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Here’s the step by step process for registering your startup as a private business corporation

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ZimConnect, Zimbabwe Companies Registration, e-Government

We have already looked at the need and the advantages of registering your startup. Just because you are still running it out of your garage (if you are even that lucky) does not mean you should neglect it. Every baby needs a birth certificate.

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We will now look at how you can go about this, focusing on the private business corporation (PBC).

How long does it take to register a PBC?

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Ideally, the waiting period should be around 12 days. It takes 6 days to hear from the Company office after submitting a name search form and 6 more days to hear from them after you submit your confirmed name for registration. This is the government and governments world over are known for being slow-moving sloths.

How much does it cost?

If you do it yourself it will cost you just under $30. If you decide to take the lazy route where you sit on your couch and decide to do it online (where you hire an agent) it will cost you as much as $70 but it will spare you a lot of pain, believe you me.

The steps:

  1. Go to your nearest bookshop and buy the PBC I form (this will cost you anywhere between $0.50 and $1).
  2. Fill the form. This will require you to choose proposed names for your PBC in descending order of preference. Make sure to Google your desired names first before writing them down to make sure that a Company (sic) with a similar name does not exist already. This is not the same with domain names where you can register somecompany.org even if somecompany.com exists. You can try appending phrases like Africa, International (if your startup intends to be an MNC one day), Zimbabwe etc. Your names must not be offensive e.g. We Hate … PBC, confusing e.g. Microsoft Zimbabwe. The Registrar (the government dude behind some big desk) reserves the right to refuse any names he/she deems inappropriate and you cannot appeal.
  3. Submit the form at the Companies Registry office. In Harare, it is found  near the corner of Angwa Street and Nelson Mandela Avenue.
  4. You will be asked to pay a name search fee of $5.
  5. Go back to the office the following week to check on the progress of your application.
  6. If it was successful you will be given CV4 form confirming the name that you have reserved.
  7. Go and buy PBC II form (Cost $2), fill it and submit it together with your CV4 form.
  8. You will be asked to pay a fee of $25.
  9. Wait for a week and go and check on the progress of your application. If it was successful you will get your Certificate of Registration.

NB If you live in Bulawayo and are doing your registration there I hear you will need an extra copy of PBC I and PBC II forms.

Hopefully, if you follow these steps you will get your startup registered before your grandkids are born.

Despite all the promise of a government portal and e-government there was not a single computer in view when I recently visited the Company Offices in Harare. I am being literal here people.

I cannot thus help but wonder what happens when you submit your PBC registration using this portal. It is like a portal to Neverland.

11 thoughts on “Here’s the step by step process for registering your startup as a private business corporation

  1. @gd. thnx for the article. can you elaborate on where you say paying $70 will save one the real pain? could not pick it up on steps provided.

    1. The steps sound easy enough until you start executing each of them. You will find out that the government loves papers, you might wait 6 days only to find out that your application was not even processed for example.

      Like they say we looked at the map and it looked all flat, we failed to account for the valleys and mountains.

  2. @ Wellington, you save yourself the hassle of shuttling between the office of the registrar (where you also have to queue ), the stationery stores,companies who will draft your memorandum and articles etc and having to start the process all over again when all your name proposals are turned down by the registrar. Went through that process 3 straight times before I finally got a name accepted.

  3. Can I start operating before I register?
    Say I’m running my business from my home, can I get started while the registration is in progress?

    1. Yes you can do that but during that time when you run your business pending registration your business will be operating as a Sole Trader business. Your liabilities will be unlimited.

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