I will share with you the experiences that I had when I got this crazy idea to start an agroveterinary shop in Kenya. Before starting a business you have to think of the financial, legal and environmental (business) conditions that you will have to fulfill. Disclaimer: This is not legal advice.
What's in a name?
You have to come up with a unique name for your business and ensure that it is not already taken.
This is done at sheria house. You write a letter to the registrar of companies asking him to search his files in order to find out if the name you wish to register is available. If it is available you then have it registered. Its a process that takes at least 10 days and sets you back 800 shillings.
It is however important to note that specialised businesses like veterinary ones require that you attach proof that you are qualified and licensed to conduct them. Well and good! You are feeling proud of yourself now that you can think of an original name and have it registered.
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Where's my money bitch!
A good business must have a bank account. So next you go to your favorite bank in the whole wide world and open an account for your agrovet. Here you'll need that business registration certificate that you are so proud of and photocopies of your scarlet letter (I mean your ID) and a few shillings. The amount of money depends on your bank.
Death and taxes
The government must have its cut. If your business is a sole proprietorship then all you need to have is your personal PIN number. If you don't have this rush over to the super fast (hehe) KRA website and get it. While there you can also muse over the fact that if you expect your business to make over 5 million shillings a year, then you’ll need to apply for a VAT number. But of course your wonderful business is going to make more than five million shillings, right?
Well if you don't want to be closing your shop everytime that you hear council inspectors are in your area then you have to apply for a license from your county council. This will you set you back at least 5000 shillings. It can be much more depending on where you want to set up shop. I am not talking about Kiambu. Of course in their infinite wisdom the expiry date for all councils licenses is 31st December and you have to pay the full amount of charges whether you register in January 1st or on December 1st.
Location Location Location.
You have to find a premises to conduct your affairs (this means to sell your stuff in proper English). You have to put a lot of hamsters on this, peddling away like crazy in your head. Do your research,know what competition you have, the size of the market, visibility and other business terms that you may want to know the meaning of. In most premises you'll be asked for rent, a few months rent deposit, electricity deposit, water deposit, oil deposits and many other kinds of deposits, some illegal in Mombasa. Some tips for you; make sure the premises is of permanent nature, has adequate sanitary facilities, has water, well ventilated, is large enough and has a good waste disposal system. You'll find out why later.
Do you plan to use your veterinary knowledge to make some money? Then boom! In comes the veterinary surgeons and veterinary paraprofessionals act of 2011. You have to be registered with the Kenya veterinary Board. For a veterinary surgeon this will take you back about 7000 shillings (association and board fees). In addition if you are planning for your shop to be the base for an ambulatory service then add another 5000 shillings inspection fee. “What will the inspectors be looking for?” asks the kid at the front of the class. Well check this out (http://kenyavetboard.org/index.php/standards-for-ambulatory-services).
Do you plan to sell animal feeds and plant feeds (fertilizers)? Then boom! The fertilizers and animal food stuffs act Cap 345. No money that you have to pay here but ensure that your products are in accordance with this act.
Do you plan on selling pest control products like acaricides? BOOM! In comes Cap 346 laws of Kenya. Your premises must be inspected and licensed by the Pest Control Products Board. This will set you back 1000 shillings. “What will they look for?" the same kid asks. Well find out here (http://www.kenyalaw.org:8181/exist/kenyalex/sublegview.xql?subleg=CAP.%20346
You don’t know Jack
Do you plan to sell seeds and magic beans? Small boom without exclamation mark. Cap 326, the plant protection act. You have to be licensed by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service. This will set you back 500 shillings.
“Please?” “No!” “Pleeease?” “No!”
We come to the biggest issue. Do you plan on selling veterinary medicines in your agrovet? Hiroshima type boom! You can't. All medicines are regulated by cap 244, the pharmacy pharmacy something something act of God knows when.
In short, to be registered as a pharmacist you have to have a bachelors degree in pharmacy. To open up a retail pharmacy you have to be a registered pharmacist. To sell veterinary drugs you have to be a a licensed retailer. This law allows veterinary surgeons to dispense or supply drugs only in the course of veterinary treatment. The clincher is that, even though the pharmacy and poisons board is the one mandated to regulate veterinary pharmacies (read agrovet) they haven't come up with the regulations yet.
But as I write this the veterinary medicines regulations (of the VSVP act) are awaiting signature by the cabinet drawer. I mean the cabinet secretary. These are a bit more friendly to the veterinary surgeons (whew, that was close).
And there you have it. All that I know.