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Guide to starting a business in Kenya

Steps involved in registering a business in Kenya
Once you have planned how you will want your business to perform, you are now ready to register and start operation. In order to operate a business in Kenya, these are the steps to follow:-
  1. Name search: You need a business name. In order to ensure nobody else is registered under that name, you must request in writing, the Attorney General’s office through Registration of Companies at Sheria House, to do a search. The search process takes two working days and costs Ksh.100.
  2. Prepare Memorandum and Article of Association: These documents describe the objectives, rules, subscribers and authorized share capital of your company.
  3. Pay Stamp Duty: The amount of money that you pay depends on your declared nominal capital. You begin by collecting four forms from the Kenya Revenue Authority at Times Towers. Two copies go to the Lands Registry; one is retained by you and the other by the bank.
  4. Declaration of compliance: A commissioner of oath must sign this form on your behalf.
  5. File Deeds at Registrars office: You then need to file your documents at Companies Registry.
  6. This includes your memorandum and articles of association. There is a varied fee attached to this.
    Register for a Personal Identity Number, VAT & PAYE: This takes a day to register at Times Tower and is free. These documents are for tax purposes.
    Register for NHIF: NHIF stands for National Hospital Insurance Fund. This is mandatory medical contribution for your employees. Register at the NHIF building situated at Community Hill. You are to do this if you have more than 5 employees.
    Register for NSSF: NSSF stands for National Social Security Fund. It is mandatory to contribute to your employees’ retirement fund. Registration is done at the NSSF building at the bottom of Valley Road.
    Register for a Business Permit: This application is made to the City Council. You will need office space prior to submitting this application.
  7. Get your Company Seal. This is the last bit. You can get good quality company seals from professional seal makers.


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Although, Kenya does not need much paper works when starting a business, still there are various consideration to put on top with your priority to start one. Branding is always important, getting the right business name and unique taglines or slogan would be helpful, some tips maybe available here at
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