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Registering a business made easy by the dti and FNB

Written by Noluthando Mkhize
Budding entrepreneurs will no longer have to stand in long queues coupled with endless paperwork when registering a business, thanks to an initiative between the Department of Trade and Industry, First National Bank and the Intellectual Property Commission.

The aim is to simplify registering a company and opening a business bank account in line with govrnment’s appeal for financial institutions to support SMMEs.

First National Bank (FNB) partnered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), a public entity responsible for the registration of companies, co-operatives and intellectual property rights as well the enforcement of the Companies Act.

The CIPC reports to the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

“A key theme for the dti and its agencies is continuous improvement and reduction of red tape for the end-user,” says Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies.

“This is exactly what this project is demonstrating. It is a public-private partnership in the true sense of the term, where government and the bank partnered to offer its different products to their mutual customer through an integrated process.”

According to Davies, the Companies Act has specifically included a provision that allows companies to trade with a company registration number and South Africa was the first country to introduce this provision in its legislation.

The collaboration makes it easy to open a bank account and register a new company and entrepreneurs will be educated on the annual renewal process of registering the business.

It took FNB and CIPC 18 months to come up with the initiative, which will ease the administrative burden on businesses.

Entrepreneurs who wish to open a business bank account have the opportunity to register their companies through the FNB online facility.

“The process is instantaneous and will reduce red tape, improve service delivery, become more accessible to the broader public and will improve the integrity of the register as well as reduce the turnaround time which is dependent on the speed at which the entrepreneur provides the bank with its “Know your customer” documentation and payment for the service,” says Astrid Ludin, Commissioner of the CIPC.

The CIPC relies on FNB to conduct identity verification prior to the registration of the enterprise.

“The role of banking institutions has changed over the last few years. SMMEs are important for our economy. The vast majority of business owners, whether they are starting up a new company or expanding an existing one, need practical support, guidance and assistance in the administrative, compliance and day-to-day operational function of their companies.

“This innovative partnership is a first in South Africa and will benefit big and small businesses in many ways,” says Sanjeev Orie, head of products, FNB Business Banking.

It will cost the consumer R125 to register the company, which excludes the name reservation since entrepreneurs can now trade with just their registration number as stipulated in the Regulations of the Companies Acts.

There is no need to mail documents, stand in queues or wait weeks for certificates.

“This service will give small business owners immeasurable value and will prove to enhance the prospects of opening or registering a business successfully. Business clients can now focus on their core functions instead of getting bogged down in time-consuming administrative and compliance responsibilities,” said Orie.

Customers can simply walk into any FNB branch and ask for help when opening a business account and registering the process.

A customer has to obtain an FNB Business Account for the newly registered private company.