Registering a company in Kenya today is much easier since the introduction of the online registration process. Initially, company registration involved costly and tedious procedures, which required one to move from office to office for document verification.
Recently, the Kenyan government introduced the e-Citizen online platform to ease access to government services. This was to encourage young business-minded Kenyans to start their businesses.
With e-Citizen, you can do a company name reservation and registration while at the comfort of your phone or computer as long as you have access to the internet.
In this article, I have outlined the process of registering a company in Kenya through the e-Citizen online platform.
Before you start your online company registration, you need to open an account on the e-Citizen portal. To create an account, go to the e-Citizen website or click here to log into your e-Citizen account if you already have one.
How to register a company in Kenya
The following are the steps to be followed when registering a company.
1. Business Name reservation
Business Name Reservations are made online on the e-Citizen portal. To reserve a business name, log in to your e-Citizen portal. Once you are logged in, click on the Business registration service option, then click on “Make Application.”
After you have clicked on “Make application,” It will direct you to a new page where you will be required to tap on “Business Name Registration.” The next step will be to select the type of business you want to register and its preferred name.
If you want to register for a sole proprietorship, choose Business Name Registration. Also, if you wish to register a Private Limited Company, select the option that says so.
Name searches are processed within 24 hours and from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays except on public holidays. You can process only one name at a time. If the name search is approved, the name can be reserved for 30 days, within which you can pay and register the Business name.
If the name is rejected, it means that either someone has already used it or does not comply with the public policy. The entire business reservation will cost you Ksh. 150.
However, you need the following information when applying for a name reservation; Business name suggestions, physical address, Postal address, two recent passport-sized photos, your age, Your legal names as they appear on your national ID, and your gender.
Business Name Reservation is the first step into registering your company in Kenya.
2. Business Name Registration
You will receive an email notifying you if the business name reservation is successful. You will require a qualified and registered lawyer. The work of the lawyer is to prepare the Memorandum and Articles of association for your company. After you have received the notification about the availability of your business name, you can proceed to register the business name using the following procedure.
- Log in to your e-Citizen portal and select “Business Registration.”
- Click on the “Add a business” button and enter your valid business name to search for it.
- After the name is found, select it and click “Next.”
- You will be required to choose your role and pay for the registration
- Download the invoice and the statement of particulars, sign it, and return to e-Citizen. You will be notified about the submission.
- Download and print your Business Name Registration certificate
Once you have submitted all the required information for company registration, each director will be required to sign the Memorandum of association and other documents. These documents include;
- Form CR1. This is the application for company registration
- Form CR2, which is the Memorandum
- Form CR8. Notice of Residential Address of Directors
- Notice of Nominal Capital Share
- Cessation Form. (This form is only applicable for applicants who are upgrading their business to a limited company)
Once all the forms have been filled, you will submit them to the Registrar of Companies Office at the nearest Huduma Center.
If the registration is approved, you will receive a certificate of incorporation within two to three weeks after submitting registration documents. Registration cost for a Company is Ksh. 10,000 while for sole proprietorships is Ksh. 1,000.
After registering a company, you are required to open a company bank account. You can choose either a local bank or international banks such as Barclays Bank. Once the bank account is opened, you must deposit your share capital immediately then commence the companies business activities.
Having shown you the necessary procedure when registering a company online, you do not need to worry about what to do to register your own company. However, some people find this to be too confusing and therefore look for firms that offer company registration services at a fee.
You should also note that the government requires one to register with three relevant organizations before starting a company. These organizations are the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).