Starting A Business

                The Registrar of Companies is responsible for business registration in Kenya. He/she issues certificates of compliance for foreign companies, certificates of incorporation for local companies and certificates of registration for sole proprietorships.

                Firms must then register their businesses with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), obtain a business permit from the County depending on the type of business activity and also register with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).

                The principal types of business enterprises in Kenya are:

                • Sole Proprietorships

                • Registered Companies (Private and Public)

                • Branch offices of companies registered outside Kenya; and

                • Partnerships


                Registering a Business Name (Sole Proprietor)  

                Business name (sole proprietorship) is a business structure operated and owned by one person. The owner is the   sole decision maker in the business and is liable for all the losses and returns of the business. As the legal costs of   formation are minimal (e.g. a lawyer is not required to draw memorandum and articles of association), it is an attractive business structure for smaller entrepreneurs.

                An investor can register a Sole Proprietorship in Person or Online.

                For more information about the required documentation, fees and processes to register a Sole Proprietorship, please visit the KenInvest E-Regulations Portal

                Company Registration  

                The Companies Act, 2015, assented by the President on 11th September 2015, makes it possible for a single person to form a private and a public company. Private companies are still restricted to a maximum of 50 members.

                A local company is a company incorporated in Kenya. It may take the form of:

                • A company limited by shares

                • A company limited by guarantee

                • Unlimited company

                The registration process for the various forms of local company is the same though the requirements and costs vary.

                For more information about the required documentation, fees and processes to register a local company, please visit the KenInvest E-Regulations Portal 


                Companies incorporated outside of Kenya can do business in Kenya by registering a branch. The registrar of companies issues a certificate of compliance once all the requirements have been met.

                For more information about the required documentation, fees and processes to register a local branch of an overseas company, please visit the KenInvest E-Regulations Portal


                A partnership is a form of business structure between two or more people who have a common view of making profit. The level of financial risk in partnerships is less when compared to sole proprietors as any loss incurred is shared between all the partners. Since it also involves more than one person's expertise, the chances of the business failing is also reduced. In addition, the formalities of registration (cost, requirements, duration) are minimal making it an attractive business structure.

                Registrations of partnerships can be done online. For more information about the required documentation, fees and processes to register a partnership, please visit the KenInvest E-Regulations Portal


                You can reduce to reduce the bureaucracy you face in relation to licensing, immigration and negotiating tax incentives and exemptions from the relevant authorities by registering with the IPB. In order to do this, you will need to;

                • Engage legal advice in Kenya and register your business.

                • Fill the Investment Application Form and put together a business proposal for the IPB that contain the following information:

                  • The intended investment

                  • Capital to be invested

                  • Size of land required together with a preliminary Land Plan

                  • Number of jobs to be created

                  • Local content absorption i.e. the kind/type of raw materials to be used from the county

                  • Technology transfer- Details of how the investment will transfer skills to the county

                • Submit Application Form + Certificate of Incorporation + Business Plan + Articles and memorandum of association to the Machakos IPB.

                You will be then be issued with an investment Certificate and memorandum of understanding, outlining your obligations as an investor, after your project has undergone an Environmental, Health and Security impact assessments depending on the sector.

                This investment certificate qualifies your business for various county and national incentives that may include but are not limited to:

                • Fiscal incentives such as capital deductions, investment allowances tax credits and exemptions

                • Waiver of levies

                • Land for investments

                • Partnerships with the government and key business-friendly stakeholders

                • Skill and training.