It is empowered by the Nigerian law to handle all issues associated with company registrations, business names, and incorporated trustees in Nigeria.
If you want to register your business name (other than a company limited by shares, incorporated trustees, associations, etc.) in Nigeria without involving a third-party ( e.g., a lawyer, an agent, etc.), you will have to go directly to any of the CAC branches all across the country.
CAC offices are mostly found in most of the state capitals in Nigeria.
Why you have to register your business
Registering your business or business name gives you the legality to use the name to do business.
It will make people have confidence in doing business with you.
In fact, without a registered business name, you will not be able to do business with government parastatals or go into partnership with some big companies.
Before you register your business
When you are thinking about registering your business in Nigeria, the first thing you have consider is whether to incorporate a company or to operate as a registered business name.
This lesson is for individuals who want to operate as a registered business name – since law is not my field.
If you rather want to incorporate a company, you might want to need the service of a lawyer, or some agent.
The process to follow in order to register your business name at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is pretty straightforward.
The steps are as follows:
Step 1: Name Availability Search & Name Reservations
This is the first step in the business name registration process.
This will let you know if your desired business name is available.
This is also the first step when registering any kind of company or organization in Nigeria.
To conduct a search, the CAC 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.
This form – at present – would cost you #500.
It’s important for you to note THAT when you are searching for, and reserving a name, you should choose a name that is considerably unique – have at least 2 to 3 options.
You should not use generic names, as they will most likely be taken already.
Also note that, you are restricted from using certain names and words when registering a Business Name / Enterprise such as, but not limited to:
- Names ending in “LTD” or “Limited”.
- 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”, or “Investment”.
- Names 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.
- Names 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.
- Names ending with the word “Consulting” and registration of some professional services will require that you provide evidence of the relevant professional qualifications and/or registrations. Please try avoiding such if you do not have such professional qualifications.
Filling the Reservation of Name form
Fill the form and submit.
The form is self-explanatory and easy to fill…
Otherwise, if you’re filling it offline, the CAC staff can guide you in filling it.
You will be told to check back, after a week or two to know the fate of the business names submitted.
This is the most challenging stage of the whole process because you can’t proceed to the next stage if your business name has not been approved.
If CAC disapproves all the names you’ve submitted, you’d have to buy another ‘Name Availability Search & Reservations Form’ and go through the process again.
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 – Application for Business Registration – forms.
There you are!
Let’s continue from there in the second part of this series.
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