Top 4 Main Legal Requirements You Need To Start a Business in Kenya
Starting your own company is one of the best decisions you can make in your life. However, before having the company you need to make sure that you’ve met all the legal requirements of the Kenyan government. This includes registering your company which will enable you to get public procurement..
The first thing you must do is to go online to the Nairobi City Council/your county website and find out the kind of permits required to run your business legally. Another thing you might consider is going to your local City Council offices and talk to the officers. Ask them to explain the necessary documents you require and how to go about getting them. It’s very important that you speak to the local city council before going ahead with registration.
Another website you should visit for research is the KRA website. It will give you details on how V.A.T. taxes are charged and should be paid. You should also get advice from a lawyer about tax requirements
Here, we will share with you 4 legal requirements that will get you started. As always, ensure that you conduct further research about the particular industry you are planning to join before setting up the business.
Business Name or Company Registration
First, you will do a search of the name and reserve it for up to 30 days. This has never been an expensive task as it takes only Sh150. It can be done at Huduma Centre or via the eCitizen portal. It’s at this stage whereby you will also need to come up with one specific nature of business e.g. Tours & Travel.
Please note that you are only allowed to perform one name search at a time.
There are two ways you can register your business; you can start by registering your business name, this is ideal if you have a small budget and cannot be able to register a company yet.
You can register individually, as a sole-proprietor or if you are 2 or more people, as a partnership. After you’re done, you will get a certificate of registration for your business and nobody will be legally able to use your business name.
To register a limited company, it will cost you around Kshs. 20,000. It is advisable to have this process done by an lawyer. It will take up to 2 weeks to finalize the registration process. You will then get a certificate of incorporation. The lawyer can also assist you in getting a Tax PIN certificate for your business.
City Council Business Permit
For you to conduct business, you also need an annual business permit from the City Council. The details on the cost depend on the size of your premises and the industry you have chosen to do business in. For example, a regular sized bakery City Council permits costs Kshs. 8000 per year.
Talk to your local City Council officers on the cost and they may visit your premises to confirm the size of the location and they will advise on how to pay. You will get a receipt when you pay, and then the certificate itself after about a week. You can also visit their website for more information HERE.
Food/ Health Related Permits
If you are in an industry that requires health certification such as food, bakery, beverage, salon etc. You will require a Health Inspector to visit your place of business and after they have inspected your location, you will be certified. When you pay you to receive a receipt and about a week later, you get a certificate.This certificate is now to be included in your Unified Business Permit.
Fire Safety Certificate
Currently, all businesses are required to be Fire safety certified. This requires you to have at least a fire extinguisher and any other fire safety requirements a Fire safety inspector will advise you on, based on your business. After the inspection, you will be certified and get a Fire Safety Certificate. This certificate is also now to be included in your Unified Business Permit.