Gone are the days when anyone who wanted to start a business in Kenya had to hire a crooked broker, employ the services of an expensive lawyer or endure long queues at Nairobi’s Sheria House in order to register a business. With ecitizen, an online government portal, you can now register a business name online.
- Go to eCitizen and create an account.
- Click on the Office of the Attorney General’s link.
- Next, perform an online business name search.
- The cost of the business name search is Kshs 150 (roughly $1.5) per name.
- Next, choose a payment method. There are five options; M-pesa, Debit/Credit/Prepaid card, Airtel Money, Mobikash, E-agent or cash.
- Example: To Pay your bill (KES. KES 150) via MPESA. Follow the Steps Below. Once you receive a successful reply from Mpesa. Click the complete button.
- Go to M-PESA on your phone
- Select Pay Bill option
- Enter Business no. 206206
- Enter Account no as provided in the payment instructions.
- Enter the Amount. KES 150
- Enter your M-PESA PIN and Send
- You will receive a confirmation SMS from MPESA
- Once you receive the confirmation message, click Confirm on the ecitizen website.
- You will then be directed to your dashboard where you can view your billing summary.
The business name search takes 24 hours. If the business name is available, the status in your dashboard changes to “Reserved”, if not, it changes to “Not available”.
Once you confirm the business name is reserved continue to the next step below.
Registering a Reserved Business Name
- You will need the reserved business name number to proceed.
- Click on Make Application.
- Populate the required fields and follow the prompts.
- You need to specify whether you business is a sole proprietorship or partnership.
- You will also need the plot number, a telephone contact and details of the business owner including national ID number and KRA PIN number.
- Once you are done click submit and pay Kes 50 via your payment method of choice.
- You will get a confirmation once your business name is registered.
- You can print the business name registration at any time.
- If you want a certified copy of the certificate, you can apply online at a cost of Kes 250.
Tips and Warnings
- If you get stuck, call the helpline +254 700072929. This number is picked by the Attorney General’s office. Explain that you have an ecitizen question and they will transfer you to the Companies Registry.
- A business name in Kenya is reserved for 30 days. Once 30 days lapse before you register the name, you will have to begin the process again.
- The system occassionally suffers from glitches and traffic overload so in some cases you may need to try several times before the registering a reserved name goes through.