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Starting a business / company in Kenya

The principal types of business enterprises in Kenya are:

  •   Registered Companies (Private and Public)
  •    Branch offices of companies registered outside Kenya
  •    Partnerships
  •    Sole Proprietorships; and
  •    Societies

Company Registration

In order to register your company, you will need to;

  • Reserve a company name and get it approved Registrar of Companies
  • Prepare the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association.
  • Complete  various forms including Statement of Nominal Capital, Particulars of Directors and Shareholders, Situation of Registered Office and Certificate of a Lawyer involved in the Formation of the Company,
  • Stamp the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association and the Statement of Nominal Capital at the Lands Office together with payment of stamp duty on Nominal Capital.
  • File all the forms together with one stamped copy of the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association with the Registrar of Companies.

You will then be issued with a  Certificate of Incorporation by the Registrar of Companies. For public companies, in addition to the Certificate of Incorporation, the Registrar will issue a Trading Certificate

Opening a branch office of an overseas company

An overseas company wishing to open a branch office in Kenya should deliver the following to the Registrar of Companies:

  •   A certified copy of the Charter, Statutes or Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company, or other instruments defining the constitution of the company
  • A list of the directors and secretary of the company, giving full names, nationality and other directorships of companies in Kenya;
  • A statement of all existing charges entered into by the company affecting properties in Kenya;
  • Names and postal addresses of one or more persons resident in Kenya authorised to accept, on behalf of the company, service of notices required to be served on the company;
  • Full address of the registered or principal office of the company in its home country and;
  • Full address of place of business in Kenya.

Patents and Trade Marks in Kenya

Patents are regulated by the Industrial Property Act and administered by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), while trademarks are regulated by the Trade and Service Marks Act (Cap 506) and administered by the Registrar of Trademarks at KIPI. The duration of trademarks is seven years from the date of filing and renewable every 14 years.

Work permits in Kenya

The Government allows investors to have key expatriate staff in senior management positions or where locals with specific skills are not available. Work permits for such expatriates are issued by the Immigration Department and are valid for one to two years, renewable on application.

Import and Export Procedures in Kenya

There is no import licensing except for a few items restricted for security, health or environmental reasons detailed in the Imports, Exports and Essential Supplies Act (Cap 502).

During the Budget for Fiscal Year 2001/02 the Minister agreed to waive the 2.75% Import Declaration Form (IDF) fees applicable on imported goods used for manufacturing goods for exports under the Tax Remission for Export Office (TREO) scheme. Manufactures under the TREO will however have to pay Kshs. 5000 which is processing fees.


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