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How to Register a Business in South Africa

It is a requirement to register a business in South Africa before you can open doors to customers. Regardless of whether it is a small business or a large corporation, you need to register it. The Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) is in charge of registering businesses in South Africa.

The government insists on business registration to ensure they pay taxes and also comply with laws. In this article, I will take you through the process of registering a business in South Africa.

Some of the benefits you will enjoy when you register your business in South Africa include:

  • Get financial assistance from the government
  • Gain credibility and trust from customers
  • Get CIPC certification
  • Get investors

Read also: Best business incubators in South Africa. 

How to Register a Business on CIPC

You can register your business in South Africa directly from the CIPC website or through a bank that offers the service like Nedbank, or First National Bank.

Requirements of Registering a Business on CIPC in South Africa

To register a business in South Africa, you need to have the following documents:

  • A certified copy of ID
  • Non-residents need to have a copy of their passport
  • Memorandum of incorporation for a company

Read more: Legal requirements of starting a business in South Africa.

Steps of Registering a Business Directly on CIPC

Once you have the above documents, follow these steps to register your business on CIPC:

  • Visit CIPC website
  • Click on “Private Company Registration”
  • Click on “Customer Login”
  • Fill in all the required fields and then log in
  • Click on Register a New Company
  • Enter the ID numbers of the Director(s) and click “Save”
  • Click “Continue” and in the next screen, complete the company’s required fields

Before you can register your business in South Africa, it would be best that you first get a business name. However, you can still register your business on CIPC without a business name. You will be issued with a registration number which will automatically become your business name.  

You can search and reserve a company name on the CIPC website. You need to select a unique business name. Once you have identified a unique business name that is not in use by another business, you can reserve it. You can reserve a business name for between 7 and 21 days. After that, if you have submitted all the documents, you have your company register for between 3 and 5 business days.

Transfer of a reserved Name and Extension of Validity Period

A reserved name is valid for 6 months from the approval date. It can be extended at a fee of R30 for an additional 60 days. You can also transfer a reserved name to another persona.

Only the person under whose name is reserved can transfer a reserved business name by filing a signed notice together with the prescribed fee. The transfer of a reserved name does not lead to an extension of the validity period.

Read also: How to open a business bank account in South Africa. 

Cost of Business Registration in South Africa

The cost of business registration depends on the type of business. It costs R50 to reserve a business name while business registration costs R125 for a private company and R475 for a non-profit company registered by members.

Types of companies in South Africa CIPC 

You can register any of the following types of businesses in South Africa:

  • Non-profit-making companies. This is a company that is started to benefit the public is not mainly interested in making profits.
  • Profit-making companies. This is company whose primary goal is to make a profit.
  • Personal Liability Company. This is company whose directors are personally responsible for its debts and liabilities.
  • Public company. This is company that is traded through a stock exchange and has issued securities through an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
  • Private company. This is a privately owned company.

Read also: Profitable business ideas in South Africa. 

Summary on How to Register your Company in South Africa

Once you have registered your business, you can start operations. Among the benefits of registering a business in South Africa is that you gain credibility and trust from customers. You can also easily get investors for your business. You also need a business name when opening a business bank account in South Africa. 

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