Learn about the Legal Requirements for Starting a Business in Kenya. Understand the licenses needed for foreigners and Kenyan citizens and where to get them.
Getting started, the first steps
If you are thinking of starting a business, then it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with all the legal requirements you need to satisfy. Begin by visiting the website of the Nairobi City Council or going to their offices. Here, you will be able to learn about all the documents required and the process of securing them. It is also important that you visit the KRA website. This site will instruct you on how taxes are charged and when they should be paid. If you are registering a company, you need to consult a lawyer for details about documentation and tax requirements. Below is a breakdown of the basic legal requirements for launching a business.
Register your company with KRA or Ecitizen
A business can either be registered as a company or by registering the business name. To register a company, it will cost you around Kshs. 20,000. It is advisable to have this process done by an attorney. It will take up to 2 weeks to finalize the registration process. You will then get a certificate of incorporation.
To register a business name, you need to visit Huduma centre and perform a name search. You will have to provide at least three names for your business. The charge for each name is Kshs 100. The name search lasts for three days. When the check is done, you can pick the name of your choice. The registration will take 5 days and cost Kshs 1,000.
The name search and company registration also be done online through ectizen portal. For foreigners, it is advisable that you have a Kenyan Representative or partners to make your approval work easier
Get a Business Permit or License
A business should also get authorization from the City Council. The cost for a permit will be dependent on the size of your business premises and the industry you are venturing into. Consult the local city council officials on the cost for a permit. You will get a receipt and a certificate for the permit.
You only need a permit if you are opening a physicals location.
Fire Safety Certificate
All businesses should have fire safety certification. Generally, businesses should have a fire extinguisher and meet all the appropriate fire safety standards. A fire safety officer will instruct you on what safety requirements are suited for your business and when you have met these requirements, you will be given a fire safety certificate.