How to Register and License a business in Ethiopia

Are you planing to start a small business? And change all those creative business ideas of yours into a reality? Well you are on the right track! Every successful entrepreneur learn through trial and error. Starting a business can be frustrating; What kind of business can I start? How much money do I need? Do I need to quit my job? While these are questions that you need to answer on your own; The procedures and Regulations for Registering and licencing your business could be answered by this article.

These are the conditions set in the Ethiopian Proclamation No. 67/1997 on Commercial Registration and Business Licensing with respect to registration in the Commercial Register:

➤ No person shall engage in any commercial activity unless registered in a commercial register;

➤ Any person shall principally register only once even though he carries on different commercial activities in different regions;

➤Although a trade name is one of the entries of a principal registration as provided for under Article 105 of the Commercial Code, principal registration shall be made without waiting for the registration of a trade name under Proclamation No. 67/1997.

Application for registration

➤A business person shall, before starting his commercial activity, apply for a principal or summary registration by completing and submitting to the appropriate authority the application form, prescribed by the regulations, to which he shall attach the necessary documents;

➤An application for the alteration 0r modification 0f any entry of a commercial registration shall be made to the appropriate authority with in two months from the occurrence of such a situation by completing the application form prescribed by the regulation;

➤ Where any application for principal or summary registration is found acceptable, the appropriate authority shall register the applicant and issue a certificate of registration on payment of the fee prescribed by the regulations.

Registration of trade name

A trade name, according to the Commercial Code of Ethiopia, is the name under which a person operates his business and which clearly designates the business.

➤ Any person who is engaged in commercial activities may have his trade name registered by completing the application form prescribed by the regulations at a place where he is principally registered;

➤Any person who is applying for the registration of his trade name shall, with his application, submit to the appropriate authority: (1) His commercial registration certificate and (2) a valid business license.

Regulation for the principal registration of different business forms

According to the Registration and Licensing Regulation No.1 4/1997, principal registration of a sole business person, commercial partnership and co-operative society, Share Company and private limited company are presented as follows:

1.Principal registration of a sole business person
Where the applicant is a sole business person he shall submit, amongst others, together with the application, in two copies:

i. His/hers recent passport size photograph;

ii. A prior business and operating license, if any;

iii. A power of attorney where an agent signs the application.

2.Principal registration of commercial partnership and co-operative society
Where the applicant is in a commercial partnership, he shall submit, in two copies, together with the application:

i. A notice published in a newspaper pursuant to Article 8 of the Proclamation for Commercial Registration and Business Licensing, No. 67/1997;

ii. A power of attorney where an agent signs the application;

iii. The memorandum of association or the contract of partnership;

iv. Where the applicant is a co-operative society, it shall, together with the application, submit the documents referred in (ii) and (iii) above.

3.Principal registration of Share Company (if there is no foreign partner)
Where the applicant is a share company:

i. The documents referred under (2) (i) and (ii);

ii. A bank statement showing that the amount required to be deposited in a bank has been deposited in pursuant to Article 312 (1) (b) of the Commercial Code. (i.e. one quarter at least of the par value of the shares has been paid up and deposited in a bank, in the name and to the account of the company);

iii. A copy of share certificates for each class of shares;

iv. A report of any contribution in kind, if any, drawn up in accordance with Article 315 of the Commercial Code;

v. The documents referred to in Article 323 (2) of the Commercial Code; shall together with the application, be submitted, in two copies.

4.Principal registration of a private limited company (if there is no foreign partner)
Where the applicant is a private limited company:

i. The memorandum and articles of association;

ii. The documents referred under (2) (i) and (ii), shall together with the application, be submitted in two copies.

Summary Regulation

iii. Any business person who is principally registered with the Ministry of Trade and Industry or any region shall be similarly registered when he/she opens a branch in the region;

iv. An application for summary registration pursuant to· (i) shall be submitted, in two copies, by completing the form prescribed in the schedule “B” of the Registration and Business Licensing Regulation No. 14/1997, together with the appropriate particulars provided under (1) to (4) for principal registration above and two copies of the certificate of principal registration.


one Comment

  • Getenet Belachew 2 years ago

    I went to start business

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