With Kenya’s status as a regional financial centre, knowing how to register a business in Kenya could be key to the survival of many functioning or aspiring businesses. This is one of many instances where preparation meets opportunity and becomes a success story.
Knowing how to register a business in Kenya has gone from an extreme sport to one that is easier to do, and is now accessible to individuals and entities that have created business models around teaching people how to register a business in Kenya or doing it for them.
With the introduction of the eCitizen portal and a smooth process that allows people to input their personal details, company details and that of the shareholders, the days of people asking how to register a business in Kenya are about to come to an end.
This article explains how to register a business in Kenya, what the requirements are, the eCitizen portal and the documents that will be submitted and downloaded before and after the process.
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Has registering a business in Kenya gotten easier?
In the past, registering a corporation in Kenya was a challenging and complex procedure. Thankfully, the Kenyan government intervened in recent years and simplified the registration procedure.
Start the registration process very much ahead of when you’d like to start doing business because people still report that the process may take about a month to get it through. For those who may be wondering if to go through locals because it may be faster, don’t bother.
The timing of almost a month is not dependent on whether you are a native Kenyan or whether you are an expatriate looking to do business in Kenya. The time is the same for everybody and it is especially true if you don’t have your documents in order and perhaps updated.
Before, you had to go through a lawyer and physically provide paperwork to the registrar of businesses. However, you may now do so by going to any Huduma facility nationwide or via the eCitizen portal provided by the government.
Requirements to know how to register a business in Kenya
You need to gather these details before you begin to follow the steps on how to register a business in Kenya.
1 – Confirm name availability
Perform a name search to confirm that the name you are proposing to call your business is available and has not been taken by someone else. Once you agree on a name alone or with your partners, run the check with the Registrar of Companies and wait for the proposed identity to be approved.
You are advised to choose a unique name so there are no conflicting names and to ensure that there are no other entities with the name of interest.
2 – Prepare a document that details what your company does
Describe the proposed entity’s operations and nature. Describing the operations and nature of the company is to give the registrar proper context surrounding what you hope to do and for the registrar to determine the best way to proceed with it.
If the registrar is satisfied, you get approved. Details like this are crucial to the steps on how to register a business in Kenya.
3 – Get an address
List the proposed name’s postal address as this will help the registrar and the government know where you hope to operate and get in contact with you if there are dispatches for the company.
Include the plot number, the town, and the county when stating the prospective entity’s physical address.
4 – Present personal information
You are also required to present copies of each partner’s or proprietor’s national identification card or passport.
An international passport is necessary for non-resident aliens, a foreign national registration certificate-Alien card is sufficient for foreigners who are lawfully residing in Kenya, and a national identification card is sufficient for Kenyan nationals.
All directors, whether they are residents or not, must present a copy of their Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) pin certificate as proof of their tax authority registration.
The following documents must also be signed by all directors.
Form CR8 – This is the notice of the director’s residential address form
Form CR1 – This is the company registration form
Form CR2 – This is the Memorandum of the company with share capital and a properly signed copy of the statement of Nominal capital by all Directors.
Pay Ksh 850 (Ksh 800 for registration plus Ksh 50 for convenience) to confirm to the registering body that you have satisfied the steps on how to register a business in Kenya.
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How to find a company name in Kenya
- Access the eCitizen website.
- “Business Registration Services” should be clicked.
- Simply select “Make Application”
- Select “Apply Now” from the menu.
- Choose the company structure
- Enter the name you wish to search under as your suggested identification.
- Give a succinct description of your organization. Examine the application before providing the information.
- Send your application in.
- To finish your request, select your desired payment option from the list provided. The search charge is Ksh. 150.
- Await the Registrar of Companies’ answer.
What is the eCitizen portal and how do I create an account?
A portal called eCitizen was developed to make it simpler for Kenyans to access numerous government services, like business registration, passport application, filing tax returns, and applying for birth and marriage certificates. The actions below should be followed to register with eCitizen:
- Verify your email address is active.
- Look up ecitizen.go.ke
- Put your complete names exactly as they appear on your passport or national ID.
- Type in your ID number.
- Please provide your phone number and email address.
- Verify the link that was supplied to your email address to activate your eCitizen account.
- For your eCitizen account, create a password.
- Your phone will get an SMS verifying the activation of your account.
Why is the eCitizen portal important?
The eCitizen is important because it is a one-stop shop for a lot of services and Agencies such as;
- Department of Immigration Services,
- Ministry of Land, Housing, and Urban Development
- Department of Criminal Investigations
- Business Registration Services
- Kenya Revenue Authority
- Registrar of Marriages
- Civil Registration of Persons
- Boma Yangu
- National Transport and Safety Authority
- Higher Education Loans Board
How to register a business in Kenya| Top 7 easy steps
To understand how to register a business in Kenya, there are a couple of steps that are taken to ensure that the process is done properly. Those steps are listed below;
1 – Enter the eCitizen site
Open your eCitizen account and log in. Clicking the signup button will walk you through the straightforward process of creating an account, and after you’re done, the system will send you an email for confirmation. Click the provided link.
Create a password for your eCitizen account, validate the link that was supplied to your email address, and your account will be activated once an SMS confirmation is issued to your phone. This is the most important of the steps to know how to register a business in Kenya.
2 – Submit the name of your company
The second most crucial step in understanding how to register a business in Kenya is name-availability verification. Start by submitting your name via the Business Registration Services and initiate the process for name search. You will just need to click Continue after finishing the search, evaluate, and submit your item. There will be a search letter and 850 Ksh in invoices produced.
3 – Payment
The action entails paying for the application. The website provides instructions for making a Mpesa payment. The government acquired an M-pesa Pay Bill Number, which will enable users to pay for products and services via the M-pesa Merchant Service.
Once the funds have been received, confirm the task’s completion on the portal and watch for feedback. To understand how to register a business in Kenya, this step is crucial because payment confirms the process.
4 – Obtain proof of name registration
You can press the complete button after getting a payment confirmation notification. Your application will be placed in a queue, and you will learn within 1-2 working days whether your company is one of Kenya’s registered ones.
The procedure of registering a business in Kenya has been significantly streamlined by the Internet system. The procedure now takes less time, which is a significant advance from the past. Business registration services provide services in a prompt, dependable, and effective manner.
5 – Download your certificate of incorporation
You will receive a notice to the registered email you provided once your business registration is complete. To view your company’s current status, go into your eCitizen account.
A certificate of incorporation, which certifies that your company is officially registered in the name you choose, will be given to you. It also includes information about the registration date. Download the incorporation certificate. It serves as your documentation of business registration.
This certificate is required for all your formal business actions, including contract signing, creating a company bank account, funding applications, tender applications, and more.
6 – Safeguard your company’s name
Now that it has been registered, your business name is your property, and you must keep it safe. Many ambitious entrepreneurs are searching for a catchy company name for their own ventures, so if yours is not taken, you risk losing it.
7 – Establish a Business Bank Account
You must form a business bank to separate your personal and corporate funds. You may build your company’s credit history and simplify bookkeeping with the aid of a business bank account
Additionally, it makes it simpler for you to obtain a bank lending facility. Your clients and suppliers will see you more favourably if you have a business bank account. Following the steps on how to register a business in Kenya, opening a corporate account is evidence that the process is complete.
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Business owners and prospective business owners should be reminded that once there is a plan and a business in place, the next logical question to ask is how to register a business in Kenya, as the advantages of registering a business far outweigh running a business without an identity.