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Top 27 Profitable Business Ideas in Sri Lanka for 2024

Sri Lanka boasts a rich cultural heritage and is placed in an important strategic geographical location. It offers a plethora of opportunities for entrepreneurs seeking to start their ventures. From traditional industries to modern innovations, the business landscape in Sri Lanka is diverse and promising. Let us explore in this article, some of the top business ideas that hold great potential in this island nation.

Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean. It is located to the south of the Indian Subcontinent. sprawling over an area of 65,525 sq. km. The capital city of the country is Colombo. Most of the people in Sri Lanka use English, Tamil, and Sinhala for communication with each other.

The economy of the country has mostly had strong growth rates in recent years. Currently, the country is focusing on long-term strategic and structural development challenges as it strives to transition to an upper-middle-income country. According to the Global Competitiveness Report, Sri Lanka’s economy is transitioning from the factor-driven stage to the efficiency-driven stage. Hence, it makes the country rank 52nd in global competitiveness.

List of 27 Small Business Ideas in Sri Lanka

#1. Agriculture

The country’s economy depends hugely on agriculture. Some of the specific items like tea, rubber, and cinnamon are the most important products here. Additionally, these items have good export potential. Animal husbandry or livestock farming is also gaining immense popularity nowadays.

Related: Most Profitable Agriculture Business Ideas 

#2. Start a  Home-Based Online Business in Sri Lanka

Below we list down the best small online businesses you can start online in Sri Lanka:

Read: Best Online Jobs from Home

#3. Cell Phone Repair

Cell phone demand and population are increasing very fast. And after the warranty period, people look for an affordable local repair service for fixing their phones. Even, if you don’t have repairing skills, you can visit classes to gather knowledge.

Generally, this type of business offers services like repairing cell phones, smartphones, iPhones, tablets, etc. In addition to that, you can offer several specific repair services too. Read More…

#4. Export-Import

Export-import is one of the most prominent business sectors in Sri Lanka. The country is the 81st largest export economy in the world. The top export items of Sri Lanka are Tea, Women’s Undergarments, rubber, cinnamon, etc. Its top imports are Planes, Helicopters, and/or spacecraft, Refined Petroleum, Cars, Crude Petroleum, and Light Rubberized Knitted Fabric.

Some of the top export destinations of Sri Lanka are India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy. The top import origins are India, China, Japan, France, and the United Arab Emirates

#5. Information Technology

Sri Lanka is ranked among the top 50 outsourcing destinations by AT Kearney. Some of the most lucrative IT sectors are business process outsourcing, knowledge process outsourcing, software development, IT Services, and IT education. Hence, it is needless to say, the country is one of the best destinations for starting a business in the information technology sector.

Related: Lucrative Business Ideas for Information Technology Professionals

#6. Recruitment Agency

Start a recruitment agency in Sri Lanka to connect talented individuals with businesses looking for skilled professionals. Provide services such as talent acquisition, staffing, and HR consulting.

#7. Real Estate & Construction

The property industry broadly covers the areas of rents, domestic housing, capital market, office space, retail and industrial space. As confidence returns to real estate, the industry faces several fundamental shifts that will shape its future. Moreover, the sector offers several service-based business opportunities to aspiring entrepreneurs. Read More…

#8. Retail

Retail is another growing sector in Sri Lanka. However, you must have a retail space in a prominent location. Otherwise, you can also consider getting a retail space for rent. As tourism is one of the most important revenue-earning sectors in the country, you can find several retail business opportunities there. Read More…

#9. Tourism

Sri Lanka is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, historical sites, and vibrant culture, making it a hotspot for tourists. Tourism is one of the main industries in Sri Lanka. Major tourist attractions are focused on the island’s famous beaches located in the southern and eastern parts of the country. Additionally, ancient heritage sites are also popular in the country.

Hospitality and tourism are vast areas providing different types of services. It includes broadly restaurants, restaurant chains, food services, hotels, transportation, photography, business and leisure travel, holiday destinations and activities, camping, and the cruise industry. Read More…

#10. Transportation Business

Transport business opportunities are emerging globally nowadays. Transportation is one of the world’s largest industries. Different types of specific demands with changing lifestyle habits have introduced several innovative and profitable startup opportunities in the transport industry. Read More…

#11. Wellness and Ayurveda

With a global interest in wellness and natural healing, Sri Lanka’s Ayurvedic traditions are gaining popularity. You can open an Ayurvedic spa, wellness retreat, or a line of Ayurvedic products for the local and international market.

#12. E-commerce

The rise of digital connectivity has opened up opportunities for online businesses in Sri Lanka. You can think of launching an e-commerce platform focusing on local products, fashion, or unique handmade items.

#13. Food and Beverage

Sri Lankan cuisine is loved for its flavors, and there is a growing interest in culinary experiences. Start a restaurant, café, or food delivery service offering traditional Sri Lankan dishes with a modern twist.

#14. Renewable Energy

Why? Sri Lanka is actively promoting sustainable practices, creating opportunities in the renewable energy sector.
How? Invest in solar energy projects, and wind farms, or offer energy-efficient solutions.

#15. Education and Training

The focus on education is high in Sri Lanka, and there is a demand for quality training and skill development.
You can establish an educational institute, tutoring service, or vocational training center.

#16. Real Estate and Property Development

Sri Lanka’s real estate market is witnessing growth, driven by tourism and urbanization. Invest in property development, start a real estate agency, or offer property management services.

#17. Translation Agency

Offer translation services for businesses dealing with multiple languages. This can include document translation, interpretation services, and localization for marketing materials.

#18. . Backyard Plant Nursery

If you love gardening, you can start a backyard plant nursery in Sri Lanka. This is a low-cost and profitable business. However, you must have some space for this business. Selecting plants is the most crucial aspect of this business. You must keep the plants according to the local market demand. Also, you can start and operate the business on a part-time basis initially.

#19. Event Management

Launch an event management company to organize and execute events such as weddings, conferences, and corporate gatherings.

#20. Digital Marketing Agency

Start a digital marketing agency in Sri Lanka to help local businesses establish and grow their online presence.

#21. Car Repair Services

Open an auto repair shop that provides services such as vehicle maintenance, repairs, and diagnostics.

#22. Auto Spare Parts Store

Establish a store that sells auto spare parts for various vehicle makes and models. This can cater to both individual vehicle owners and local repair shops.

#23. Courier Services

Start a courier service to facilitate the efficient and timely delivery of packages and documents. This can be especially valuable for e-commerce businesses and local retailers.

#24. Food Truck

Launch a mobile food truck offering a variety of delicious and convenient food options. Explore unique and local flavors to attract a diverse customer base.

#25. Career Counseling Service

Provide career counseling and guidance services to individuals seeking advice on education, career paths, and professional development.

#26. Salon Business

Open a salon in Sri Lanka offering a range of beauty and grooming services. This can include haircuts, styling, manicures, pedicures, and other beauty treatments.

#27. Open a Restaurant

Start a restaurant featuring a unique culinary concept or specializing in a particular cuisine. Consider incorporating local flavors and ingredients to create an authentic dining experience.

After selecting your business idea, you need to register your company. Sri Lanka has seen a rise in small startups in the last decade. If you are the next one looking forward to starting a company here, find below the options to be explored.

How to Start a Company in Sri Lanka, Sinhala

There are several types of business structures offered by authorities for startups in Sri Lanka. The most popular among beginners is a sole proprietorship, partnership, and limited liability company.

The procedure of forming a sole proprietorship is more or less similar to other countries in the world. You will be solely responsible for all the liabilities incurred by the firm. This is the easiest option to start a company in Sri Lanka.

The partnership business structure is almost similar to a sole proprietorship. The significant difference is that you can have multiple owners.

Limited Liability Company is the most popular business structure among startups. This structure allows a minimum of one director and two shareholders. There is no need for minimum share capital.

Sri Lanka is a small country. However, the business sector is famous for agriculture, plantation, export, food processing, and telecommunications. We hope this list of profitable small business ideas in Sri Lanka will help you make an informed decision to start your business venture.

Considerations for Starting a Business in Sri Lanka:

  • Understand local regulations and legal requirements.
  • Conduct thorough market research to identify target audiences and competition.
  • Build relationships with local communities and businesses.
  • Embrace sustainable practices to align with the country’s environmental initiatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What products are in high demand in Sri Lanka?

Some of the most in-demand products are as follows:

  • Ceylon Tea
  • Consumer electronics products
  • Rice, vegetables, and fruit.
  • Clothing and textiles
  • Pharmaceuticals and medical supplies
  • Coconut & Coconut-based Products
  • Spices, Essential Oils & Oleoresins.

What are the top 3 imports of Sri Lanka?

The top there products that Sri Lanka imports are the following:

  • Petroleum,
  • Textile fabrics
  • Food Items

What is Sri Lanka famous for producing?

The biggest items that Sri Lanka exports are tea, textiles, and garments. In addition, the other major export items are spices, gems, fish, coconut products, rubber, and fish.

What are the legal requirements for starting a business in Sri Lanka?

To start a business in Sri Lanka, you need to register your business with the Registrar of Companies, obtain necessary permits, and comply with tax regulations. Consulting with a local business advisor or legal expert is advisable.

What are the promising sectors for business growth in Sri Lanka?

Tourism, agriculture, renewable energy, and IT services are among the promising sectors with potential for business growth in this country. Conduct thorough market research to identify opportunities aligned with your interests and skills.

Are there any government incentives for certain business sectors?

Yes, the Sri Lankan government offers incentives for various sectors, including tourism, renewable energy, and export-oriented businesses. Check with local authorities or business chambers for information on available incentives.

What is the process for obtaining a visa for business purposes in Sri Lanka?

The type of visa required depends on the nature of your business activities. Business visas are available, and the process involves submitting necessary documentation to the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Sri Lanka.

How can I access funding or financial support for my business in Sri Lanka?

Explore local banks, financial institutions, and government schemes that support entrepreneurship. Additionally, networking with investors and participating in business forums can open avenues for financial assistance.

What are the challenges faced by businesses in Sri Lanka?

Challenges may include bureaucratic processes, infrastructure limitations, and competition. However, understanding and adapting to these challenges can contribute to the overall success of your business.

Is it necessary to have a local partner to start a business in Sri Lanka?

In some cases, having a local partner may be advantageous for navigating local regulations and building connections. However, it’s not mandatory, and many businesses operate successfully with foreign ownership.