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In order to open your own business in Kenya you must first decide what type of company you want to operate.

We have listed below information on the process of starting and running a business in Kenya in the form of a practical step-by-step guide, clearly outlining all the regulatory requirements as well as the timescales and costs associated with each step.

How to Register a Local Company

A local company is a company incorporated in Kenya. The registration process for the various forms of local company is the same though the requirements and costs vary.

Limited by Shares

A company is limited by shares if the liablility of its members is limited by the companys´s articles to any amount unpaid on the shares held by the members.

Limited by Guarantee

A company is limited by guarantee if it does not have a share capital and the liablity of its members is limited to the extents of the guarantee committment in whatever form in the event of its liquidation.

Limited/Unlimited Partnership

A partnership is the relationship existing between two or more persons who join to carry on a trade or business. Each person contributes money, property, labor or skill, and expects to share in the profits and losses of the business.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business with one owner who pays personal income tax on profits from the business. With little government regulation, they are the simplest business to set up or take apart, making them popular among individual self-contractors or business owners.

How to Register a Branch Entity or Subsidiary in Kenya

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.

How to Buy an Existing Company

An already existing business will have done most ground work structures. A business plan and marketing method should already be in place. Existing employees should have experience that one can draw on; many of the business environment problems will have been discovered and solved already.


The Kenya Business Guide (KBG) is a think-tank that seeks to support the improvement and strengthening of the business environment in Kenya by providing access to information on key features of both the private and public sector prerequisites in the effective functioning of business. The KBG works in the intersection of the private and public sectors developing curated and value-added information to assist leaders in making more effective decisions.

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