When you are thinking about starting a business in Nigeria, the first consideration you have is whether to incorporate a company or to operate as a registered business name. This article is for individuals who have decided to operate as a registered business name. If you are interested in understanding the benefits of incorporating a company, you may read our article here.
The process to follow in order to register your business name at the Corporate Affairs Commission is pretty straightforward. The steps are as follows:
- Search and reserve a name – Form CAC 1
To conduct a search, the CAC now has an online portal, which individuals can use to search for and reserve a business name. You can search and reserve a name online here.
Or you can walk into any of the CAC offices and obtain the Reservation of name form.
It’s important to note that when you are reserving a name (if not doing it online), you choose a name that is considerably unique (you should have at least 2 options). You should not use generic names, as they will most likely be taken already. Also you are restricted from using certain names –
- That contain the words “Chamber of Commerce”, “Federal”, “National”, “Regional”, “State”, “Government”, “Municipal” or “Chartered”, “Co‐operative” or the words “Building Society”; or “Group” or “Holding”
- That in the opinion of the Commission is capable of misleading as to the nature or extent of its activities or is undesirable, offensive or otherwise contrary to public policy; or
- That in the opinion of the Commission would violate any existing trademark or business name registered in Nigeria unless the consent of the owner of the trademark or business name has been obtained.
- Purchase and complete the Application for Business Registration form – CAC/BN/1
If your name is not approved, you will have to obtain another reservation form and resubmit 2 names. Once you have successfully reserved an acceptable name and it has been approved, the next step is to obtain, complete and submit the duly completed statutory forms.
You may either register the business as a sole practitioner or as a partnership with another individual. You will have to complete the form as appropriate with two passport-sized photographs of each applicant attached to the form (if you are starting business as a partnership).
- Payment of the applicable fees
Once you have completed all the applicable forms, you will have to pay the applicable fee for registering a business name.
The entire process for registering a business name normally takes 1-2 weeks, depending on the workload of the CAC and other factors.
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We hope you have found this information helpful. Please note that this information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. This answer is not intended to substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. If you require legal advice, please consult with a qualified lawyer.