Kolkata, India seems like one of the most challenging places to start a business in this country, but if you know the rules, it’s really not that bad.

Besides, you should always know the laws and procedures for opening a business wherever you are in the world. 

Even though Kolkata ranked 17th out of 17 cities surveyed in 2009 in India for ease of doing business according to a World Bank Ease of Doing Business report, it seems it is more about the process of licensing than anything else.

The procedures for getting a trade license in this Indian city is somewhat tricky, but by starting simple and small and expanding over time, you can be successful.

The process is unique with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, KMC, as the central authority, but it can be done. 

The following will provide you with some simple small business ideas you can consider that will be relatively easy to start in Kolkata, India. 

Best Small Business Ideas in Kolkata with Low Investment

1) Fast Food Place

Fast Food

Just like most cities in India, fast food is popular in Kolkata.

With an investment of around 5,000 to 10,000 rupees, you can get started in any good location.

Look for an area that is buzzing with activity.

2) Home-Based Bakery

Bakery items are very popular in this city, so regardless of how many bakeries you may see, there is always room for one more due to the demand.

People are prone to checking out new bakeries, so be sure to offer clean and fresh baked items.

This business will cost you around 10,000 rupees to start, depending on your business model.

3) Juice Kiosk

Fresh juice offers delicious and nutritious beverages for everyone.

With an investment of about 5,000 to 7,000 rupees and the ideal location, this is a great small business.

4) Corner Tea & Breakfast Spot

Tea Spot

Tea is a wildly popular beverage in India.

There is a big demand for small businesses like a corner tea and breakfast spot.

The potential is great for expanding your business.

5) Snack Bar

Whether you choose to start up a snack bar in a college or school or outside a college or school, initial costs in rupees will be between 10,000 and 20,000 to start up this small venture.

Do not let that investment discourage you because the profits from this venture are big.

6) Small Cloth Shop

While many people of Kolkata buy premade clothing, there is a large segment of the population that prefers to buy material to make their own or have their own made.

Small cloth shops are more popular than shops that sell ready-made clothing.

This idea can be very profitable if you start small and narrow your target audience to a particular economic segment. 

7) Ready-Made Clothing/Garments

Following up on the cloth shop idea, another is to invest in premade clothing.

The investment will be larger than with a cloth shop, and the profitability potential requires finding the most cost effective transportation and suppliers.

8) Tailoring Service

Tailoring Service

You can start a home-based tailoring service with an investment of 10,000 rupees and get a substantial return on your investment in time.

Since there are people in this Indian city who like to have their clothing tailor made, all you need to a good sewing machine, some time-saving tools, and backup electricity.

9) Digital Studio Service

Smartphone cameras may be all the rage, but people still prefer to have professional photographers take pictures of their events like weddings, birthdays, festivals, and the like.

They will be looking for someone with skills for providing these photography services and you can reap the rewards from such a small venture.

The investment is much larger with this kind of small business than with others, but the profits are amazing.

You will need to invest about 50,000 rupees to get a good computer, photo-quality printer, a good digital camera, and UPS.

If you already have a good digital camera, a printer, and a computer, you can make them pay for themselves.

10) Photocopier Service

This business will require that you find a good hotspot near government offices and public courts to be successful.

Educational institutions and commercial hubs are also good locations.

The photocopying equipment will be your biggest investment.

11) Videography Services

The busy lifestyle in Kolkata makes it a hotspot for preserving memories of special occasions.

With some good video camera equipment (30,000 to 35,000 rupees), you can get started and reap an excellent return on your investment.

This can be an exciting and rewarding small business.

12)  Computer Repair

Computer Repair

If you are skilled with computers, your biggest investment for a computer repair service will be in your business cards.

Marketing yourself is important to this kind of business.

13) Local Travel Agency

A local travel agency would be popular in Kolkata because it is a busy place and a large population comes from other areas in India.

They require railway, bus, and taxi reservations all the time.

Helping people with this kind of service is quite lucrative, though it will require some investment.

14) Tours Service

Because of Kolkata’s rich history, there is much to see, do, and explore here.

You can create tour packages to provide tourists and visitors from outside areas with a guide to the best spots to see in the city.

You will need to know the city very well and invest in a good vehicle for tours. 

15) Gents Salon

Men like to look good just like women do, so a salon for men is a lucrative business venture.

Setting this up will require a small investment and will reap big rewards.

16) Beauty Salon

Beauty Salon

Women like to be pampered at a beauty salon, so there is a high demand in this city for such a service.

While this business is not only wildly popular, it is also wildly profitable.

You will need to invest more in this small business than in a gents salon, but it will be worth it.

Additionally, you can offer makeup services to your high-end clients.

This would also be popular for weddings and special occasions.

17) Events Supply

India is a country of events and festivals.

Kolkata is no exception.

You can make a great profit by offering supplies for such events.

You will need to invest in pots, pandals, lighting, chairs, and other such items needed at events.

Find a busy hub and start your events supply business. 

18) Paint Shop

Did you know that it is important to whitewash almost all buildings at least once every couple of years in India.

Most people choose to do this once per year, so a business where you provide this kind of painting will be profitable in Kolkata.

19) Electronic Shop

Electronics are part of daily life in the city.

Every business and home has electronics like heaters, fans, plugs, switches, and light bulbs that require maintenance, service, and repair.

If you have a knack for wiring and fixing electronics, this is a good business here.

20) Mobile Repair Services & Accessories

Mobile Repair

Just like across the globe, the people of Kolkata depend on their mobiles.

If you have the knowledge and skills to repair mobile phones, this is a great business in this city.

Additionally, you can also sell accessories for extra profits.

21) Auto Repair Shop

Automobile repair services are very lucrative in this city.

Having the tools and skills will get you started.

A good marketing strategy will help get you some exposure and you will not need to invest a lot of money.

22) Computer Hardware & Accessories Shop

Computer USB devices/accessories, keyboards, blank CDs and DVDs, and other hardware and accessories are popular in this area.

Buy wholesale and sell computer hardware and accessories in a good commercial hub for a good return on your investment. 

23) Day Care

Childcare Business

Working parents need quality day care in Kolkata.

This business is a good one to start at home if you have a large and safe area in your home for kids to play. 

24) Tuition Centre

A tuition centre may not require any investment from you if you target the primary classes.

You can start this business from the comfort of your home.

If you intend to offer this service to higher classes, you will need to spend money and effort on marketing and promotion.

You may also need a bigger space if you plan to offer group coaching.

25) Blogging

Online blogs are great money-making ventures if you are a good writer and know how to create a blog.

You will need to have extensive expert knowledge in a topic to maintain such a blog, but it requires very little startup investment other than web hosting and a domain.

Stay at home moms, students, and homemakers can do this without disrupting their lives. 

26) Plant Nursery

People like plants. They often give them as gifts, but they also like having them inside and outside their homes or businesses.

You need to have expertise in plants, but otherwise the investment is small.

You will also need to choose your target audience carefully.

 27) Online Trading 

Online Trading

Have you considered building an online empire?

Online trading businesses are profitable everywhere.

It requires that you have some inventory like clothing, cloth, accessories, and other items to sell, but buy wholesale and do your research on where to sell. 


While there are challenges in starting new small business ideas in Kolkata, India, you will find this is true of almost anywhere across the world.

If you are determined and dedicated to starting your business in this city, start small and gradually grow it.

As long as you follow the processes and laws for licensing, the potential to be successful is unlimited.