Starting a business in Botswana is inexpensive. Reserving a company name and registering with the Companies and Intellectual Property Agency (CIPA) can cost less than P1000. These are the only cost-driven procedures associated with starting a business in Botswana, as determined by Doing Business’ company registration study using data from 2020.
Botswana is one of Africa’s most stable countries and also Africa’s longest continuous multi-party democracy. Botswana is considered one of the countries that are corruption-free. All these factors make Botswana one of the best places for starting a business in Africa. The Botswana government has been promoting start-ups, new business ventures, and inviting investors from around the world to boost the economy.
Our step-by-step guide will help you with the basics of how to start a business in Botswana.
Step 1: Reserve a company name
Before setting up your company in Botswana, you need to reserve your business name, for which you would require the following documents:
- Your national ID (for local citizens) or passport (for foreign citizens)
- Payment of reservation fee of P20.00 [P = Pula]
Name reservation might take up to 5 days, and the reserved name is valid for a period of 30 days. The Registrar of Companies will accept a valid name and if you have crossed the limit of 30 days, you will have to go through the business name reservation process again.
Step 3: Register your company
All businesses must be registered with the Botswana Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA). Reserving your company name and registering your business is now a single process.
Business registrations can be done remotely. Visit the CIPA website to register your business. There’s no need to visit CIPA offices.
This is what you need to submit when registering your business:
- three potential names
- declaration of compliance with statutory requirements
- consent to act as shareholders, directors, auditors and company secretary
- proof of IDs and/or passports for these people.
Step 4: Secure your premises
To get your trading licence, you must have premises secured. This is because you’ll be required to submit proof that you have the right to trade on those premises.
This can take the form of an occupation permit, title deed or lease agreement. The premises must comply with public and environmental health standards.
Step 5: Obtain trading licence
Trading licences can be obtained at the commercial departments of district or town and city councils. Requirements include; forms and an accompanying covering letter outlining business operations in detail. Trading licences vary in fees and duration and an annual fee of 25% of the licence fee is required.
Processing the licence can take up to three weeks. You must submit a health inspection report on your business premises.
Step 6: Open a business banking account
What do you need to open up a business bank account in Botswana?
- Certificate of incorporation (Company extract from CIPA).
- Allotment of shares.
- List of all company directors.
- Memorandum of association.
- Proof of residential address.
- Articles of association.
- Copies of identity cards or passports for all directors.
- Work and residence permits for non-citizen.
- Company profile and financial projections
Step 7: Obtain Tax Identification Number (TIN)
All businesses must be registered for taxation with the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) and must have a tax identification number (TIN).
Businesses that make taxable goods valued at more than P1 000,000 per annum must register for VAT. Financial, medical, educational, some accommodation services and certain goods are exempt.