How to Register a Business / Company in Nigeria

Business Registration: How to Register a Company or Business in Nigeria

The importance of business registration cannot be over-emphasized. It is very important that your business be a legal entity, in other to enjoy the maximum operational business benefits, protect yourself to some extent and getting funding.

This article would share the importance of business registration and the steps to register your business in Nigeria.

Why Register Your Business


While it is possible to do business informally under your personal name, you cannot reach your full business potential without becoming fully formal. It would be very hard for serious minded people to give your business serious attention if you are trading under your personal name.

You can open bank accounts, apply for serious contracts etc, when your business has a proper identity.

Legal Separation

Depending on the form of business or company you register, you can separate your personal and business liability. For example, a Limited Liability Company is a separate legal entity from yourself. A simple Business Name Registration does not offer this protection.

Getting Funding

You can only apply for government grants, business loans, startup investment etc when your business is registered. No serious investor, financial institution or government department would fund your business if it is not a registered entity. None.

Types of Business Registrations in Nigeria

  • Business Names: this is the simplest form of business registrations open to Nigerians. Any individual or proprietor can register a business name themselves without going through a law firm, lawyer, chartered accountant or any other professional service that offers business registration.
  • Limited Liability Company (LTD): this is the most visible types of company in Nigeria and tends to be taken more seriously. This legal structure is more Ideal for businesses that plan to grow big and this requires more legal hurdles to register. You would typically need the services of a legal practitioner or chartered accountant to register an LTD company.
  • There are other types of business Registrations in Nigeria that are beyond the scope of this article.
    • Limited by Guarantee
    • Limited by Shares
    • Public Companies (PLC)

Comparison: Business Name Vs Ltd Company

Business NameLtd Company
OwnershipSingle Entrepreneur2 or more shareholders
ShareholdingNone2 to 50 people / entities
Legal liabilityBusiness ownerCompany/company assets
Intellectual propertyStrong ownership
Setup processSimple & straight-forwardMore processes involved

Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)

Established in 1990, the CAC is the government agency that registers and maintains the registry of business names and companies in Nigeria. They maintain offices across the 36 state capitals in Nigeria in addition to Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

How to Register a Business Name

This is the most simple type of business registration. Every Nigerian serious about doing business should go for this – as a minimum.

The full Business Registration could take up to 2 working days. 2 days

Choose Your Names

You need to think up multiple names that would be submitted and checked in the database of the CAC. With your list of names at hand, you can then approach the nearest offices of the CAC.Choosing a Business Name

File the form at the CAC offices

The CAC would give you a form that requires a list of the names you want to check in their database as well as your personal details like names, address, telephone and other contact details. They also require your passport photos and a filing fee. You can get the result on name availability the same day if you submit before 5 pm.Business Name Registration in Nigeria

Business Certificate

The actual Business Name registration takes 24 hours once you decide on the name you wish to go for.
Your business certificate confirming the company name registration would be available for pick up a few days after the successful registration.Business Name Certificate in Nigeria

How to Register a Company

1. List your potential Company Names
You need to prepare a list of potential company names that would be checked for availability and potential registration.

2. Find a credible practitioner
Where you choose to register a company, making use of a professional registration entity like a Legal Practitioner, Chartered Accountant or Chartered Secretary is a very good idea. They can guide you with navigating and filling the numerous registration forms.

3. Forms

  • Check for availability of proposed company name (click here). Read more about name reservation and Reserve a new Name   (click here)
  • Complete pre-registration form – CAC1.1 (Online using Company Registration Portal)
  • Pay filing and Stamp duty fees  Check the Fees for our Services here
  • Steps 1-3 can be completed on COMPANY REGISTRATION PORTAL (CRP)
  • Prepare the signed scan copy of your pre-registration documents for upload as follows:
  • Form CAC1.1
  • Memorandum and Article of Association (MEMART)
  • Recognized form of identification for Director(s)/Subscriber(s) and Secretary
  • Evidence of payment to CAC
  • Upload the scanned documents for processing. (click here)
  • Submit the original copies of the documents uploaded at step 6 (Form CAC1.1, MEMART, etc) to the CAC office you had selected in exchange for your certificate and the Certified True copies of the documents.

Business / Company Certificate

At the end of the process, you would be issued the company certificate that could be used to open bank accounts, register for taxes, apply for loans, use as supporting documents for visa applications etc.

The document needs to be kept very safe.

After your business has been registered successfully, it is very important to register the domain name for your business as soon as possible, to avoid losing the best version of your domains to squatters.

After registering a domain for your business, a website and email is a very good idea. You need a website to sell to your market and an email to communicate with your customers and suppliers.

33 Comments on “How to Register a Business / Company in Nigeria”

  1. Hi,I initiated the registration of a business since last year,as at today I’m yet to have my registration completed.
    The name of the business is G***********Y.

    1. @KUYE OLATUNDE this could have happened if your business name or company name was reserved and was not registered because the process was not completed. However, i was able to register my business and it was delivered to me through an online service business name registration website. You can visit the site at and check out their services.

      After you must have succeeded in registering your business, get a domain for it through to help secure it for your website.

  2. Please i want to know if someone can act as the managing director of a company limited by share, when the person that register the company is late. Second can someone use the certificate of incorporation, that is a business name, of a late person and run a contract. Thanks for your kind cooperation.

      1. Hi, Am Olaleye David. How can I register an entrepreneur name with “agro Geo cooperative” name attach to it, with a group of farmers? Thanks.

  3. I registered a business name in Feb, 2010 through a consultant and certificate issued but without a BN 44950 found on form 6 being written on the certificate,instead a reference no.Ak12421 was written on the certificate. Pls what does this means.

    1. @Monday, if what you have on the certificate is AK12421, the certificate is not valid and was probably not registered with CAC. For every business name, the registeration number always starts with BN while for Limited Liabilities start with RC. So Monday, please contact the consultant for explanation.

  4. Good day,
    I like to confirm if a business name form of registration could be converted to a limited liability company in the near future? This might be due to not having sufficient financial ability presently, but with an aim of securing the name for the company.

  5. Yes, it is possible, but it requires lots of experience because when doing it by yourself for the first you might make some costly mistakes that might ruin the registration. This is why I’ll suggest you get assistance from a professional consultant.


  7. i want to make my company to be register, an i dont no how to due so, pls help me to make it possible thank u.

  8. pls I had commenced with the registration but person doing it for me died,but before his death he has gone to make the payment of#5000 in the bank,the transaction was sent toy email.but now I don’t know how to go about it.

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