Did you know that over 82% of Kenyans living in urban centres use charcoal fuel to cook? Or that Nairobi residents consume over 700 tonnes of charcoal per day?

According to ICRAF, over 88 tonnes of charcoal dust is produced in Nairobi alone every day…and guess where all this waste ends up?

Some is dumped in the drainage pipes where it ends up blocking sewerage systems. Some is simply left by the roadside in nylon sacks in the middle of the night when no one is watching. But did you know that this disgusting waste can actually make you a millionaire? Well, if you are looking for a business idea that makes both economic and social sense then you might want to start converting this waste into briquettes.

Generally, the business of briquettes is performing quite well nowadays as many restaurants and institutions are looking for new ways to save on cost. And this craze is not just a “Nairobi thing”, you can actually take up this idea and replicate it in Kigali (Rwanda) or Juba (South Sudan) where the market is still green and competition is low.

Does this sound like something you would like to try? If Yes, then read carefully through the next steps.

*Step One: Understand What This Business Is All About*

It does not make sense to start a business you know nothing about. So it is important to understand what briquettes are, what they look like and why the market needs them. To put it simply, briquettes are blocks that are made from combustible biomass such as charcoal dust, sawdust, rice husks or paper used for cooking in a jiko.

The main benefit of briquettes is that they don’t produce smoke and are cheaper than other sources of energy. For instance, if you spend Ksh.2,000 on charcoal per month you can spend about Ksh.1,000 on briquettes and save the extra Ksh.1,000…while protecting our environment at the same time.

In a nutshell, this business is all about making good use of waste items which are in abundant supply in our urban centres. And by doing that, you get to conserve the environment and make a decent living from small amounts of capital.

*Step Two: Get Trained How To Make Briquettes*

Link up with a trainer near you and learn how to make briquettes. Most of the time, training is offered free of charge by NGOs and briquette machine suppliers. Through my research I was able to identify organizations that can train you and even supply you with a machine so that you can get started.

*Briquettes Machine Kenya – Located in Kiserian

*Lean Solutions Limited – Located in Nairobi.

*Kencoco Limited – Located in Mombasa.

*Practical Action NGO – Located in Nairobi, Nakuru, Kajiado, Kisumu, Mandera Turkana

*FRB Kenya (NGO) – Located in Limuru Area

In addition, you can use Google or Facebook groups to spot trainers near you.

*Step Three: Get Started*

Just like that – you are ready to start your own briquette-making plant. One good thing about it is that you can even start on the veranda of your house to save on cost. Note that you don’t need a license to start this kind of business except if you are starting an outlet where you will be required to pay for the county single business permit.

*How Much To Invest*

*Option 1*

Start with a manual machine with a capacity of producing 3 sacks of briquettes per day.

*Cost of Machine – Ksh.20,000

*Miscellaneous – Ksh.5,000

TOTAL BUDGET – Ksh.25,000

*Option 2*

Start with an electric machine with a capacity of producing 20 sacks of briquettes per day

*Cost of Machine – Ksh.150,000

*Miscellaneous – Ksh.10,000

TOTAL BUDGET – Ksh.150,000

It costs roughly about Ksh.300 to produce 1 bag of briquettes. So depending on your financial strength and market-base you can choose to go for the option that suits you best.

You can inquire from Kafum Engineering Services (0727131184) on availability of electric briquette making machines here in Kenya.
*How Much Profit*

A bag of briquettes goes for Ksh.1,000 and above on the marketplaces. Particularly, hotels, restaurants and schools tend to buy in bulk hence offering wider fortunes for you. Your profit margin will depend on production and sales capacity.

*Option 1*

Using a manual machine you can make about Ksh.2,000 per day or Ksh.50,000 per month.

*Option 2*

Using an electric machine you can make about Ksh.10,000 per day or Ksh.250,000 per month.

*Final Word*

You can do this alone or as a chama. In fact, it does not matter how small you start. What really counts is your ability to nurture the business and market to the right clientele.

As the world seeks to minimize on pollution and wastage, and as our tree cover diminishes by the minute, the future is bright for anyone who choose to engage in briquettes business.


Justine Nyachieo
Business Man & Mentor

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