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How to Register & Start a Business In Kenya

Doing Business in Kenya

Kenya has been described as the land of opportunities. With a booming population and a great GDP, the country has grown to become a force to be reckoned with in the business world. Kenya currently stands as one of the top destinations for investment in Africa, and in recent years has been able to produce Forbes listed millionaires. It is a relatively peaceful country with lots of welcoming and homely people.

If you are looking to invest in a country with great potentials for yielding high returns, then Kenya is the place for you. But before that is done, here is detailed information on starting a legal business in Kenya.

What Kind of businesses are in Kenya?

Here is a classification of the type of companies you find in Kenya, this is like it is in most countries of the world
1) Legally Registered Companies: These are companies registered by the Kenyan company registration organization called “The Registrar of companies.” These companies are legal taxpaying companies.
2) Joint Partnerships: This is also known as partnership business. This kind of business can be found in Kenya. It is a business where two or more people or organizations come together to achieve a common business goal and make profit.
3) Sole Proprietorship: This is the one man show. This kind of business is the opposite o the joint partnership. In the sole proprietorship business, the business is owned by one person.
4) Societies: There are also business societies in Kenya.

How do I go about registering my company in Kenya?

Well, to register your business/company in Kenya, here is what you have to do:

1) Apply for a business name at a register of companies office in your state of choice in Kenya
2) Prepare and submit you memorandum of association to the register of company’s office.
3) You will be given forms to fill, make sure you complete all of them with accurate information. Examples of forms that may be given to you include situation of registered office and details of directors and shareholders if any.
4) Pay for stamp duties and sign all the documents and forms
5) Submit all forms and documents to the register of companies

The above is all it takes to register a business in Kenya, after following the above process duly; you will be issued a certificate of incorporation by the registrar of companies.

Registering a company in Kenya from overseas

These are the documents needed or the requirements for setting up a branch office in Kenya for oversea businesses. The requirements are also easy to get, they include;

1) You would need to present these documents:
a) Full business address
b) Business address of company headquarters
c) Names and address of company representatives in Kenya
d) A document showing all the existing projects embarked upon by the firm that affects Kenya

2) Official documents needed include
a) Copy of the charter
b) Articles of association
c) A list of directors and secretaries of company
d) Company constitution

You will be then be issued with an investment Certificate after your project has undergone an Environmental, Health and Security impact assessments depending on the sector.

Very important requirements as regarding doing business in Kenya

1. Business Name or Company Registration: You need to get your company registered at the registrar of companies. This is very vital as no professional business would be allowed to run without registration. This is to avoid illegal businesses filling up the place and not paying the required taxes. Getting your company registered in Kenya isn’t complicated, the Kenyan government has simplified the process of registration and almost anyone can walk in to the registration of Companies office and register his business. This would cost you 1000khs. You can also use a lawyer for this process.
2.) City Council Business Permit: To conduct business in Kenya, you need an annual permit from the city council. The city in which your business premises is located would need to grant you an operation permit to run your business in the city. This business permit is renewed every year to ensure you meet up with city standards of running a business. There are different requirements for different cities. Make sure you get your city council business permit or you run into problems with the local authorities causing your business to be fined or evicted. A council permit costs on average 8000khs
3.) Food/ Health business Permits: If you are in the consumer food and health industry in Kenya, You also require a special permit from the city health council after thorough inspection of your premises. Being in the consumer food business you need to be very careful and adhere to high safety standards. You pay a certification fee as well which varies according to city.
4.) Fire Safety Certificate: Every business in Kenya is required to have a fire safety certificate, this is to ensure safety for workers and inhabitants around. To be certified or issued the fire safety certificate, you need to have safety equipments like fire extinguishers.

In conclusion, it is very easy to do business in Kenya legally. Follow the steps above and you are good to go.

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Orisaemeka Onyeneke
Professional Risk Manager/Adviser | Content Writer | Entrepreneur and a contributor @ Contact me for business!