Startups in Kenya - All you need to know

Startups are new in the business industries, with specific business ideas from entrepreneurs meant to unleash them for the public to grow in the market.

What are start ups?

Kenya has become the home of many attractive tourist sites and, apart from that, has managed to challenge the economic growth rate with new and upcoming start up companies. Many of its citizens have found ways to live by their own means by coming up with different unique business ideas. 

In this article, we focus on start ups and all you need to know about them as follows;

  • What are start ups?
  • Funding for start ups in Kenya
  • Top start ups in Kenya
  • Taxes for start ups in Kenya
  • How to register a KRA PIN for start up companies
  • Types of statutory taxes you need to know for startup companies
  • Conclusion

Startups are new in the business industries, with specific business ideas from entrepreneurs meant to unleash them for the public to grow in the market. Most of the time, having a start up company proves to be challenging since it's a new business on the block. As an entrepreneur, you are looking for all means possible to make your business work. This should be your main goal always.

Start ups have managed to grow drastically based on the feedback and reviews they get from their customers and prospects. They work hard to improve on their products and services to get them to sell and grow rapidly.

Funding for start ups in Kenya

There are many funding options for entrepreneurs looking to start their unique businesses. From borrowing a loan from the bank to fundraising, entrepreneurs have managed to build and come up with their self made companies that are functional.

These are types of startups funding as follows;

  1. Seed funding for start ups in Kenya

These are monetary funds given to start ups companies by private investors, also known as angel investors. Mostly they are given in exchange for equity, and the investors can own the shares that come from the profit the business receives. 

  1. Crowdfunding

If you want to start your own business and looking for ways to fund, try crowdfunding. You can open a website and get people to sponsor you, from family members to investors who know and are interested in what you have to offer.

  1. Grants for a startup in Kenya

You can get the government to fund your new business idea for a great start. You can get government grants online that you can apply for your business. With the grants awarded to you, you will be able to get financial support and be set to start your business.

  1. Venture capital

If you are an entrepreneur looking to boost your start business and you have no way of getting money or saving it, you can try venture capital. These are investors' funding mainly focused on making new businesses grow through financial investment. Mostly the investors want to place their investments in potential start ups that can grow. 

Start up business loans in Kenya

If you are looking for a quick way to fund your business, then going for a business loan would be the best option to get. You can start your search online for business loans in Kenya, as there are many that you can try out.

Top start ups in Kenya

There are so many start ups in Kenya and with us are the few that are performing well as follows;


MYDAWA is among the health start ups in Kenya that enables its customer to be served with high-quality products, from medicines to diapers, among other health related products. It's an authentic platform with legit products that every people gets to consume, and they get to sell this product through partnering with other companies such as healthcare.

  • Afriagrimark

This agritech startup in Kenya aims to offer, through partnering with farmers, vendors, and suppliers, good quality products to sell to people. Afriagrimark leans towards solving challenges farmers and market vendors get to experience in the modern market world. They benefit suppliers and farmers with the requirements they need to do their businesses.

  •   Churpy

Churpy is a fintech startup in Kenya that aims at offering integrated receivables management products and services. They also deal with payment collections for businesses and invoice market payment systems for their customers.

  • Farmula

Farmula is an agtech and web development start up that is B2B oriented, intending to help farmers sell their products to other farmers, and it assists them with the pricing management for the products they are selling.

Taxes for start ups in Kenya

A tax is a compulsory contribution charged to individuals by the KRA as required by the law. Does your startup company have a certificate from Kra that permits you to operate it? If it does, you must have gone through different types of taxes to know which would be best for your startup company.  

How to register a KRA PIN for startup companies

Registering your startup company for taxation purposes would be better if you own a KRA PIN. Below is the step by step guides on what you are required to do;

  1. Visit the Kra portal online and input your pin and password to access the platform.
  2. Click on "New Pin Registration" to get you going.
  3. Fill in the required form with relevant information per the form's requirements.
  4. Enter information for your business/company's manager.
  5. Fill in the mathematical equation asked, then click submit.

You will receive an online notification receipt acknowledging that you have completed your application successfully. After going through this process, you will instantly receive a pin.

Types of statutory taxes you need to know for startup companies

You can consider having different taxes you need for your business, which will allow you to get on normal operations in your company. Let's examine what these taxes are and how they function.

  1. PAYE

As an employer managing a startup company, you must deduct a certain amount of your employees' salaries and submit it to the KRA portal. You can calculate these deductions with the help of a PAYE calculator that will ease your work while at it. Deductions of your employee's salary should be made before the 9th of the following month. Failure to align with the KRA laws on taxes will attract penalty charges of 25% of the tax due. PAYE applies only to companies with employees earning a basic salary of Kshs 24,000 and above.

What are some of the incomes you will not be charged for PAYE?

  • Medical coverage made by your employer.
  • pension contributions made by the employer
  • Education fees of the employees' dependents will be paid from their income which the employer would have already taxed.
  •  Meals provided by the employer.

Examples of an allowance one can get deducted from their salary include;

  • Pension contributions made by an employee to a registered pension fund will be deducted a certain amount.

Are NHIF and NSSF mandatory when it comes to PAYE?

NHIF and National Social Security Fund (NSSF) are under insurance relief and must be deducted by the employer and sent to KRA. It's a 15% relief for employees who want premium insurance such as medical or education policies. They both take a period of 10 years for them to mature. Medical contributions made as of 1st January 2022 to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) will qualify for insurance relief.

  1. Corporate tax

These are taxes filed by companies to KRA, 30% for resident company owned and 37.5% for non-residents. For their incomes, corporate taxes are implied on companies such as limited( LTD)and co-operatives yearly.  

Who is exempted from filing for corporate taxes? 

  •  If you are self-employed or involved in a sole proprietorship, you will not be subjected to paying these taxes, as the annual income tax already covers you.
  • Partnerships do not pay corporate taxes since their income is declared through partnership returns.
  1. Excise duties

You will be charged with this tax if you have goods manufactured in the country or import them from other countries. Excise duties are managed under two law bodies; the Excise Duty Act 2015 for imported goods and the Custom and Excise Act CAP 472 laws of Kenya. Some of these goods that can be imported include mineral water, soft drinks, and opaque beer, among many more. 

  1. Value Added Tax (VAT)

VAT is a tax charged on goods and services made in Kenya. It has its limitation if you want to register your startup company given that the yearly revenue exceeds Kshs 5M. 


We have so many start ups in Kenya, and with all of them being available, many have gotten a job offer. Entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for being among the best performing start ups the country needs. 

From agtechs to tech start up in Kenya, start up businesses have become the center of attention with the best products and services offered to their customers. Always aim at having a successful start up in Kenya, as everything is achievable with the right effort in mind.

As an entrepreneur, you should consider registering your start up as it is a crucial step to put in place for legalizing your businesses. Set time aside for registering your startup company through the e-citizen portal with the relevant documents provided.

Last updated
April 18, 2023
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