The A-Z Guide to Business Registration in Nigeria

business registration Nigeria

It does not matter how long you’ve been running your business if it’s not registered, your business is not legally recognized.

Nigeria is the most populated nation in Africa, with a significant dependence on the private sector. A recent report by VON shows that SMEs contribute 48% of Nigeria’s GDP in 5 years. The private sector is growing with many entrepreneurs setting up small businesses almost daily.

Business is never done in isolation of external stakeholders. To run a successful small business in Nigeria, you need more than the right product or service. You need to be legally recognized by the government as a business entity, which is what business registration does for you. It is more like a government endorsement for your business.

In 2019, the Corporate Affairs Commission declared 3.1 million registered businesses in their database. Does that figure scare you? It should if you have not registered your business yet, because you are leaving your business to chance. When pursuing a government or multinational company contract with registered companies, who do you honestly think will win the contract: The business registered or the one not registered? You guessed right.

Quickly before we dive into practical steps of business registration, Let’s briefly highlight the five benefits of registering your business in Nigeria.

1. Certificate of Incorporation

The certification of incorporation certifies that your business is fully registered and ready for business, and it is usually issued after the registration exercise by the Corporate Affairs Commission. This document will enable your business to open a business bank account, seek a government contract among many other benefits.

2. Legal Liability Protection

Legal protection is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your business. Once your business is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, it gets legal liability protection. Which means that your business will operate as a different entity, and can sue and be sued.

3. Accessing Loans and Grants

Accessing loans from both commercial banks and other financial institutions can be particularly tricky, especially when your business is not registered. But with the appropriate documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission, it becomes easy, because the business will be viewed as a credible and recognized entity.

4. Enhances Hiring Process

Business registration enhances the hiring process. It enables you to attract the right kind of employees and pay them both the stipulated salaries and other related benefits. Also, it makes applying for National Youth Service Corps interns easy, which you will pay stipends to help in your business operations.

5. International Trips

When applying for Visa for international trips, having a registered business becomes an advantage. It shows that you have a strong affiliation to your country and you would likely return. On the other hand, many countries are seeking business investors to invest in their countries and will gladly welcome you when applying as a registered business owner.

The benefits are endless. If you have read up till this point, it shows that you are passionate about growing your business and would love to register it. Kudos! Keep reading as we will explore the practical steps involved in registering your business under the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria

Let’s dive in!

Related Post: 7 Proven Time Management Tips For Small Business Owners

Business Registration Process

1. Choose and Reserve Your Name

If you are yet to start the business, then it is essential to take due diligence in getting a proper name for your brand. Ensure that the name is catchy, memorable, and easily pronounceable as it will enable your brand to stick in the minds of your customers easily.

On the other hand, If you already have a business name, that means you can proceed with the search. Let’s begin.

  • Click on the Public Search Page of CAC
  • Input your business and hit the search button
  • It will show you whether or not the name is taken
  • You will suggest two alternative names for your business
  • Once the name is approved, you will pay a token for the name to the reserved for you for the next 60 days. Within the 60 days of the name reservation, you are required to complete the other registration requirements.
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Name Search

2. Collect and Fill the Form

After reserving your business name, then you can proceed with filling the online form. When filling the form, you will need the following pieces of information.

  • Your approved business name
  • Description of your business
  • Address and contact information of the business
  • Name, address, occupation and other relevant details of the proprietor(s) of the business
  • Signatories of the proprietor(s).

3. Payment of the CAC filing fee

When you are done completing the form, you will need to make a payment of the Corporate Affairs Commission filing fee. Then proceed on submitting the application form, filing fee receipt, and means of identification for the proprietor(s) on the doc upload portal.

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Document Directory

4. Collection of your Certificate

Immediately after submission, your documents will be reviewed by the relevant staff authorities of the Corporate Affairs Commission. When approved, the registrant would be notified on the date to pick-up the certificate of incorporation from their nearest office.

Note: All things being equal, the above process will take one week depending on the workload of the Corporate Affairs Commission at the time.

This guide is simplified to enable almost anymore to begin and complete the registration of his business. Take advantage of this information and register your business, as it will give your business both a national and global advantage.

Always remember that when preparation meets opportunity, success is inevitable. Please don’t wait until it is needed for an appointment, do it at your comfort.


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