Kenyans defy rising costs to register 4,000 new companies

Business Registration Service Director General Kenneth Gathuma. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The rise of private company registrations last year saw the number of new business entities on record grow by 2.9 percent to 141,194.

According to data from the Business Registration Service (BRS) covering the 2023 calendar year, the number of entities registered increased by 4,006 from 137,188 last year.

New private company registrations marked the largest increase at 8.7 percent as the new registrations hit 56,376 compared to 51,842 in 2022.

The growth in new private company registrations offset weakness in the registration of business names, which largely represent sole proprietorship ventures and a slight fall in the registration of foreign companies.

The number of newly registered business names was down by 680 to 83,458 in 2023 while the number of foreign companies registered dropped by three to 181. The number of newly registered public companies increased by one while companies limited by guarantee and limited liability companies were up by 29 and 124 to reach 506 and 582 respectively.

During the year, BRS introduced a new class of entities dubbed limited partnerships under which it registered two entities. The growth in the number of entities with limited liability attributes suggests individuals could be looking to hedge personal responsibility exposure as is the case with registering business names.

Limited liability entities protect their owners from personal responsibility for its debts or liabilities.

The BRS describes private companies as entities whose members’ liability is limited by shares.

“A company is limited by shares if the liability of its members is by the memorandum to the amount if any, unpaid on the shares respectively held by them. A private company is also a company that is restricted from inviting the public to subscribe to its shares,” the BRS states.

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