literacy Rate: Kerala boasts the highest literacy rate in India (96.2%), indicating a readily available skilled workforce.
  • Ease of Doing Business: Kerala ranks among the top states in India for ease of doing business, with simplified regulations and efficient administrative procedures.
  • Stable Political Environment: Kerala enjoys a stable political climate, fostering long-term business confidence and investor interest.
  • Strong Infrastructure: The state has a well-developed infrastructure network, including modern transportation links, reliable power supply, and high-speed internet connectivity.

Thriving Economy:

  • Growing Economy: Kerala has a robust and diversified economy, with a GDP growth rate exceeding the national average.
  • Emerging Industries: The state is witnessing significant growth in key sectors like IT, tourism, healthcare, and biotechnology, offering lucrative opportunities for businesses.
  • Startup Ecosystem: Kerala has a burgeoning startup ecosystem, encouraged by government initiatives and a supportive environment for entrepreneurs.
  • Infrastructure: Kerala has excellent infrastructure, including the Cochin Port Trust setting up port-based SEZs in Puthuvypeen and Vallarpadam, and the state-of-the-art Cochin International Airport.

High Quality of Life:

  • Social Development: Kerala ranks high on social development indicators like healthcare, education, and gender equality, creating a healthy and productive workforce.
  • Low Crime Rate: The state enjoys a low crime rate, providing a safe and secure environment for businesses and their employees.
  • Natural Beauty: Kerala’s stunning natural beauty, including beaches, hills, and backwaters, attracts tourists and creates a positive image for businesses.

Examples of Companies Thriving in Kerala:

  • UST Global: A leading IT services company with a global presence and a major development center in Kochi, Kerala.
  • Muthoot Finance: One of India’s largest gold loan companies, headquartered in Kerala and expanding rapidly.
  • Leela Group: A renowned hospitality chain with several luxury resorts in Kerala, attracting tourists and contributing to the state’s economy.
  • Kerala Ayurveda: A leading provider of Ayurvedic treatments and products, showcasing the state’s expertise in traditional healthcare.
  • Malabar Gold & Diamonds: A popular jewelry retailer with roots in Kerala and a significant global presence.


  • Kerala’s GDP: The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Kerala for 2022-23 is projected to be ₹9,99,643 crore (US$131.98 billion).
  • Kerala’s GDP growth rate: The growth rate for 2022-23 is projected to be 10.8%.
  • Kerala’s unemployment rate: The unemployment rate in Kerala was 6.72% in March 2023.
  • FDI inflow into Kerala: I couldn’t find the exact FDI inflow into Kerala for 2021-22.
  • Number of startups in Kerala: As of 2023, Kerala has around 4,100+ startups.

Government support:

The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) aims to convert Kerala into a preferred agro processing, health services, knowledge-based industries, and services hub. The state government is also focusing on improving the Ease of Doing Business ranking.

Top 15+ Small Business Ideas in Kerala with High Profit Potential

Here are some small business ideas in Kerala with low investment and high potential for profitability:

1. Agarbatti Making:

Agarbatti making is a small business idea with low investment and high potential for profitability. Incense sticks, also known as agarbattis, are used in almost every household in India, making this a lucrative business opportunity.

The demand for agarbattis is high, especially during religious festivals and ceremonies. To start an agarbatti making business, you will need raw materials such as bamboo sticks, charcoal, aromatic oils, and perfumes.

The manufacturing process involves dipping the bamboo sticks into a mixture of fragrant oils and perfumes, which are then dried and packaged for sale.

Marketing and distribution can be done through local retailers, wholesalers, or online platforms.

2. Clothing Boutique:

Starting a small clothing boutique can be a profitable venture in Kerala. With a unique collection of clothing and a well-designed store, you can attract customers who are looking for trendy and fashionable clothing options.

It is important to conduct market research to identify the target audience and their preferences. You can source clothing from local designers, manufacturers, or wholesalers.

Creating an online presence through social media platforms and e-commerce websites can also help reach a wider customer base.

Providing personalized customer service and maintaining a good inventory management system are key factors for success in this business.

3. Interior Designing:

As India’s real estate market continues to grow, the demand for interior designers is on the rise. Starting an interior designing business in Kerala can be a profitable venture.

To succeed in this field, you need to have a creative eye, a good understanding of design principles, and the ability to work within a budget.

Offering services such as space planning, color consultation, furniture selection, and decor styling can help attract clients.

Building a portfolio of your work and networking with architects, builders, and real estate developers can also help in getting projects.

It is important to stay updated with the latest design trends and technologies to provide innovative solutions to clients.

4. Affiliate Marketing:

Affiliate marketing is a type of marketing where you earn a commission for promoting and selling products or services.

It is a low-investment business idea that can be done online. To start an affiliate marketing business, you need to choose a niche or industry that you are interested in and have knowledge about.

You can then join affiliate programs of companies that offer products or services related to your chosen niche.

By promoting these products or services through your website, blog, or social media channels, you can earn a commission for each sale or lead generated through your affiliate links.

It is important to build a strong online presence and create valuable content to attract and engage your target audience.

5. Candle Making:

Candle making is another small business idea with low investment and high potential for profitability. Scented candles are in high demand for various occasions such as weddings, birthdays, and restaurants.

To start a candle making business, you will need raw materials such as wax, wicks, fragrance oils, and molds.

The manufacturing process involves melting the wax, adding fragrance oils, pouring the mixture into molds, and allowing it to cool and solidify.

You can create unique candle designs and scents to differentiate your products in the market. Marketing and distribution can be done through local retailers, online platforms, or direct sales to customers.

6. Event Management:

Event management is a growing industry, and people are increasingly looking for professional event planning services for various occasions such as weddings, corporate events, and parties.

Starting an event management business in Kerala can be a profitable venture. To succeed in this field, you need to have excellent organizational and communication skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work under pressure.

Offering services such as venue selection, event planning, decoration, catering, and entertainment can help attract clients.

Building a network of vendors and suppliers and maintaining good relationships with them is crucial for the smooth execution of events.

Creating a portfolio of successful events and leveraging social media platforms for marketing can also help in attracting clients.

7. Grocery Store:

Starting a grocery store, especially a digital grocery store, can be a profitable business opportunity in Kerala. With the ongoing pandemic, people are increasingly opting for online shopping for their daily essentials.

To start a digital grocery store, you will need to create an e-commerce website or partner with existing online platforms. It is important to have a wide range of products, competitive pricing, and efficient delivery systems to attract and retain customers.

Building a strong online presence through social media marketing and providing excellent customer service are key factors for success in this business.

Obtaining the necessary licenses and registrations, as well as ensuring compliance with food safety regulations, is essential for running a grocery store.

Read More: Start a Successful Online Grocery Store: How-to Guide

8. Real Estate:

Operating in the real estate industry can be a profitable business in Kerala. However, it requires relevant experience and a governmental license.

Real estate businesses can involve buying, selling, renting, or developing properties. To succeed in this field, you need to have a good understanding of the local real estate market, property valuation, legal procedures, and customer preferences.

Building a network of clients, real estate agents, and developers can help in finding potential buyers or sellers. It is important to stay updated with the latest market trends and regulations to provide valuable advice to clients.

9. Spice Farming:

Kerala is known for its spice production, making spice farming a viable business opportunity. Spices such as pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves are in high demand in the domestic and international markets.

To start a spice farming business, you need to acquire suitable land, preferably in areas suitable for spice cultivation. It is important to have knowledge of cultivation techniques, soil management, pest control, and harvesting methods specific to each spice crop.

Building relationships with spice traders, exporters, and wholesalers can help in marketing and selling your produce. Proper storage and packaging of spices are essential to maintain their quality and maximize profitability.

10. Spice Trading:

Trading spices can be a profitable business in Kerala, given the state’s reputation as a major spice producer. To start a spice trading business, you need to establish contacts with spice farmers, wholesalers, and exporters.

It is important to have knowledge of different spice varieties, their quality parameters, and market trends. Building a network of buyers and sellers, both domestically and internationally, can help in sourcing and selling spices.

Proper storage and packaging of spices are crucial to maintain their quality and meet market standards. Marketing and distribution can be done through local markets, spice auctions, or online platforms.

11. Banana Chips:

Banana chips are a popular snack in Kerala and can be started as a small business with low investment. To start a banana chips business, you will need raw materials such as raw bananas, cooking oil, and spices for flavoring.

The manufacturing process involves slicing the bananas, frying them in oil, and seasoning them with spices. Packaging and branding are important aspects to attract customers.

Marketing and distribution can be done through local retailers, supermarkets, or online platforms. It is important to maintain quality standards and ensure proper hygiene during the manufacturing process.

12. Handicrafts:

Handicrafts are in demand and can be started as a small business with minimal investment. Kerala has a rich tradition of handicrafts, including wood carvings, coir products, pottery, and traditional artwork.

To start a handicrafts business, you need to have skills in a specific craft or collaborate with local artisans. Creating unique and high-quality products can help differentiate your business in the market.

Marketing and distribution can be done through local handicraft stores, exhibitions, or online platforms. Building a network of customers, interior designers, and gift shops can help in selling your products.

Read More: 50+ Top Business ideas for women Entrepreneurs at Home

13. Tea Production:

Kerala is a major tea-producing state in India, making tea production a viable business opportunity. To start a tea production business, you need to acquire suitable land for tea cultivation and obtain the necessary licenses and registrations.

It is important to have knowledge of tea cultivation techniques, processing methods, and quality standards. Building relationships with tea buyers, wholesalers, and exporters can help in marketing and selling your tea.

Proper packaging and branding are crucial to attract customers. Marketing and distribution can be done through local markets, tea auctions, or online platforms.

14. Eco-friendly Products:

With growing environmental consciousness, businesses focusing on eco-friendly products are in high demand. Starting a business that offers eco-friendly products such as reusable bags, organic skincare products, biodegradable packaging, or sustainable clothing can be a profitable venture.

To succeed in this field, it is important to have a deep understanding of eco-friendly materials, manufacturing processes, and consumer preferences. Building a strong brand identity and marketing your products as environmentally friendly can help attract customers.

Online platforms, eco-friendly stores, and collaborations with like-minded businesses can be effective distribution channels.

15. Coconut-based Products:

Kerala is known for its coconut production, making coconut-based products a profitable business opportunity. Coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour, and coconut-based snacks are in high demand.

To start a coconut-based products business, you need to source coconuts from local farmers or wholesalers. Depending on the product, you may need additional raw materials and equipment for processing.

Marketing and distribution can be done through local retailers, supermarkets, or online platforms. Creating a strong brand identity and highlighting the health benefits of coconut-based products can help attract customers.

16. Pet Care Services:

As more people own pets, pet care services are in high demand. Starting a pet care services business in Kerala can be a profitable venture. Services such as pet grooming, pet sitting, dog walking, and pet training are sought after by pet owners.

To succeed in this field, it is important to have a genuine love for animals and knowledge of pet care techniques. Building a network of veterinarians, pet supply stores, and pet owners can help in getting clients.

Providing excellent customer service and ensuring the well-being of pets are key factors for success in this business. Creating a strong online presence through social media platforms and word-of-mouth referrals can help in reach a lot.

How To Start a Business In Kerala?

Starting a Business in Kerala: A Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to start a business in Kerala:

1. Define Your Business Idea:

  • Identify a gap in the market: Research the local market to identify underserved needs or opportunities.
  • Consider your skills and interests: Choose a business idea that aligns with your expertise and passion.
  • Evaluate the feasibility: Analyze the market demand, competition, and financial viability of your idea.

2. Choose a Business Structure:

  • Sole Proprietorship: Simplest structure, but unlimited liability.
  • Partnership: Suitable for multiple owners, but shared responsibility.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): Provides limited liability and flexibility.
  • One Person Company (OPC): Ideal for single entrepreneurs with limited liability.

3. Register Your Business:

  • Obtain a PAN Card and TAN Number: Mandatory for tax purposes.
  • Register for GST: Depending on your business turnover.
  • Get a Trade License: Required from the local municipal corporation.
  • Open a Business Bank Account: Separate business finances from personal funds.
  • Register with Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM): If your business is a startup.

4. Develop a Business Plan:

  • Outline your business goals and strategies.
  • Define your target market and competitive landscape.
  • Project your financial forecasts and funding requirements.
  • Develop a marketing and sales plan.

5. Secure Funding:

  • Personal savings or investments.
  • Loans from banks or financial institutions.
  • Government grants or subsidies.
  • Angel investors or venture capitalists.

6. Set Up Your Business Operations:

  • Lease or purchase a suitable location.
  • Hire and train employees.
  • Acquire necessary equipment and resources.
  • Implement your marketing and sales plan.
  • Maintain proper financial records.

7. Comply with Legal Requirements:

  • Obtain necessary licenses and permits.
  • Maintain proper legal and regulatory compliance.
  • File regular tax returns.

Additional Resources:

Tips for success:

  • Network with other entrepreneurs and business professionals.
  • Seek mentorship from experienced individuals.
  • Stay updated on industry trends and regulations.
  • Adapt and evolve your business strategy based on market changes.
  • Build a strong brand reputation and customer loyalty.

Remember, starting a business requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. However, with careful planning, execution, and the right support, you can successfully launch and grow your business in Kerala.

Kerala govt schemes for new businesses

The Kerala government has introduced several schemes to support new businesses. Here are some of them:

1. Soft Loan Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs: This scheme is introduced by the Kerala Startup Mission to support all potential women entrepreneurs in the state.

2. International Exchange Program: The Kerala government encourages its state’s startups to participate in various programs that take place worldwide.

3. Support to The Rural Innovators: This scheme is designed to support innovators in rural areas.

4. Marketing Support Scheme: This scheme provides marketing support to startups.

5. Entrepreneur Support Scheme (ESS): ESS is operated by the Directorate of Industries and Commerce. The scheme aims to provide financial assistance to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises engaged in manufacturing activities in the State, proportional to the capital investment made.

6. Seed Fund for Women Entrepreneurs: This scheme provides seed funding for women entrepreneurs.

7. Innovation Grant Funding Scheme: This scheme provides funding for innovative projects.

8. Rent Subsidy: This scheme provides rent subsidies for startups.

9. Startup Communities Development and Partnership Programmes: This scheme supports the development of startup communities and partnership programmes.

10. R & D Grant Funding Scheme: This scheme provides grants for research and development.

11. Patent Reimbursement Funding Scheme: This scheme provides reimbursement for patent filing costs.

These schemes are designed to provide financial and non-financial support to startups and entrepreneurs in Kerala. For more details, you can visit the official websites of the Kerala Startup Mission and the Directorate of Industries and Commerce.

FAQ’S On Online Business Ideas in Kerala

1. What are some small business ideas in Kerala for ladies?

In Kerala, there are several small business opportunities suitable for women:

  • Homemade Food Business: Starting a small-scale catering or home-cooked meal delivery service can be profitable.

  • Handicrafts and Handmade Products: Crafting and selling handmade items like jewelry, candles, or clothing can be a creative and lucrative venture.

  • Beauty Services: Opening a beauty salon or offering services like bridal makeup and mehndi art can be a successful business.

  • Online Reselling: Launch an online store selling fashion accessories, clothing, or home decor products through platforms like Instagram or Facebook.

  • Tuition Center: If you have expertise in a particular subject or skill, consider starting a tuition center or offering online tutoring.

2. What are zero investment business ideas in Kerala?

For those looking to start a business in Kerala with minimal or zero investment, consider the following options:

  • Freelancing: Offer services like content writing, graphic design, or digital marketing from the comfort of your home.

  • Dropshipping: Create an online store and partner with suppliers who handle product storage and shipping.

  • Blogging/Vlogging: Start a blog or YouTube channel on a topic you’re passionate about and monetize it through ads and affiliate marketing.

  • Homemade Crafts: Utilize your crafting skills to create and sell handmade crafts online.

  • Consulting Services: Offer consulting services in your area of expertise, such as career counseling, financial planning, or business advisory.

3. What are the best businesses to start in Kerala with 10 lakhs?

With a budget of 10 lakhs, you can consider these promising business options in Kerala:

  • Restaurant/Cafe: Open a small eatery serving local or niche cuisine.

  • Medical Store/Pharmacy: Invest in a pharmacy or medical supply store.

  • Organic Farming: Start an organic farming venture, focusing on high-demand crops or products.

  • Tourism-Related Business: Invest in a homestay, travel agency, or tour package services.

  • Online Retail: Launch an e-commerce store selling niche products with a well-planned marketing strategy.

4. Is Kerala a good place to invest?

Yes, Kerala can be a favorable place for investments for several reasons:

  • Education and Skilled Workforce: Kerala has a highly literate and skilled workforce, making it suitable for knowledge-based industries.

  • Tourism Potential: The state’s natural beauty and tourism sector offer investment opportunities in hospitality and related services.

  • Growing IT Sector: Kerala is emerging as an IT and startup hub, attracting technology-driven businesses.

  • Sustainability Focus: The state emphasizes sustainability, which can be beneficial for eco-friendly and renewable energy ventures.

  • Government Support: Kerala offers various incentives and support for investors through policies like the Kerala Investment Promotion and Facilitation Act.

However, like any investment, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research and seek professional advice before making any financial commitments in Kerala.

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