21 Best Small Business Ideas in Kolkata
The capital of West Bengal, Kolkata is a metropolitan city that has become a commercial and business hub of Eastern India. Its huge population and diverse ethnicity have made it a prospective market for most businesses. Moreover, it offers several booming business opportunities due to its great connectivity through land, water and air.
Thus, read along to get a comprehensive idea of multiple small business ideas in Kolkata that are trending and have the potential to grow with minimal support.
List of Small Business Ideas in Kolkata
Here is a list of several top-notch small-scale business ideas, you can opt for:
1. Makeup Artist
The profession of makeup artists or MUA has become a respectable and prospective career opportunity in Kolkata. If you love doing makeup, then this business can introduce you to unparalleled satisfaction alongside a great career. You can begin with party makeup, bridal makeup, modelling makeup, etc. with a certificate in cosmetology.
- Investment: ₹2.5 Lakhs to ₹7 Lakhs.
- Resources: Artistic talent, combinations of makeup, specialised tools, tax registration, business bank account and credit card, obtaining local or state business permits and licences, social media presence, etc.
- Market Demand: This industry is growing by 18.6% every year and has an expected CAGR of 22% to 23% by 2025.
- Profit Margin: 25% to 50%.
2. Bengali Sweets Store
‘Mishti’ or sweet is one of the most famous things that the world associates with Bengali tradition. Bengali sweets are renowned not only in India but across the globe. Besides, if done online, it has the potential ground to thrive well not just in your state or country but internationally. You can deliver Bengali sweets to your customer's homes directly from your online store.
- Investment: ₹5 Lakhs to ₹10 Lakhs.
- Resources: Right place, market research, business plan, business registration, necessary licences and permits, staff recruitment etc.
- Market Demand: Having a market size of ₹5230.7 Crores in 2022, this industry anticipates hitting ₹15057.2 Crores of market revenue with a CAGR of 19.1% by the end of 2028.
- Profit Margin: 7% to 8%.
3. Foreign Language Training Centre
There are several instances of influence present in the cultural vein of Kolkata. Language is one of them. However, there is a growing need of learning new foreign languages in several sectors every now and then with the advent of globalisation. Therefore, if you have skills in teaching several foreign languages, you can offer foreign language learning courses in Kolkata to interested individuals.
- Investment: ₹4935378 approx.($60000) to ₹6580504 approx.($80000)
- Resources: Qualification of multiple languages, right location, business plan, qualified staff (optional), selection of the school type, marketing, providing positive enrolment experiences, identifying the target market, etc.
- Market Demand: The language learning industry anticipates its market revenue to expand from USD 59.60 Billion (₹447000 Crores) in 2021 to USD 191.06 Billion (₹1432950 Crores) by 2028. Moreover, it has an estimated CAGR of 18.3% within the forecast period.
- Profit Margin: 10% (One can also expect an average annual salary of ₹5.1 Lakhs in this market).
4. Biotechnology Unit
India is aiming to increase its start-ups in the biotechnology department to speed up technological intervention. In addition, Kolkata has become one of the most prominent biotechnology hubs of India in recent years. Therefore, launching a biotechnology unit in the city is one of the best small business ideas in Kolkata with the required technical knowledge and the huge source of manpower from IIT Kharagpur and other institutes.
- Investment: ₹5 Lakhs to ₹10 Lakhs.
- Resources: Laboratory space, practical experience in biotech, tools and equipment for research and development, etc.
- Market Demand: This market is estimated to grow in future with a CAGR of 16.4% to a market value of ₹11225 billion by 2025.
- Profit Margin: 28.79%.
5. Food Processing Unit
West Bengal is the largest producer of rice and vegetables and the second-largest producer of potatoes and lychees throughout India. In this regard, Kolkata has become a renowned centre for food processing due to the availability of its raw materials. Hence, if you are interested in food manufacturing, you can utilise this potential to make profitable outcomes through your business.
- Investment: ₹10 Lakhs to ₹30 Lakhs.
- Resources: Whole or milled grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, oil, sugar, meat, machines, space, etc.
- Market Demand: One can expect the Indian Food Processing market to grow at a CAGR of 15.2% by 2025.
- Profit Margin: 4%.
6. Painting and Art Pieces
Are you an artist and looking to sell your hand-crafted art pieces? Then, opening a business of paintings and art pieces is a good option here. Some of the most-selling art pieces of Kolkata include Kalighat paintings which is one of the richest legacies founded in Kolkata from the 19th century onwards that tourists and locals look for. Therefore, you can put your artwork into T-shirts, bags, mugs and more or craft statues, idols, etc., for selling.
- Investment: ₹12 Lakhs to ₹40 Lakhs.
- Resources: Conducting deep market research, selecting an appropriate niche, connections with art exhibitions, raw materials, business registration, prints, official website, etc.
- Market Demand: The global art industry is estimated to grow ₹6504451 Crore (approx.) and at a CAGR of 15% by 2026.
- Profit Margin: Minimum of 25% for each print.
7. Distribution Company
West Bengal is a hub of top brands and there is a growing demand for distribution centres along with new start-ups due to its dense population. Moreover, the requirements of new distributors are significantly high compared to other PAN India states. Thus, you can start your own product distribution company if you have the capital to invest. Not to mention, you have to choose the product range carefully to make profits in this business.
- Investment: ₹25000 to ₹50000.
- Resources: Warehouse space and location, selection of products, business profile, business registration, pitching company, connections with wholesalers, retailers and consumers, effective business plan, cash flow, technology and tools, etc.
- Market Demand: The distribution market is expanding at a CAGR of 11.70% and will hit USD 13180 Million or ₹107970 Crores (approx.) by 2028.
- Profit Margin: 3% to 30% depending on the sales price.
8. Local Travel Agency
Previously the capital of the British Empire, Kolkata has a royal past in every corner. Besides, Kolkata, the City of Joy, unfolds many old colonial charms along with gastronomical ventures situated on the banks of Hooghly. Therefore, opening a local travel agency in Kolkata is one of the best small business ideas in Kolkata, if you have a great understanding of the city’s past and its geographical area of operations and their importance.
- Investment: ₹3 Lakhs to ₹4 Lakhs.
- Resources: Office space, required permits and licences, effective business plan, travel equipment and tools, social media presence, etc.
- Market Demand: One can anticipate this market to expand at a CAGR of 11.5% by 2032.
- Profit Margin: An average salary of a travel agent in India can vary between ₹2.7 Lakhs to ₹8.4 Lakhs per year.
9. Event Planning Business
An event planning business can offer you a fulfilling career option in no time. Moreover, you can increase your charges showing your vision, creativity, management, execution and results after a certain time. Thus, if you have promising capabilities in planning and organising events, starting an event planning business can unfold a profitable career choice for you. You can offer your services for weddings, mid to high-end parties or even corporate meetings and more.
- Investment: ₹3 Lakhs to ₹5 Lakhs.
- Resources: Event infrastructure, organisers, venue, audience, attendees, social media presence and other stuff.
- Market Demand: This industry anticipates its market to grow at a CAGR of 11.2% within 2028.
- Profit Margin: 10% to 30%.
10. Home-Based Bakery
Home-based bakery is one of the most profitable businesses you can consider among this list of business ideas in Kolkata with low investment. There will always be a growing demand for homemade cakes, cupcakes and brownies that you can make as your full-time business. If you are interested in this path, then you can catch up on orders for big events and earn huge profits with a small-scale investment.
- Investment: ₹80000 to ₹3 Lakhs.
- Resources: Space, ovens, induction, smokers, ranges, grills, ventilation, microwaves, freezers and refrigerators, knives, cutting boards, pots and pans, mixing bowls or blenders, storage containers and shelves, ice maker and some safety equipment such as gloves, aprons, food-grade chemical supplies, napkins etc.
- Market Demand: One can expect this market to grow at a CAGR of 9.6% by 2028.
- Profit Margin: One can expect to earn between ₹ 0.2 Lakh to ₹10.1 Lakhs per month with an average annual revenue of 2.5 Lakhs in India.
11. Rental Car Services
With the emergence of technology and increased disposable incomes, rental car services play a significant role in urban city life. You can offer your services for people to travel through the city inside and out. Therefore, this lucrative business can offer you a flourishing career through conducting thorough research, understanding the market and effective business strategies. This is one of the most required low-investment business ideas in Kolkata you can think of.
- Investment: ₹50 Lakhs to ₹2 Crore.
- Resources: Buying or renting multiple cars, business plan, market research, business registration, opening bank account, insurance, official website, marketing etc.
- Market Demand: The global car rental industry is booming at a CAGR of 9.6% and is estimated to touch ₹15 Lakhs Crores (US$ 200 billion) by 2033.
- Profit Margin: 35% and 40%.
12. Tuition Centre
Running a tuition centre is one of the most significant small business ideas in Kolkata offering a non-taxable profession to qualified individuals. The revenue here will increase as per the years of experience in this field. Therefore, if you are interested in academics and have an understanding of quickly penetrating the minds of different students, giving tuition is ideal for you as it requires minimal monetary investment.
- Investment: ₹1 Lakh to ₹1.5 Lakhs.
- Resources: Selection of niche and user segment, right location, infrastructure, study materials, staff members, marketing, official website, social media presence, etc.
- Market Demand: The tuition industry has a current market value of ₹58088 Crores in India. It estimates to reach ₹133995 Crores by the end of 2028. Moreover, it has an expected CAGR of 9.1% during this period.
- Profit Margin: Earnings of ₹50000 to ₹70000 every month
13. Musical Instrument Store
Being a cultural hub of Eastern India, Kolkata is one of the most desirable places to open a musical instrument store. Bengali people prioritise academic skills while also engaging in dancing, painting and music. Thus, opening a musical instrument store can be a quite profitable business. It is even more appropriate if you have an understanding of several traditional musical instruments or instruments for rock bands.
- Investment: ₹41 Lakhs ($50000) to ₹82 Lakhs ($100000).
- Resources: Store space, market research, business plan, inventory of musical equipment (on consignment from the manufacturers), fixtures, business registration, cash register(s) etc.
- Market Demand: One can expect this industry to grow at a CAGR of 8.22% between 2023 and 2027.
- Profit Margin: 40%.
14. Nail Salon
Opening a nail salon is one of the most popular small business ideas in Kolkata with low investments in recent times. You can offer manicures, pedicures, nail extensions, nail art, gel paints and other stuff. Thus, if you have a knack for this path, you can surely generate high revenues using your creativity and knowledge about the latest nail trends.
- Investment: ₹3 Lakhs to ₹10 Lakhs.
- Resources: Nail files, cuticle clippers, oil, base coat, top coat, multiple colours of nail polish, nail tips, acrylic powder and liquid, brushes, UV lamp, salon space and required training in this field, etc.
- Market Demand: There is a huge demand in this field with a CAGR of 7.46% by 2028.
- Profit Margin: ₹60000 to ₹1 Lakh every month.
15. Tea Shop
Starting a tea shop in a big city is one of the most profitable small investment business ideas in Kolkata. In this regard, you have to choose your location very strategically where tea is always in demand like office areas, hospitals, railway stations etc. Moreover, a tea shop business can be advantageous for many people as the entrepreneur can choose a comfortable investment budget as per the size of the tea shop.
- Investment: ₹50000 to ₹1 Lakh.
- Resources: Loose tea leaves, teapots, tea cups, sugar, milk and cream, biscuits and other bakery products (optional), teaspoons, saucers, plates, trays, tea infusers, compostable disposable containers, product display cases, appropriate location etc.
- Market Demand: One can expect this industry to grow 6.9% every year at a CAGR of 6.6% by 2027.
- Profit Margin: 47%.
16. Fast-Food Joints
If you enjoy making and serving delicious meals and satisfying the food cravings of people, the fast-food business is your chance to bloom. Either you can choose a location for your business or you can even launch a fast-food cloud kitchen if you have a restricted budget and a restaurant or stall opening is not feasible for you. You can simply provide your services with so many food delivery platforms available in the city.
- Investment: Minimum ₹5 lakhs to ₹7 Lakhs
- Resources: Space, appropriate location, business plan, necessary permits and licences, type and concept plan, business registration, menu planning, marketing, web network, decoration, staff members etc.
- Market Demand: According to the global market anticipation the market revenue will grow from USD 972.74 Billion (₹7295550 Crores) in 2021 to USD 1467.04 Billion (₹1,10,02,800 Crores) by 2028. The expected CAGR is 6.05% during this period.
- Profit Margin: 5% to 8% (There are some fast food joints that have a profit margin as high as 20%).
17. Leather Processing Unit
Kolkata Leather Complex is India’s largest leather complex, spread over an area of 1100 acres. Moreover, West Bengal has shifted to a producer of complete leather items from the producer of raw materials and skins in the past few decades. Therefore, starting a leather processing unit has great potential under the low investment business ideas in Kolkata. It has an abundance of skilled labour and raw materials.
- Investment: ₹5 Lakhs to ₹10 Lakhs.
- Resources: Skins of buffalo, goat, sheep and pigs in considerable quality, leather processing base, soft quality cow Nappa leather, leather chemicals, ancillary product suppliers, metal fittings, good connectivity, skilled labour and more.
- Market Demand: This market experienced a 32% growth in exported total leather or leather products in 2022. It is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 5.9% by 2028.
- Profit Margin: 40% to 60%.
18. Football Merchandise Store
Bengal's relationship with football is old, continuing from the mid-nineteenth century. Being considered the football capital of India, Kolkata has witnessed Nagendranath Sarbadhikary, the father of Indian football (a Bengali). Kolkata has been popular with football since then. Flags and jerseys sell like hotcakes in the market at the time of the FIFA World Cup and more. Hence, there is a huge demand for this business that comes with low investment.
- Investment: ₹5 Lakhs to ₹5 Crore.
- Resources: Space, sports garments and shoes, social media presence.
- Market Demand: This industry is expected to grow with a CAGR of 5.37% by 2027.
- Profit Margin: 20% to 50%.
19. Photography Studio
If you are interested in capturing beautiful clicks, then opening a photography studio is an amazing small business idea in Kolkata. However, your work will differ from project to project, whether it is a wedding or other events. You can pursue this career by making an initial investment in a nice camera and lenses. The more you click photographs at events, the more calls you will get from potential customers.
- Investment: ₹1 Lakh to ₹10 Lakhs.
- Resources: Cameras, lenses, reflectors, light boxes, tripods, laptops or desktops, backdrops, business management, office space, business plan, marketing, social media presence, etc.
- Market Demand: This industry has captured a market value of over ₹1 Lakh Crores. Further, it is expected to grow 25% to 30% every year with a CAGR of 4.39% by 2027.
- Profit Margin: Around 50%.
20. Textile Business
Being the easternmost centre of the textile business, many neighbouring states like Orissa, Assam, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh and other states entirely depend on Kolkata. Moreover, this city provides huge employment in the textile sector. Thus, if you are passionate about this field, this small investment business in Kolkata will generate lump-sum profits for you. You can offer traditional textile fabrics for dress materials, cloth and other stuff.
- Investment: ₹25 Lakhs to ₹5 Crore.
- Resources: Nature fibres from goats, rabbits, silkworms, rabbits and other animals along with asbestos (for cotton, sisal, flax) and vegetable fibres like seeds, stems and leaves, necessary permits and licences, space etc.
- Market Demand: This market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 3.77% within a period of 2032.
- Profit Margin: 10% to 20%.
21. Book Selling
Being the cultural capital of India, Kolkata has been known as a city of books and book lovers. Boipara on College Street, is one of the biggest markets for books containing more than 1500 bookshops. Thus, if you are a person who likes to spend a lot of time with books, then selling new books or re-selling second-hand books would be one of the great small business ideas in Kolkata. Either you can choose a space in Boipara or any other place that suits you most.
- Investment: ₹50 Lakhs to ₹80 Lakhs.
- Resources: Proper location, required permits and licences, appropriate selection of niche, furnishing and decoration, selling and buying used books, advertising and promoting, official website etc.
- Market Demand: This industry had a market value of USD 138.35 Billion or ₹1037625 Crores in 2021. However, one can expect it to grow at a CAGR of 1.9% by 2030.
- Profit Margin: 40% to 50%.
Whether it is a small-scale business or a large scale, there will always be some challenges. However, to reduce it, you must incorporate a unique selling point to capture the potential consumer's interest. Moreover, as small businesses are the second largest employment provider, you can offer employment opportunities to several individuals. Therefore, check all these small business ideas in Kolkata before starting your own venture.