How to Register a Business Name/Company in Nigeria-

How to Register a Business Nigeria: When you are thinking about starting a business in Nigeria, the first consideration you have is whether to incorporate a company or to operate as a registered business name. This article is for individuals who have decided to operate as a registered business name.

If you are interested in understanding the benefits of incorporating a company, you may read our article stated below on how to register your company or business name.

Companies are not the only business organization in Nigeria. There are others like sole proprietorship and partnership, which are covered as business names under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). Business name, also known as an enterprise is covered under Part B of the CAMA.

A business name is a fastest and most convenient form of doing business by a sole proprietor or partnership in a more recognizable form. The registration of a business name can be done by a sole proprietor or partners.

Section 574(1) CAMA makes it mandatory for every firm, individual or corporation required to be registered under Part B, to be registered within Twenty-Eight (28) days from the date of the commencement of the business for which registration is required.


The process to follow in order to register your business name at the Corporate Affairs Commission is pretty straightforward. The steps are as follows:

  1. Search and reserve a name – Form CAC 1
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To conduct a search, the CAC now 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.

It’s important to note that when you are reserving a name (if not doing it online), you choose a name that is considerably unique (you should have at least 2 options). You should not use generic names, as they will most likely be taken already. Also you are restricted from using certain 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”
  • 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; or
  • 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.
  1. Purchase and complete the Application for Business Registration form – CAC/BN/1

If your name is not approved, you will have to obtain another reservation form and resubmit 2 names. 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 forms.

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You may either register the business as a sole practitioner or as a partnership with another individual. You will have to complete the form as appropriate with two passport-sized photographs of each applicant attached to the form (if you are starting business as a partnership).

  1. Payment of the applicable fees

Once you have completed all the applicable forms, you will have to pay the applicable fee for registering a business name.

The entire process for registering a business name normally takes 1-2 weeks, depending on the workload of the CAC and other factors. You do not need a lawyer to register a business name, however, if you want to register a company, you need the services of a lawyer or other accredited agent.

You can also follow the steps outline below

  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

  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
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  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 name registration is indeed a convenient and fastest means of setting up a small business in Nigeria. The procedure for how to register a business name is less tasking compared to the procedure for a company registration in Nigeria. The advantages of registering a business name include simplicity in registration, and affordability, as there is no need to pay stamp duty.

An individual can register a business name online himself or herself at the CAC’s portal because of its less formality and a lawyer may also be hired to carry out the registration, especially where the business involves more than one proprietor and a partnership deed stipulating the agreements between partners or proprietors required to be drafted and duly filed with the CAC.

It is however important for individuals registering a business name to be aware that registration of a business name does not entail a separate legal personality like a limited liability company, and any liability incurred in the cause of doing such business maybe personally extended to the owner or the proprietor of the business.



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