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What You Need to Start a Business in Kenya

Cyber Cafe
Cyber Cafe business (Image/Courtesy)

Starting a Business in Kenya can be quite daunting and confusing especially if you are doing it for the first time. If done right, entrepreneurship can be quite rewarding and lucrative. You can read about some of the most profitable businesses in Kenya here. Once you have identified the kind of business you want, there are standard requirements you will need to comply with. It is better to get all that covered so you are on the right side with the law so you can utilize your time to focus on growing your business.

This article will take you through what you need to do to build your business up

Business Plan

Many businesses fail because people fail to plan. You need to research the market and how existing businesses are getting the job done. Borrow tips from those you admire and find out what your target market wants. Think of the business thoroughly, from the start, method of doing it, what is required, marketing, and execution. Write down a business plan. Include capital, legal requirements, location, employees, and try to make a projection.

Thinking your business through two, five, and ten years helps you identify a goal you want to achieve. It is easier to work towards something than to wake up every day with no goal. The plan will also help to structure your business, making day-to-day activities measurable and productive.

Read: Kenya’s Small Businesses Badly Affected by Covid-19 – Facebook

Legal Requirements

1. Business Name/ Company Registration

Business name registration is ideal for small businesses especially if you cannot afford to pay for company registration. To register a business name, you will need to conduct a name search. Visit Huduma centre, pay Sh100, and give at least three different name suggestions for the search to be conducted. After three days, you can go back and select the name depending on availability. You will then be required to pay Sh1,000 for a certificate. That way, no one else will be able to use your business name. If you have a bigger budget, registering a company will cost you about Sh25,000.

2. Obtain City Council Business Permit

This is crucial for any business with a location. Without this, you will not be able to run any kind of business activities. The cost depends on the size of your premises and the type of business you run. For instance,  standard cooking or baking business can cost you about Sh8,000 a year. If you are not sure about the details, visit city hall and some city council employees can visit your premises and advise you on the way forward.

Read also: Digitized Tender Management System for SMEs, Scale, Launches in Kenya

3. Fire Safety Certificate

All businesses are required to have a certificate showing that their fire safety is certified. You are required to have at least one fire extinguisher on the premises with regular service checks from a fire inspector.

4. Food/Health Permit

Food-related businesses such as restaurants, bakeries, butcheries, and even beverages require health permits. Once you apply for one, a health inspector will visit the premises and ascertain that your hygiene levels are up to the required levels before you are certified. You will be issued with a receipt upon payment and receive the permit in seven days.

Nairobi county recently launched the Unified Business Permit that contains all the permits required to run a business within the city.

The Unified business permit comprises the single business permit, fire safety certificate, health certificate, food hygiene, and advertising signage.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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