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Lady celebrating successful company registration in Botswana with laptop

Table of Contents

Welcome to our easy-to-follow guide on how to register both a company and a business in Botswana. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to legally set up your enterprise. We’ve also included a detailed video tutorial that complements this guide, so you can visually follow each step.

Whether you plan to open a small shop or run a large corporation, it’s important to know the difference between a company and a business. We’ll clarify this early on, so keep reading!

What's the Difference Between a Business and a Company in Botswana?

Understanding a Company: In Botswana, a company is recognized as a separate legal entity. This means it can conduct business activities on its own, much like a separate person in the eyes of the law. Think of a company as a ‘companion’ that exists to handle business dealings and responsibilities.

Understanding a Business: On the other hand, a business refers to all the activities and operations that you or your company might undertake. Whether it’s run by an individual or under a company structure, a business encompasses everything from day-to-day operations to the big picture strategies.

Corporate structure of Dishopong Pty Ltd with subsidiaries Lephutshi, Lephutshi Developers, and Dithutong in Botswana
Illustration of Dishopong Pty Ltd as the parent company with its businesses: Lephutshi, Lephutshi Developers, and Dithutong as subsidiaries, demonstrating how businesses fall under a company in Botswana.

Now that you know the difference, let’s dive into how you can start the registration process. Before we get to the registration, we’ll introduce the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) and the Online Business Registration System (OBRS), which play crucial roles in helping you register your business efficiently.

Understanding CIPA and the Online Business Registration System (OBRS)

The Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) plays a key role in the business registration process in Botswana, managing registrations for both company and business names.

What is OBRS?

The Online Business Registration System (OBRS) streamlines the process of registering businesses, making it easier and faster. This system is directly accessible through CIPA’s portal.

Creating a Profile on OBRS

To begin using OBRS, you must first create a profile. You will need your ID or Omang number along with your contact details for verification and security, which includes setting up two-factor authentication. 

Go ahead and complete all the details on the ‘Create a Profile’ page, review your information, and submit it. You will receive a confirmation email shortly after. Additionally, each time you log in to the OBRS, a verification code will be sent to your registered phone number and/or email to ensure secure access.

Screenshot of the OBRS Create Profile page on CIPA's website, essential for business registration in Botswana
See the OBRS Create Profile page to start your registration process with CIPA, essential for business setup in Botswana.

This setup not only ensures your security but also prepares you for a smooth registration process.

Next, we will dive into how you can reserve a name for your company, an essential step in your registration journey.

Step-by-Step Guide to Registering a Company in Botswana

Reserve a Company Name

To register a company in Botswana, you must first reserve a company name. Once your chosen name is approved, you can proceed with its use. It’s important to note that the ‘reserve a company name’ step can be conveniently combined with the company registration step, streamlining the process.

When it comes to choosing a name for your company, keep it simple. A straightforward name is easy to remember and can effectively convey the essence of your business.

Tips for Naming Your Company:

  • Keep it simple and memorable: A simple name is easier for customers to remember.
  • Ensure it reflects your company’s mission: Your company name should give an idea of what your business does or stands for.
Step-by-step screenshot of reserving a company name in Botswana on CIPA's website
Screenshot showing how to fill out the 'Reserve a Company Name' form on CIPA's website, guiding you through each step to ensure your company name is correctly reserved in Botswana.

Here’s how to fill out the form on the “Reserve a Company Name” page:

Select Entity Type: You’ll have several options for the type of company you wish to register:

    • Private Company: Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses, not publicly traded.
    • Public Company: Larger businesses that may issue public shares.
    • Closed Company: Similar to private companies but with a limit on the number of shareholders.
    • Company Limited by Guarantee: Often used for non-profits or companies without share capital.
    • External Company: A branch of a foreign company operating in Botswana.

Purpose: Choose “Incorporation / Registration”.

Proposed Name: Enter the name you wish to reserve.

Is the proposed name similar to an existing name or trademark? Select “No”.

Submit: Click the submit button to proceed.

Finally, you’ll need to pay a reservation fee of BWP20. This can be done via card or bank deposit.

By following these steps, you can ensure your company name is reserved and ready for the next steps in the registration process. In the following section, we will discuss how to complete the company registration using your reserved name.

Register Company

Screenshot of the Register Your Business page on CIPA's website in Botswana
View of the Register Your Company page, guiding you through the registration steps in Botswana.

Recall that earlier, I mentioned the option to bypass the ‘Reserve a Company Name’ step by heading straight to the ‘Register a Company’ page, as illustrated above. Indeed, this option is clearly stated on that page. Now, let’s proceed to fill in all the necessary details.

Note: For your convenience, all necessary forms are directly linked within this article. Simply click on the respective links to access them, such as the 'Director's Consent Form'.

Fill in General Details

Start your company registration by filling in general details. This includes whether you are reserving a new name or using a previously reserved name.

Addresses

  • Registered Office Address: This is the official address of your company.
  • Postal Address and Principal Place of Business: These can be the same as your registered office address.
  • Contact Details: Use the same contact details provided in your OBRS profile (if that’s the case).

Directors

  • Role of a Director: Directors are responsible for overseeing the company’s management. They make major corporate decisions and ensure the company’s compliance with legal obligations.
  • Director Details: Include the full name, contact details, residential and postal addresses of each director.
  • Additional Information: Upload a filled and signed “Director’s Consent Form.” This form can be filled using Adobe Reader. Check sample to help you here.

Secretaries

  • Role of a Secretary: A company secretary must be qualified, as they play a crucial role in ensuring the compliance of the company with various legal requirements.
  • Details: Secretaries can be individuals or registered companies. Fill in the representative details.
  • Upload: Provide a filled and signed “Secretary Consent Form,” available for easy download and fillable via Adobe Reader.
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Shareholders

  • Details: Shareholders can be individuals or registered companies. Input their full details.
  • Upload: Provide a filled and signed “Shareholder Consent Form” for each shareholder. Check sample to help you here.

Shares Allocation

  • Allocation: Allocate shares to each shareholder as advised by your company secretary.
  • Pricing: Set the price per share based on the advice from your secretary.

Tax Agent

If you have a tax agent, include their details. If not, consult your secretary or leave this section blank until you appoint one.

Review, Submit, & Make Payment

  • Fees: Pay BWP360 if you have a reserved name. If you need to reserve a name and register simultaneously, the fee is BWP380.
  • Payment Methods: You can pay via debit/credit card or bank deposit. Card payments are recommended for speed and security.

What to Expect from CIPA After Registering A Company

After submission, CIPA will review your application. If any errors are found, such as a name too similar to an existing business, they will request corrections. To avoid this, ensure your chosen name is unique or verify it against the existing database. If there are no issues, CIPA will issue your Letter of Incorporation and a company extract, which you will receive in a downloadable format via email.

Example of an Incorporation Letter received from CIPA for Dishopong Pty Ltd in Botswana
Sample Incorporation Letter from CIPA, similar to what you will receive upon successful registration of your company in Botswana.

Now let’s go over on how to register a business in Botswana.

How to Register a Business in Botswana

Now that you’ve successfully registered your company and received your incorporation certificate from CIPA—congratulations on becoming an official business owner, by the way—it’s time to register your business.

Just like with company registration, you can combine the reservation of your business name with the business registration into a single process. However, for clarity in this guide, we’ll handle these steps separately. Honestly, I was surprised too to learn that these processes could be chained together!

Reserve a Business Name

Choosing the right name for your business is not just about making a good first impression. It’s also about strategy, especially when it comes to SEO and online visibility. A well-chosen name can significantly impact how easily potential customers can find you online.

Tips for Choosing a Business Name:

  • Be Descriptive: Include keywords in your business name that describe what you do or the services you offer. For example, ‘Borotho Bakery’ immediately tells customers what the business specializes in.
  • SEO-Friendly: Incorporate relevant keywords naturally into your business name to improve your search engine rankings. Consider what potential customers might type into a search engine when looking for your services.
  • Unique and Memorable: Your business name should stand out from the competition and stick in the minds of your customers. It should be easy to spell and pronounce to ensure it is easily searchable online.
Screenshot of Reserve a Business Name page on CIPA's website in Botswana
See the Reserve a Business Name page on CIPA’s website, where you can apply the SEO-friendly naming tips.

Reserving your business name is the first step towards establishing your identity in the market and online. Make sure it reflects your brand’s essence and communicates clearly what you offer, enhancing both recognition and findability.

Make Payment

Once you’ve filled out the form with your preferred business name and checked its availability, the final step in the reservation process is to make a payment.

  • Fee: The reservation fee is BWP20.

This fee secures your business name and officially submits your application to CIPA. Payment can be made online through secure channels provided on the CIPA website, ensuring a quick and safe transaction. After payment, your business name will be reserved, pending approval.

Register Your Business

So, you’ve either reserved your business name or you haven’t—no worries either way! What’s next? It’s perfectly fine if you haven’t registered a name yet because you can seamlessly combine the name reservation and business registration processes. Now, let’s proceed to fill out the ‘Register Your Business’ page, as illustrated below.

Screenshot of the Business Registration Form on CIPA's website in Botswana
Complete the Business Registration Form on CIPA's website to officially start your business in Botswana.

Fill in Business Details

To start the registration process, fill out the business registration form available on CIPA’s website:

  • Business Name: Enter the name you have reserved or a new name if you haven’t reserved one.
  • Business Activities: Select the type of business activities your company will engage in, such as ‘Bakery’, to provide clarity on the nature of your business.

Addresses

  • Residential Address: Provide the residential address of the business owner or the principal director.
  • Principal Place of Business: This should be where your business primarily operates.
  • Postal Address: Can be the same as the principal business address if no other postal address is used.
  • Contact Details: Include all relevant contact information that CIPA can use to reach you regarding your business registration.

Proprietors

  • Selection: Choose the proprietor or proprietors of the business. This could be the registered company mentioned earlier, an individual, or another incorporated entity.

Submit and Pay

  • Fees: The registration fee is BWP150 if you have already reserved a name. If you need to reserve a name and register the business at the same time, the fee is BWP170.
  • Payment Methods: Payment can be made via debit/credit card or bank deposit. Using a card is recommended for its speed and security.

What to Expect from CIPA After Registering A Business

After submitting your registration form and payment, here’s what happens next:

  • Review Process: CIPA will review your submission for any errors. A common issue is a business name that’s too similar to an existing name or trademark. To avoid this, ensure your chosen name is unique and check it against CIPA’s database.
  • Outcome: If there are no issues, CIPA will issue a registration certificate and send it to you in a downloadable format via email. This document officially recognizes your business in Botswana.

Ready to Launch Your Business in Botswana?

Congratulations on taking a significant step towards launching your business in Botswana! By now, you’ve learned the essentials of registering a company and subsequently a business, ensuring your venture is legally recognized and ready to thrive.

Don’t stop here—make your business visible to the entire nation. List your company with Lephutshi today and join a community of thriving businesses in Botswana.

Need expert help to make your business stand out online? Request a quote for Web Design & Digital Marketing Services from Lephutshi Developers. We specialize in propelling businesses like yours to new heights with cutting-edge digital solutions.

Embrace this moment as the beginning of a successful journey in the business world. We are here to support each step you take. Start listing, start growing — because your business deserves the spotlight.

Complete Video Guide to Registering Your Company and Business in Botswana

FAQs on Registering a Company and Business in Botswana

To start a company in Botswana, you need to reserve a company name through CIPA’s OBRS portal, fill out the required forms for company registration, submit necessary documents like directors’ and secretaries’ consent forms, and pay the associated fees. Once reviewed and approved by CIPA, you will receive your company registration certificate.

The cost to register a company in Botswana is BWP360 if you have a reserved name, and BWP380 if you need to reserve a name and register simultaneously.

The time it takes to register a company in Botswana can vary, but typically, if all paperwork is in order, registration can be completed within a few days after submission.

Yes, you can register both a company and a business online in Botswana using the Online Business Registration System (OBRS) provided by CIPA.

To register a business in Botswana, you need a completed registration form, consent forms from directors and secretaries if applicable, proof of payment for registration fees, and a valid ID or Omang number.

In Botswana, you can register several types of companies, including private companies, public companies, closed companies, companies limited by guarantee, and external companies.

You can check if your business name is available in Botswana by searching the CIPA database through their website or during the name reservation process on the OBRS portal.

A business name in Botswana refers to the name under which your business operates and is not a separate legal entity. A company is a legal entity separate from its owners and can own assets, incur liabilities, and enter into contracts.

To protect your business name in Botswana, you need to officially register it with CIPA, which ensures that no other business can legally use your registered name.

A registered company in Botswana must file annual returns with CIPA, maintain accurate financial records, and comply with tax obligations as specified by the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS).

Explore More Resources on Starting a Business in Botswana

For a comprehensive overview of the entire business setup process in Botswana, starting from conceptualization to operation, check out our detailed guide:

For further guidance and detailed insights on establishing your business in Botswana, explore the following resources:

Tshiamo Tawele

Tshiamo Tawele

I'm Tshiamo Tawele, founder of Lephutshi Developers, a hub for innovative web and digital marketing solutions in Botswana. Through Lephutshi and Dithutong, I aim to empower local businesses by enhancing their online presence. Let's collaborate to take your business to new digital heights.

Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, or via Email.

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