Starting a business in laikipia


Searching for Relevant Licenses

Businesses operating in Kenya are typically required to obtain one or more licenses and permits, depending on the activities of their enterprise.  There are normally two types of business licenses:

Sector-specific licenses – these licenses are issued to firms operating in a specific line of business (e.g., mining, banking, telecoms) by the agencies charged with regulating those sectors.

Non-sector specific or cross-cutting licenses – these licenses are issued to firms undertaking activities that are subject to regulation but may fall across many business types.  Examples include environmental, immigration, liquor, health, and construction permits.

Virtually all businesses in Kenya must also obtain a Single Business Permit, which is issued by the local government authority where the business is physically situated.

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

  1. Reserve a unique company name at the Huduma Center

The procedure begins by making a payment for a name reservation at the cashier’s desk at the Huduma Center (Nanyuki, Commissioner’s Office). A payment slip, together with an application for reservation of a company name (Form CR14), is submitted to the counter service provided by the Huduma Center. The name is reserved for 30 days and can be extended to a maximum period of 60 days from the time of reservation.

In addition to the Huduma Center, the name reservation can also be done through a text-messaging system or online through the eCitizen portal.

Costs: 100 per name reservation.

Huduma centre located at Nanyuki county commissioners offices along Nyeri-Narumoru highway

Here is How to Register a Company in Kenya

  1. Reserve your business name

First, you will do a search of the name and reserve it for up to 30 days. This has never been an expensive task as it takes only Sh100. It can be done at the Huduma center or via the eCitizen portal.  It’s at this stage whereby you will also need to come up with one specific nature of business e.g. Tours & Travel.

Please note that you are only allowed to perform one name search at a time.

You can perform a name search at any of the Huduma Centers or visit the eCitizen website

  1. You will fill the company registration form.
  2. The next requirement will be to get a registered lawyer to prepare the Memorandum and Articles of Association which is modifiable.
  3. Once your company name has been reserved, you will need to provide your information that will be used to prepare your company documents.

Here is some of the information that you will need to collect;

Director(s) Details

  • Full names – your full names as displayed on your ID/Passport will be used on the application
  • Occupation – you will need to state your occupation e.g. IT Consultant, marketing consultant, finance consultancy, consultant, etc. If you don’t have any occupation, don’t worry, you can simply put either businessman or businesswoman.
  • Postal address – you will need to provide your postal address. If you don’t have one, you can register it with Posta Kenya.
  • Physical Residential address – This information will be used on Form CR8 to comply with the Company Act which requires all directors to provide their residential address. You’ll need to provide LR number or house number, building name (if any), street name, town name, country.
  • Share Allocations – Each director will need to be allocated at least 1 share. Remember that the total number of shares available for allocation is 1,000 shares. You can plan to allocate your 1,000 shares using percentages such as 60%/40%, 50%/50%. However, if you are just the sole director then you can have 100% share ownership.
  • Proof of Identity documents – you will need to provide the following documents for registration, without them your application will be rejected.
  • Copy of ID or Passport – you can scan or photocopy your identification document
  • Copy of KRA PIN certificate – all Kenyan directors/shareholders will need to provide KRA PIN, however, foreigners won’t need to provide one for the registration
  • Photos – must have a clear background and show all your facial features, just like a passport photo. Please avoid submitting photos that have someone wearing sunglasses, hats; this could cause your application to be rejected by the Registrar.

Company Details

  • Company Name Suggestions – you’ll need to come up with up-to 2 company name that you would like to check its availability
  • Nature of business – with the new Company Act 2015, you can now do all trade of consultancy business without any restrictions.
  • Location of business premises – you will need to provide the location details of your office including LR Number or Plot Number, Building name (if any), Street name, Town name. If you don’t have a business premise yet, then you can provide your home address then make the changes later once you have secured business premises.

Once you have provided the above information, your company documents will be prepared and each director will be required to sign the Memorandum & other documents as follows;

  • Form CR1 – Application Form for Company Registration
  • Form CR2 – Memorandum
  • Form CR8 – Notice of Residential Address of Director(s)
  • Notice of Nominal Capital Share
  • Cessation Form (only applicable for applicants who are upgrading their business to a limited company)

Certificate of Incorporation

Upon signing your documents, you will have to submit all the documents and forms to the Registrar of Companies and pay an incorporation fee of 2800. If the registration is approved, you will receive the Certificate of Incorporation between 2- 3 weeks.

The registration fee is Ksh 10,000.


  1. After your company is registered, you can move forward to completing bank account opening. You can choose to open a corporate account with an internationally recognized bank such as HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Citibank, or with a local bank such as Bank of Africa, ABC Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank, and National Bank of Kenya.
  2. Immediately after the bank account opening, you are required to deposit the proposed share capital of the registered Kenya Company.
  3. Now you can commence business activities in Kenya with your new company
  1. Apply for company registration

This takes 12 days on average at a cost of KES 10,000.

  1. Register for taxes at the Kenya Revenue Authority

The personal tax identification number (PIN) of directors and the company tax identification number are required to register for VAT, local service tax, and the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) tax.

The PIN certificates of at least two signatories (2 directors or 2 shareholders or a director and the secretary) of the company are required. The directors must apply for personal PIN numbers online at

  1. Apply for a single business permit

A Single business permit is required for the smooth operation of any business in Laikipia and other towns in Kenya. The permit is important in ensuring that a business complies with the established rules for that specific type of business. The procedure for obtaining a business permit is the same but the cost might vary depending on the size, type, and location of the business.

Permit fees

Hypermarket                                Ksh.50,000

Large trader(50-100 employees)- Ksh.30,000

Large trader (21-50 employees) – Ksh. 20,000     Ksh.10,000

Medium Trader (5-20 employees) – Ksh. 10,000  Ksh.5,000

Up to 4 employees                          – 2500

Kiosk                                             – 2000

Another general merchant -2000

Hawker with motor vehicle           -2500

Hawker without motor vehicle      -2000

Small informal sector(shoe shiner)-1000

Semi-permanent trader(in verandah)-1500

Other informal traders                       -1500

The permit is valid for 1 year. The dates of payment are from 1st January -31st March the following year. Failure to adhere to the above dates attracts an interest of 10% on the principal amount every other month.

Procedure for applying for a single business permit.

If you intend to obtain a new business permit, you should go to the ward office and obtain a BR-1 form.

Fill the form and give it back to the ward licensing officer who pays your business a visit within a day to verify it.

The information obtained by the inspection team determines the fees to charge for the permit. The BR-1 form is then stamped and you are referred to the main office.

At the main office, the form is approved and the data entered into the Single Business Permit (Mbps) database. This enables a business to acquire an ID number that can be used for its reference.

This is followed by the generation of an invoice bill and payment is made to the cash office. Generation of the license is only possible after the payment is made

The business permit is then printed and signed and you are advised to collect it from the dispatch office.

Required Documents

  • Copy of certificate of incorporation
  • Proof of business ownership
  • National ID/Asylum Pass/ Passport No/ Alien ID

Required Information

  1. Business Name
  2. Postal Address of the Business
  3. Land zone and plot number
  4. Business physical address
  5. Activity code for the business
  6. Number of employees
  7. Personal ID name
  8. Details of whoever is obtaining the permit

Need for the Document

A Single business permit (Sbp) is required for the smooth operation of any business in Kenya. The permit is important in ensuring that a business complies with the established rules for that specific type of business. The procedure for obtaining a business permit is the same but the cost might vary depending on the size, type, and location of the business.

Other uses of the Document/Certificate

  • Required for loan approval
  • Required to obtain tenders from the government and institutions.
  1. Register with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF)

The National Social Security Fund will provide your employees with a lump-sum retirement benefit. You (employer) will provide a standard contribution of about 1% of salary, subject to a maximum of KES 400 per month. Half the contribution is deductible from the employee’s salary.

  1. Register with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF)

This can be done at the National Hospital Insurance Fund offices or at their website. The monthly contributions to NHIF help to offset the costs of medical treatment of your employees. This takes a day with no charges.

  1. Make a company seal

This is optional according to the Companies Act of 2015.  However, in practice companies still get seals made. Seal makers request a copy of the certificate of incorporation in order to make a company seal. This costs between KES 2,500 and KES 3,500.

Additional info

Any investor in Kenya, local or foreign, is required by law to register a company in Kenya. This can take the following forms:

  • Registration of business name in Kenya;
  • Incorporation and registration of a company in Kenya;
  • Registration of a foreign incorporated company as a branch office in Kenya.

The investor requires the approval of the project from competent authorities in health, environment, and security, as deemed necessary.

After the approval of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Health, and Security vetting has been received, KenInvest issues the investor with an Investment Certificate.


Special passes, work permits, and dependants pass from the Ministry of Immigration;

Special sector-specific licenses:

Agricultural production and distribution:

Food and cash crops license;

Sources: Deloitte, “Guide to Fiscal Information. Key Economies in Africa 2014/15”, pages 146-163, 2015. World Bank Group, “Doing Business. Paying Taxes Indicator”, 2015 2.4 Procedures and Requirements to Invest in Kenya