Registration of a company name - Ethiopia
Quick info guide
Requirements to obtain a business license
✓ Filled and signed application form
✓ Certificate of Commercial registration
✓ Photocopies of identification card or valid passport
✓ The passport size photographs of the manager taken in the last six months
✓ Original copies of memorandum and articles of association
✓ Certificate of Competence
✓ The exact address of the head office and branch offices of the business if any
✓ A bank statement showing the capital of the business organization
Estimated time to complete
o For commercial registration: 30 minutes - 1 hour
o For company name registration: 25 minutes
o For business licence: 30 minutes - 1 hour
o (All in one  working day)
*Name clearance may take up to 30 days
o For commercial registration: 102 ETB
o For company name: 27 ETB
o For business licence: 102 ETB
Apply for TIN
Where? Ministry of Revenues
1. Download the Application Form
2. Print the form on a clean white A4 or letter size paper.
3. Complete fields and submit
Obtaining a business license in Ethiopia
The Ministry of Trade and Industry is the main institution responsible for registering a business in Ethiopia. It is prohibited to engage in any commercial activity unless registered in a commercial register; and according to Proclamation No. 980/2016, no person shall engage in business activity without acquiring a business license.
Step by step guide to registering a business
According to Article 14 of the Proclamation:
- The trade name of a sole proprietor shall include the individual’s first name, his father’s and grand-father’s names; where a sole proprietor’s name has already been registered, his great grandfather’s name shall be added; if the great-grand father’s name already registered, the individual’s mother’s name shall be added; if the mother’s name is also found to have been occupied by other sole proprietor, a different identification shall be used.
- Trade name of a general partnership shall be given pursuant to the Commercial Code by specifying the commercial sector of engagement.
- Trade name of a limited partnership shall be given pursuant to the Commercial Code by specifying the commercial sector of engagement.
- Trade name of a share company shall be decided by the shareholders pursuant to the Commercial Code by specifying the commercial sector of engagement.
- The trade name of a private limited company shall be decided by the shareholders pursuant to the Commercial Code by specifying the commercial sector of engagement.
A business person, then, apply for a registration of his/her trade name at the place where the commercial registration was conducted. Further, a business person must register his/her trade name at the place where the business license was obtained. A person should also apply for alterations/changes to a trade name at these places.
Where the business person is a foreigner, he/she is required to apply for trade name registration, accompanied with notarized certificates of commercial and trade registrations or other legally acceptable evidence issued from the country where the business organization is registered.
The mere prior registration of name of business organization or a trade name does not prevent the registration of the same trade name for a business with an entirely different nature.