How to Register a Company in Kenya

November 16, 2023

Opening a business is one of the best decisions to prosper. Working 9-5 is a great way to maintain a secure and sustainable lifestyle. But you never get the true sense of freedom unless you decide to explore the world alone. 

But the key here is doing things the right way.

When you want to do business in Kenya, you must register your company the right way to avoid future issues, both legal and logistical.

In this post, we’re going over company registration in Kenya and what you need to do. Consider this post your Kickstarter to become a business owner in the country.

How to Open a Company in Kenya?

As we said, you must go through the right channels and follow the procedure to ensure smooth sailing. Successful companies such as BetZillion KE and others have done the same.

In this section, let us take you through the exact steps of registering a company in Kenya. 

Choosing the Type of Business Entity

Choosing the right business entity is a crucial step when you do a company registration in Kenya. You must factor in aspects such as the nature and size of your business, taxation, liability, and compliance requirements. 

Sole Proprietorships or Partnerships are usually the way to go for small enterprises. They offer simplicity and less regulatory burden. 

On the other hand, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are ideal for businesses seeking to limit personal liability and enhance credibility in the market.

Then there are Non-Profit Organizations. Essentially, they cater to charitable activities and enjoy certain tax exemptions. 

The bottom line is that you must pick the right entity type to register your business in Kenya. 

Business Name Registration

In Kenya, business name registration is a mandatory step for legal recognition. You start by checking name availability at the Registrar of Companies. You can collect the list of documents that you must submit. Also, you’ll need to pay a fee. 

This process ensures exclusivity and legal protection of your business name. If you truly want to build credibility for your business, establishing a business identity is critical.

Preparation of Documents

The next step to register your business in Kenya is preparing documents. According to current legislation, the essential documents include: 

  • * A duly filled application form 
  • * A copy of the National ID or Passport for the proprietor(s)
  • * PIN certificates
  • * Passport-size photos 

As it’s a company you’re registering, a Memorandum and Articles of Association, CR1, CR2, CR8, and Statement of Nominal Capital forms are also needed. 

To make the registration process as smooth as possible, you must accurately assemble these documents and submit them to the Registrar of Companies.

Online Registration via eCitizen

As we live in the internet era, it only makes sense that online registration of businesses is possible. In Kenya, it’s the eCitizen portal that streamlines the process. 

In case you’re not aware, this digital platform simplifies the process as it allows you to submit applications, upload necessary documents, and even make payments online! 

It’s a convenient, time-saving solution that enhances efficiency and accessibility in the business registration process.

Finalizing Registration and Obtaining Certificates

You’re on the last mile stretch now. When we say finalizing the business registration process, we mean collecting the relevant certificates issued in your business’s name in Kenya. 

Once your application is approved and you pay all the fees, the registrar issues essential documents such as:

  • Certificate of Incorporation 
  • Business Registration Certificate for sole proprietorships and partnerships 

Collecting these certificates, either digitally through eCitizen or physically from the registrar’s office, marks the completion of the registration process, legally recognizing the business entity.

Registration Fees and Timelines 

The cost of registering a company in Kenya and the duration for business registration in Kenya vary based on the type of entity you choose while registering. 

For sole proprietorships and partnerships, the fee is relatively low, approximately KES 1,000. The best part is it doesn’t take longer than a few days. 

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) face higher fees. It typically ranges from KES 10,000 to KES 20,000. This process also takes a bit longer, typically around 2 to 3 weeks, due to the more complex documentation required.

Non-profit organizations, like NGOs, have completely different fee structures and timelines. The registration fee for NGOs is about KES 16,000, and the process can take up to 90 days.

Common Challenges and Solutions 

As a business owner, you should be prepared to face several challenges. High taxation and complex regulatory requirements are often the biggest ones. It’s especially troublesome for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 

Access to financing is another major challenge. If you don’t have financing, you may face difficulties securing loans or investments. Of course, it’s due to the inherently high interest rates.  

Infrastructure issues, such as unreliable electricity and internet services, can also slow operations. 

Market competition can be intense for some industries, and businesses must continually innovate to stay relevant. 

Lastly, political instability and corruption can create an unpredictable business environment. It’ll affect long-term planning and investment decisions for your business growth. 

Is it Profitable to Do Business in Kenya? 

Owning a business in Kenya offers substantial profit potential, particularly in growing sectors like technology, agriculture, and tourism. 

Thanks to the country’s strategic location as an East African hub, it’s possible. The middle class is growing, and the ongoing infrastructure improvements create opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation. 


From our discussion today, it’s apparent that registering a company in Kenya involves quite a few steps. It all starts with selecting the right business entity and ends with you completing the process through the eCitizen portal. 

While fees and timeframes vary by entity type, the streamlined online system simplifies the process for interested entrepreneurs. 

However, challenges like complex regulations, high taxation, political instability, and market competition can hinder the entrepreneurial landscape in Kenya.

But if you overcome all of these and learn how to register a company in Kenya, you can secure a significant profit potential. 

The best part is that you now have our guide to take you through the process. 

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