Registering a business has always been a daunting task, especially for those in upcountry since they not only have to travel to Nairobi but at times engage the services of brokers and end up with fake registration certificates.
However, this is set to change with the unveiling of an online business registration system that allows users to either do a name search or register a company through their mobile phones or office computers from any part of the country.
The system dubbed Incorporator has been developed by Genius Executive Ltd, a technology firm, is also set to reduce the amount of time and money incurred by many while trying to register their businesses.
Currently, it costs between Sh5,000 and Sh10,000 if one engages a broker or travels to Nairobi to process the registration respectively. However, with the new platform one will only have to pay Sh3,500 for business registration.
â€œIf you choose to shuttle between Nyeri and Nairobi to do the job yourself, it ends up costing you more than Sh10,000 and consumes a lot of your time,â€ says Joseph Nderitu, a trader in Nyeri.
â€œMany are now opting to use the services of these middlemen who can get it done for between Sh4,000 and Sh5000.â€
Mr Nderitu adds that there is also a risk in engaging brokers because some may prey on clients and give them forged certificates, putting unsuspecting traders on a collision course with the law in future.
Nderituâ€™s sentiments were echoed by Stephen Muriuki who said that when he registered his auto dealer company, he chose to enlist the services of a local lawyer due to the complexity and time consuming nature of the process.
He says that at a cost of Sh25,000, one can get a company registered, inclusive of the lawyerâ€™s fees.
Such problems encountered by traders daily is what motivated Nick Munyao, whose company was working for some Advocates in Nairobi to do the paper work at the State Law Office to come up with an interface to connect those who seek to register their businesses to lawyers.
â€œOur platform will link new entrepreneurs to advocates to help in registering new companies in the comfort of their offices or homes,â€ he said.
â€œWe donâ€™t charge those who want register limited companies, instead we only charge their advocates a Sh1,000 monthly subscription fee and Sh5,000 for handling the logistics per company registered.â€
To start the process, a person logs on to Incorporator website (www.inc.co.ke). Anyone registering their business with the Registrar of Companies fill in their details, make payments (through M-Pesa or Visa card) and have their company registered regardless of their location.
Genius Executives handles the logistics such as printing the information posted by the clients and makes a follow-up with the Registrar of Companies at the State Law Office.
The platform is open to advocates who pay Sh1,000 monthly subscription fee to be included in directory and receive information on entrepreneurs seeking to register limited companies and then bid for the jobs on offer.
This gives clients access to legal services at reasonable cost and quality work while the advocates get access to a large database of potential and future clients.
The client then fills in their details and check online or their email after a day for the best bidder (advocates) based on cost and ratings by previous clients. All the documents will be prepared, filed and their receipts sent to the client at the end of the registration.
Certificates of registration are then sent to the clients by courier services. The company has also linked the system to an SMS application to enable people without Internet access to register their businesses as well.
For those seeking to register a company, the charges are seen as fair, given that it costs roughly as much when one is doing it in Nairobi but saves clients time wasted travelling and queuing in government offices.
The business name search costs are Sh500. The process, which should ideally not last more than a few minutes takes days and registration in some cases end up taking up to a month, adds Mr Munyao.
Government agencies such as the Judiciary, State Law Office, Ministry of Lands and Kenyatta National Hospital are also embracing technology in service delivery to boost efficiency. The institutions are now converting hard copy documents into digital format to ease access and retrieval of data.
Digital technology makes it possible to store and make information resources available to many users as well as provides unlimited capacity and back up for records in case of a disaster.
The technology also helps organisations reduce operational costs for managing records in terms of small number of staff involved, equipment and office space and eases tracking of documents in use and transactions.
Kenyatta National Hospital, for example, has contracted two firms, Tanzaniaâ€™s Coseke and Kenyaâ€™s Techno Brain, to digitise four million documents at Sh40 million and is seeking funds to upgrade the remaining documents.
The move is expected to curb graft common in government agencies with use of paper work, reduce manual works and cut the cost of stationery, which stands at about Sh150 million annually.-Business Daily