20 best small business ideas in Sri Lanka

Two engineers are talking and sharing some business ideas in Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka is a small island but can fulfill your big dreams. It is located in the south of India in a pleasant and profitable environment in every aspect. Sri Lanka is a big exporter of garments and tea. In the year 2018, it earned more than 12 billion dollars through the exportation of goods. The GDP rate of Sri Lanka is thus increasing by 4% rate every year. The population of Sri Lanka is only 20 million. Here people speak Sinhala, Tamil and also English. Though Sinhala is the local and common more of communication yet, you will get English speaking youth in a large number in Colombo. The education rate of Sri Lanka is also higher when compared to other developing countries. So if you want to start a business in Sri Lanka, it is probably the most favorable place for you. But there are so many business possibilities in Sri Lanka that you may question the small business in Sri Lanka best for you. Here in this article, you will get to know the best 20 business ideas in Sri Lanka that have the potentials to make you rich.

Tourism business

Tourism is the fourth-largest source of foreign money in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is surrounded by ocean from all sides, and thus it is the beach lover’s paradise.

Every year thousands of foreign and local tourists visit Sri Lanka to enjoy its sea beaches.


The tourism department suffered a lot at the time of the civil war among the Sri Lankan Government and LLTE, and during Tsunami yet it is recovering and rejuvenating now.

Thus if you are seeking business opportunities in Sri Lanka, then try the tourism business.

You can offer packages of tours for different spots on the island.

For this, you need to do a little research on the places where most of the tourists come.

You can also open a website to offer your tourism services.

The website will help you to get in touch with international tourists.

A foreign tourist will search and compare online before arriving at a new place nowadays.

So apart from local promotions, you can hire employees for promoting your business online.

In the tourism business, you will have to communicate with tourist guides, transport authorities, hotels, and restaurants.

The more lucrative offer you can provide, the more tourists you can attract.

Be loyal and friendly with them, and your business will flourish in a few years.

Bouquet and floral business

The floriculture industry is budding in Sri Lanka.

Though presently, the present market share of floriculture is 0.2% of the world market, yet it has the potentials to grow—flowers in Sri Lanka for various cultural and religious festivals for ages.

In the western, northwestern, and central province of Sri Lanka, we can see the vast areas for cultivations of cut flowers.

Thus if you start running a floral business in Sri Lanka, you will surely not face any loss.

The temperate flowers grown here are rose, carnation, statice, alstroemeria, gypsophila, lilies, and irises.

Carnation and rose are mainly produced for export to other countries, whereas the other flowers use for local purposes.

So you can expand your floral business out of your country Sri Lanka and approach worldwide.

Orchids and the anthuriums are the most popular tropical flowers in Sri Lanka with a good local and international market.

Annually around 3 million anthurium flowers are grown and cut for market demands.

Sri Lankan atmosphere with a humid and sea surrounded climate provides the best conditions to grow a variety of flowers.

These flowers are high on demands for events like weddings, corporate installations, and a bouquet.

So you can build your nursery, hold a shop to sell flowers, and even export them. These flowers will flourish in your future.

Restaurants business

The restaurant business is one of the best businesses in Sri Lanka because of the tourist density on the island.

Thousands of tourists visit here, and the restaurants near the tourist destination point, thus earn handsome amounts per year.

You can start a business in this field with a small setup.

If you search on Goggle about small business ideas, you will see the restaurant business on the top few suggestions.

Apart from tourists, the local people also have a love for delicious meals.

The weather and climate develop a natural appetite among people.

Thus, the people of Sri Lanka have fewer digestion issues and can eat more due to the favorable atmosphere at the seaside.

So in Sri Lanka, you will get a lot of hungry people to serve your food.

You can start a business in a restaurant even from your home freshly.

You can deliver food in the doorsteps of your customers by enlisting your restaurant’s name on online business in Sri Lanka.

Even if you do not have much capital to start a restaurant of your own, you can set a movable mobile fast food shop.

Tourists love to eat fast foods during their visit to the sea beach.

Cooking and selling seafood on the beach can also give you profit.

And once you get enough money, you can start a small, steady restaurant by your name.

Construction service business

Sri Lanka suffered from armed conflicts for more than 30 years.

During that time, the construction industry suffered a lot.

But when it ends in 2009, the construction business starts with a new spirit.

And during the last 10 years, the construction business became the major beneficiaries of Sri Lanka’s rapidly grown economy.

We see rapid growth in building high-end residential, hotel and resort construction, shopping malls, and commercial space.

The Sri Lankan government also aids in rapid construction in roads and railway connections.

On the other hand, the construction sector contributed more than 9% of the GDP of Sri Lanka.

In 2015, Sri Lanka ranked 113th position on the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” report, which is great as a small island country.

So if you have good knowledge and a degree in architecture, or electrical engineering, or structural engineering, then earning rupees is not difficult for you.

You can also collaborate, start a business with some of your batch mates, and profit with passing years.

Agricultural business

Sri Lanka has a temperate, tropical climate and also a fertile soil.

This advantage makes it ideal for cultivating varieties of vegetables, fruits, and crops.

Around 30% or the Sri Lankan population is directly or indirectly connecting with agriculture.

The agriculture industry contributes around 7.5% of the country’s GDP.

The most cultivated crop of Sri Lanka is rice.

Sri Lanka also is the exporter of tea. 17% of the country’s export is cause by tea.

Two other main cash crops are rubber and coconut.

Ceylon Cinnamon is the only pure cinnamon in the world, and Sri Lanka cultivates this.

Sri Lanka supplies 32.9% of the world’s total cinnamon demand.

So if you have love and knowledge about cultivations, then you can start growing plants from your backyard.

Rubber and coconut trees do not require much attention.

They just need enough space to grow properly.

Also, if you live in the central or southern region of the island, then cultivating tea is the best option for you.

Your new business of cultivation can give you profit in both rupees and dollars.

Textile and fabric business

Around 15% of the Sri Lankan workforce is dependent on the textile industry for a living.

This also came as a savior for women and stands for true woman empowerment.

Women of Sri Lanka regulate the 80% workforce in the garment and fabric industry.

The textile business here is mainly export centric.

Since the Multi-Fiber Trade Agreement signed in 1985, the industry has developed rapidly.

Not only local ethnic ware and handloom products but also versatile, trendy outfits, Sri Lanka, produces all.

The textile companies of Sri Lanka also made a name in the fashion world.

The top 3 textile companies of Sri Lanka featured in Top 50 Garment Companies in The World.

So manufacturing fabrics or garments is one of the best business ideas in Sri Lanka.

You can start producing jeans in a small level.

With proper planning and investment, you will get considerable returns.

Pharmaceutical business

The people of Sri Lanka getting educated and aware of their health the area of Pharmaceutical business is also expanding.

According to the UN Population Division, the population of Sri Lanka will increase by about 4 million from 2020 to 2022.

This will be a 20% rise in the total population in just 2 years.

Also, the elderly population of Sri Lanka will increase from 9.4% to 16.0% in 2020.

This means business in the healthcare and treatment industry will be very necessary and profit-making.

But opening a pharmaceutical business will need a lot of capital to invest.

So if you lack that much money, then you can try to make it small.

You can buy and sell medical products and instruments locally.

You can start a small medical shop in rural areas where people do not get medical facilities.

Thus you can make money by helping people who genuinely need it.

Transportation business

Sri Lanka is a developing country.

A lot of road and railway constructions are still happening to connect the distant villages with the capital Colombo.

And a lot of people daily use these transport modes to travel to their work station.

Thus if you are thinking about starting a business or opening a new business of your own, try this sector.

You can buy or lend public transport like a bus or cab.

You can buy or lend trucks or good small carriers and transfer them from the cities like Colombo, Galle, and Matara to the villages.

About 93% of Sri Lankan land transport is dependent on roads.

So your transportation business will never run in the loss here.

This business is entirely dependent on capital.

If you can invest, then you can even start business newly from setting an air cargo shipment business.

Also, the ambulance service business can be beneficial both in urban and suburban areas.

You can also run a car rental business if you live in a highly-populated area of the island.

Even you can start a business on car parking which can earn you money in urban areas.

Apart from these towing vehicle services, tyre store business, running a petrol station, running a logistic business, and starting a driving school, all these falls under the transportation business.

You can choose any of them to start a business of your own.

Hotel booking business

This is one of the best business ideas in Sri Lanka.

If you want small business ideas to start a business, set up a hotel booking business.

You do not need an office and employees to start a business here.

You can start a business from your home with a laptop and internet connection.

Here you will have to compare and book hotels on behalf of the customers.

Your business’s motive will be to provide the best possible service to your customers.

Some of them will spend any amount for their comfort, and some may look for clean yet affordable hotels.

You will have to book the hotels according to the budget and preferences of your customer.

You can regulate all of this online and run your business.

This kind of business ideas in Sri Lanka is highly profitable as they are linked with tourism.

And tourism is the ever demanding and growing business here.

For the hotel booking business, you need to have good terms with both parties.

For better communication, thus you can operate your website.

Then both the hotel owners and tourists can contact you and read about your services.

Food supply business

Start a business in food-related areas because you will never suffer from the loss.

Food supply is the thing that will never stop in any sort of emergency.

Small business ideas in Sri Lanka like to supply dairy products, meat, raw food materials, and even cooked foods will always give you profit.

Everyone works for hunger, and you will work to satisfy their hunger.

Your business can work for supplying food from the factories to the shops.

You can even provide food home delivery.

If you love to cook and build a start upon it, try different dishes on your home and deliver them to the customers.

You can even supply raw food materials abroad.

Also, you can even act as a mediator between the farmers and the factory holders.

You can buy and deliver foodstuffs from the farmers, sell them to the food factories, and profit from it.

Food is a necessity for us, and you can start your business from where the necessity lies to get the key to success.

Start a gym business

One of the best small business ideas in Sri Lanka is to start a gym.

As time is passing, most youths are getting interested in fitness.

And this happens irrespective of gender.

Both male and female customers gathered on a gym to lose their weight and then keep them fit and strong.

To start a gym business, you need to find a suitable place where you easily get your targeted audience.

For instance, you can set up your gym business beside a college or near a residential complex.

You can attract the dwellers by providing them exclusive offers on limited periods.

Gym training business is into two types; weight lifting and freehand exercise.

In the weight lifting procedure, you will have to have all the necessary equipment in your gym.

While for the freehand model, you can include yoga practice, Zumba dancing, and meditation practice on your gym schedule.

You will get customers for both types of models.

So if you have a free space in front of your house, then set a gym business there.

You can then make it large or shift it once you get profit from your business.

Set up a mobile coffee shop business

If you do not like the restaurant or fast food delivery business ideas in Sri Lanka, you can try it.

A mobile coffee shop business will not require much from you apart from your coffee making skills.

You can offer healthy snacks like burgers, patties, sandwiches along with it.

But you will have to consider the cleanliness and hygienic part of it.

You can even buy an old unused minibus and then renovate it as a movable mobile coffee shop.

You can hold your coffee stall near a market place, shopping mall, cinema hall, or near any college or university.

A beachside coffee shop will also be a profitable business for you.

The hot coffee and snack from your little shop can provide energy and dating opportunities to the youth.

The best thing is that you can run this business solely by you.

This business does not require much manpower.

In a mobile coffee shop, you will have to make and serve food all by yourself.

However, you can get helping hands if you want.

Mobile phone selling business

Smartphones are now everyone’s necessity.

It is equally demanding in every stratum of society.

And this business field is increasing rapidly.

And there is no sign of decreasing in its market demand.

Instead, it will double up with time.

So if you want to start small business ideas in Sri Lanka that will run for generations, then own a mobile shop for you.

The size of the shop will be according to the amount of money you can invest as capital.

But the size does not matter if you fill your shop with quality products.

Research the brands that are popular in the country, and give them a priority.

Do not miss out on the new arrival of smartphone series as they cause a sensation among the youth.

Also if you know about mobile technology, then you can set a mobile repair shop for yours.

Thus you can fix the mini trouble of smartphones.

You can even provide exchange offers on the same brands.

Almost all smartphone brands are now offering exchange offers.

People also now phone to exchange and buy a new model rather than repairing the old one.

So if you can, then combine all of this in one business.

The customer can buy, sell, or repair their smartphones in your shop.

Thus you make your business a complete one.

Online library business

An online library is the product of the twenty-first century.

Here one does not need to buy a book as one can read and store as many books as they want on their smartphones.

And creating an online library is the easiest home-based business in Sri Lanka.

To start your library business, you need to create an account with an online bookmarking site.

You can even create your website.

Then you need to set up two unlinked landing pages for your e-library business.

The first page will be a sales page where people can find you and get a subscription to your online library.

And on the second page will give access to the paid subscribers to your content and books.

You need to make sure that the first page remains visible to everyone, while the second page to only your paid subscribers.

Then you will have to set a preview graphic for your landing page.

Then you will have to create a paywall for your premium contents.

Make the first page or the sales page appealing and informative to the viewers.

Encourage them to read from your website, supply them with some free content, and then gently direct them to your paid content.

With a successful online library business set up and good promotion strategies, you can earn huge per day in your business.

These small business ideas in Sri Lanka have the potentials to grow big and fruitful.

Event management business

Event management businesses are some other effective small business ideas in Sri Lanka.

With the advancement of social media, every couple wants to plan and project their special day in front of their followers.

There is a sense of show off in it.

Also, some like to celebrate their special day without any worries or last moment mess-ups.

Thus, leave the entire duty on the experiences of event managing business organizations.

So if you have a creative self in you, then you can try your luck here.

You can create your event management business even from your home.

Meanwhile, you do not need to invest in this business as the entire spending of the events will be done by the customers.

You will only have to set up the entire program systematically, uniquely, and creatively.

The event can be of any type starting from the birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries, office parties, get-togethers, to film festivals.

For a successful career in the event management business, you need to build a friendly network between the caterers, florists, banquet halls, performers, electricians, and among every other necessary supply.

This business will grow with experience.

With time you will know the ways to be presentable.

With experience, you can understand the unspoken desires of your clients and thus win their hearts.

You can start these small business ideas and make them big.

Photography business

If you love to click photos and earn a degree or certificate for that, then use it.

Photography is among the small business ideas in Sri Lanka that are extremely on demand nowadays.

As I have mentioned before, the tendency among people to make their special day look perfect and presentable in every aspect.

A pre-wedding photoshoot is famous now worldwide.

It can also be the best business in Sri Lanka.

Here the upcoming bride and groom pose together to announce that their love is going to get a title.

Then these photos are used in their invitation cards and, most importantly, on their Instagram handles.

Thus, a skilled photographer and videographer is now a highly demanding person.

To become a professional photographer and start your business, you will just need the equipment to click a perfect picture.

But to reach potential clients, you need to build a strong profile of your own.

Nowadays, what looks better sells better.

Thus you can create a page on FaceBook, Instagram exclusively to showcase and promote your photographs.

Also, if you can, then create a website to provide extra information about your photography.

Business through youtube

A successful YouTube channel with millions of followers is the dream of every youth now.

One successful YouTuber can easily earn more than 1 lakh rupees per month.

You can make a Youtube channel concerning about any field.

It can be informative or for total entertainment.

It depends on the way of the content you can deliver.

Though roasting, gaming, and entertainment-related channels get the most of the views, yet, the informative, study-related channel can also score well.

For making business through YouTube, you need to shoot and edit a catchy, appealing, original, and informative video on your channel.

You will have to be unique and consistent in your business.

Also, collaborating with YouTubers with greater subscribers can boost your subscriber numbers and business.

Once you get enough subscribers, then you can get money by showing ads and promoting them on your videos.

Youtube also recently includes a paid membership option on it.

So you can earn directly from your fans in this business.

It can also be a great home-based business in Sri Lanka.

Business as an Instagram influencer

Instagram is another social media platform where you can show your skills, lifestyle, fashion ideas, travel clicks, and become an Instagram influencer.

The work of an influencer is to inspire their followers for something.

Here also you can earn from the paid promotion of brands.

Everything that you share and create in social media is content, and it is no harm to earn money from it.

This one type of small business ideas in Sri Lanka is growing vastly.

These businesses are unconventional but have a promising future for you.

Beauty salon business

In case you are wondering what is the small business in Sri Lanka, you can certainly consider this one.

If you know the art of makeover, then this business is for you.

One of the effective small business ideas in Sri Lanka is thus to set up a small beauty parlor.


You may think that only women can get work and success in this business.

It is wrong.
On the contrary, we see that both men and women work side by side in the beauty and fashion world.

You can start your small business in front of your home.

And also you can also set a mini parlor and do the works of hair cutting, waxing, threading, and makeups.

You can also provide beauty services in the customer’s homes.

And once you get enough rupees back, then you can look for bigger settlements.

Import-export business

Sri Lanka is a small island.

It is thus not possible to grow or produce everything here.

Therefore it imports a lot of food and essential items like medicine in the country.

Also, I have mentioned that Sri Lanka exports garments, rubber, and tea in a great amount.

Thus to create an import-export business is among the small business ideas in Sri Lanka that will work.

You will have to choose the products that have great demands outside and inside the island and then buy and sell them to profit in your business.

Business ideas in Sri Lanka conclusion

These are the top 20 small business ideas in Sri Lanka that you can try to get a promising future.

None of these businesses can give you success overnight.

The key to your business’s success will always be your hard work.

But the choices you take are the most important thing.

So sit and think about these 20 small business ideas in a relaxed mind.

Give thought to the pros and cons of these businesses.

And then decide where you want to put your hard works.

Your choice of today is going to pay you in your future.

So think wisely and start afresh.