How To Register A Business In Kenya

By Getrude Mathayo / Published April 28, 2023 | 1:59 pm




KEY POINTS

Whether you’re a Kenyan citizen or a foreign business owner looking to open your business in Kenya, the process can still take the better part of a month, especially if your documents are not well organized, so begin the registration process well in advance of when you’d like to start conducting business.


home-based business //Courtesy//

Starting a business is a dream for many Kenyans, and part of the process of starting your own side hustle is registering your business name in Kenya.

Registering a company in Kenya was once a difficult and complicated process. Fortunately, in recent years, the Kenyan government has stepped in and streamlined the registration process.

Whether you’re a Kenyan citizen or a foreign business owner looking to open your business in Kenya, the process can still take the better part of a month, especially if your documents are not well organized, so begin the registration process well in advance of when you’d like to start conducting business.

Previously, you needed to go through lawyers and present documents physically to the registrar of companies. However, you can now do it by visiting any Huduma center across the country or using the government’s eCitizen platform.

Companies that have already been incorporated outside Kenya can register as a branch or subsidiary of a foreign corporation. They will receive a certificate of compliance as proof that all the conditions have been met.

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The eCitizen platform – Creating an account

eCitizen is an online platform created to ease access to various government services in Kenya, including the registration of businesses and companies. To register with eCitizen, follow the following steps:

  1. Ensure that you have a valid email address
  2. Search for ecitizen.go.ke
  3. Fill in your full names as they appear on your national ID or passport
  4. Enter your ID number
  5. Enter your email address and phone number
  6. Activate your eCitizen account by verifying the link sent to your email address
  7. Create a password for your eCitizen account
  8. A confirmation SMS will be sent to your phone confirming the activation of your account

The eCitizen portal dashboard has five agencies namely:

  1. Ministry of Land, Housing & Urban Development
  2. Department of Immigration Services
  3. National Transport and Safety Authority
  4. Office of The Attorney General
  5. Department of Justice

How to search for a business name in Kenya

  1. Log into the eCitizen portal
  2. Click on the “Office of The Attorney General and Department of Justice”
  3. Click on “Make Application”
  4. Click on the “Apply Now” button
  5. Choose the business entity
  6. Enter your proposed identity (the name you want to search)
  7. Provide a short description of your entity Review the application before submitting the details
  8. Submit your application
  9. Choose your preferred payment method from the list provided to complete your request- the search fee is Ksh.150
  10. Wait for a response from the Registrar of Companies

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To register a business name in Kenya, you need to meet the following requirements:

  1. Conduct a name search through the Registrar of Companies and wait for approval of the proposed identity
  2. Describe the nature and activities of the proposed entity
  3. Indicate the postal address for the proposed name
  4. Indicate the physical address of the proposed entity- include the plot number, the town, and the county Presentation of copies of the national IDs or Passports of all partners or proprietors
  5. Present passport photos of the partners as well as copies of their PIN Certificate Payment of Ksh. 850 for company registration (Ksh. 800 for registration and Ksh. 50 as a convenience fee)

How to register a business name in Kenya online

The process of online business registration in Kenya is done after a name search and reservation by the Office of the Attorney General. You must be able to access your eCitizen portal to obtain a business name registration form in Kenya.

  1. Log into your eCitizen portal

Log on to your eCitizen account. If you don’t have an account already, click on the signup button which will guide you on the simple process, once done, the system will send you an email verification. Click on the link shared.

Activate your eCitizen account by verifying the link sent to your email address, create a password for your eCitizen account and a confirmation SMS will be sent to your phone confirming the activation of your account.

  1. Submit your business name

Submit your name through the Office of The Attorney General and Department of Justice. Click on business registration or name search. Since you will have completed the search, you will only click Continue, then review and submit your entry. A search letter and Ksh. 850 invoices will be created

  1. Payment procedure

The step involves making payments for the application. The portal gives a procedure for payment via Mpesa

  1. Get confirmation of name registration

After receiving a notification of payment confirmation, you can click on the complete button. Your application will be queued, and you will get feedback on whether yours is among the registered companies in Kenya within 1-2 working days

The online system of registration of companies has significantly improved the process of business registration in Kenya. Nowadays, the process takes a shorter time which is a great improvement over how things used to be. The delivery of services through the Office of the Attorney General is fast, reliable, and efficient.

  1. Download your certificate of incorporation

Once your business registration is complete, you will get a notification to your registered email. Log into your eCitizen account to check the status of your business.

You will get a certificate of incorporation, which indicates that your business is now registered under the name you provided. It also contains details of the registration date. Download this certificate of incorporation. It is your proof that your business is registered.

You will need this certificate for all your official business activities like signing contracts, opening a business bank account, applying for funding, applying for tenders, and more.

  1. Protect your business name

Your registered business name is now your property, and you have a duty to protect it. Many aspiring business owners are on the lookout for a good business name for their own businesses, and if yours is not in use, you may lose it.

  1. Open a Business Bank Account

You’ll need to keep business, and personal finances separate by opening a business bank. A business bank account can help you make bookkeeping easy and establish your business’s credit history.

It also makes it easier for you be able to get a loan facility from a bank. A business bank account helps you look more professional to your clients and suppliers.

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