Licenses And Permits Needed To Start And Run A Business In Kenya

    The purpose of every businessperson is to make a profit. A well-running business requires minimization of the cost of production and maximizing profits. To start a business in Kenya you need to register and obtain the necessary business licenses and permits. A businessperson who does not secure a business permit will always be in trouble with government officials. There are a number of businesses that a person can opt to start in Kenya. Some of the businesses include the following:

    1. Sole Proprietorship
    2. Partnership
    3. Company
    4. Corporation
    5. Cooperative

    To start any of the above businesses, a businessperson has to seek Permits and Licenses from the government so that one can be allowed to operate. There are various permits needed to start and run a business in Kenya where some are under the County government while others are under the National government. Some of them are applicable online while others are manually applied. After a period of time mostly one year the business person is required to renew some of them where one must show the license/permit of the previous year. The licenses/permits required are as follows:

    1. Company Registration. To register your business name you need to visit the Huduma center or online through the eCitizen portal to search for a relevant business name. Three names are needed to choose the one that matches your business and each name is charged Ksh.150 the process takes three days. Once you get your favorite business name you are now eligible to register at a fee of Ksh.1000 the process takes 5 days. For the case of a company the registration fee ranges between Ksh.25000 to Ksh.30000 a process of two weeks in which the businessperson is issued with a certificate of incorporation and a company seal at a fee of Ksh.2500.
    2. Advertising Signage License. For example, billboards, banners, or light boxes. Charges mainly depend on the nature of the business, the size of the signage, and where it is located.
    3. Fire Safety Certificate. A business that does not have fire extinguishers cannot be permitted to operate since there will be no issuing of the Fire Safety Certificate.
    4. Food and Health Permits. For example, if you are operating a hotel, clinic, bakery, or salon and it happens that a Health inspection comes to the business area for inspection and you meet the requirements,a certificate will be issued to you after one week.
    5. City Council Business Permit. Every businessperson requires this license to operate in part of the county which is charged according to the size of the business. Medium-sized businesses City County Business Permit costs Ksh.10000 per year. All you need is to visit County or Municipal council offices for payment and collection of your permit.


    Recently the government of Kenya has come up with another permit known as the Unified Business Permit which enables a Businessperson to apply for all the licenses under a single application. Licenses and permits help the government to identify legal and illegal businesses. Therefore it is advisable for all Businesspersons to Register their Businesses before setting up.

    Tags: starting a business in kenya legal requirements, legal requirements for starting a business, business licenses and permits kenya, business permit for foreigners in kenya, business license in kenya, types of business permits in kenya, single business permit kenya

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