Company names are an important part of your business therefore, you should carefully consider your company name before registering your company with the Companies Registry office. Ideally, you should choose a name that conveys your company’s values, vision and purpose effectively.
You must also ensure the name you choose has not been registered by another company and is permitted by law. This can be done easily by using Company Formation’s name search service.
You cannot register a company name that is the ‘same as’ or ‘too like’ the name of an existing company, unless your company is going be part of or a subsidiary of that company. In addition, you must also be aware of ‘sensitive words and expressions’ before applying to form a company.
The Registrar of Companies may refuse to register a company with some names or phrases unless permission is sought and granted by the Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Such words and phrases include anything that:
- Is identical to that of another company or private business corporation that is already registered under the Companies and Other Business Entities Act (Chapter 24:31), or which is so similar to any such name as to be likely to deceive; or
- Is likely to mislead the public; or
- Is blasphemous or indecent or likely to cause offense to any person or class of persons; or
- Suggests patronage of the Government or some other authority or organisation unless the consent thereof has been obtained; or
- Is undesirable for any other reason
A final factor to consider is whether your desired name has been used in the past by another business. This may not pose any problems unless the dissolved company has a bad reputation or a negative credit history.
Checking availability, company name rules, and other things to consider
You can check the availability of a proposed company name by conducting a name search or through our name search service.
Rules and regulations
- Do not attempt to register a name that is identical or very similar to the name of another company. This could be misleading to the public and may cause your company to be mistaken for another business.
- Avoid using any words that might imply a connection with the Government or a public authority, a devolved government or administration or any other kind of official body or organisation
- Your company name should not contain any words that could be considered offensive, nor should the name itself be offensive in nature. Any allusion to criminal activities in prohibited.
- In some cases, If you wish to include a word that implies a specific profession or function, you might be required to provide evidence that you are legally qualified or permitted to offer such services, and obtain prior approval from the relevant body.
Other things to consider
- Choose a name that is easy to remember and effectively communicates the types of products or services your business offers.
- Check the availability of domain names beforehand. It’s extremely beneficial to register a domain name that matches your company name. This creates a strong online presence for your company, provides professional continuity for websites and business emails, and makes it easy for people to find you online.
- If you are likely to change or add your primary business activities, expand geographically at a later stage, avoid using a name that restricts your company’s activities or location.
- Choose a name that is timeless and relevant.
How to register a company name
The only way to register a company name is to register a company either as a Private Limited Company or Private Business Corporation. The most recommended, popular and affordable way to register is through a registered consultant (registered with the Deeds, Companies and Intellectual Property (DCIP)) like Company Formations.
Company Formations company registration process is seamless and registrations normally take 7-9 working days.
How to protect a name
You can protect a company name by registering the company or conducting a name search. If your proposed name is accepted, it is reserved for a month and after you need to further reserve the name.
Can I register a name that is similar to an existing company name?
The Companies and Other Business Entities Act [Chapter 24:31] prohibits a company being registered with a name that is the ‘same as’ or ‘too like’ the name of an existing company or private business corporation. These restrictions are in place to avoid confusing the public by making it difficult to distinguish between two different companies. The only exception is when the mew company is a subsidiary or will be part of the same group of as the existing company.
Can I use a dissolved/de-registered company name?
There are no legal restrictions that prevent you from using a name of a dissolved company. If this is something you are considering, you should first ensure the dissolved company does not have any negative associations attached to it, otherwise, your business could be mistaken by members of the public and credit organisations for the dissolved one. This could be detrimental on your company’s reputation and its success.
See also: Our Company De-registration Service
Can I use a company name for a company registered in another country?
You are not restricted to use a company names of a companies registered in another country. This is however on the condition that the name is not registered as a trademark in Zimbabwe. You can just provide the name when conducting a name search.
How do I find out if my company name has been rejected by Companies Registry?
Any person seeking to register a company in Zimbabwe shall ascertain whether a name is available for registration by conducting a name search. After considering the names submitted, submitted in terms of the Registrar shall issue the applicant with a confirmation for approval or rejection of the proposed company name in Form CV4.
Company Registration service
If you choose to use our name search services, you will submit an application online or any our communication platforms and any problems will be immediately brought to your attention through our many platforms of communication. If the registrar of companies rejects your company names or you are asked to provide supporting documentation, we will communicate with you as soon as possible.
This should not cause any significant delay to your application and there will be no additional charge incurred for resubmitting an application or for filing additional documentation. Our company name results are usually out within 24 working hours.
Do I have to trade under my company name?
A Zimbabwean registered company is allowed to trade under a name other than its registered name for use in conducting business in Zimbabwe. These are called ‘assumed names’ popularly known as trade names. However, before using a trade name, the business has to notify the registrar of companies that it will be conducting business under the trade name. If the name is accepted, you need to register the name.
Company Formations offers a registration of assumed name service. Registration normally take 7-9 working days.
See also: Our trade name registration service
How to change a company name
A company may change its name by passing a special resolution. When a special resolution is passed, a company (by special resolution filed with the Registrar of Companies) or Private Business Corporation that wishes to change its name shall first obtain the written approval of the Registrar of Companies. If the Registrar grants written approval for a registered business entity to change its name, the company or Private Business Corporation shall publish in the Gazette and in a daily newspaper circulating in the district in which the registered office of the company or private business corporation is situated an advertisement stating the change of name, and shall then apply for a certificate of change of name.
*To pass a special resolution, a 75% majority vote must be achieved – the percentage relates to the number of voting shares in favour of the resolution, not the number of members who favour the change. A special resolution can be passed by a show of hands or ballot at a general meeting of the shareholders, or by written resolution.
See also: Our Company Name Change Service
See also: Our Director Changes Services
The change of the name of a registered company shall not affect any right or obligation of the company, or render defective any legal proceedings by or against the company, and any legal proceedings that might have been continued or commenced by or against it under its former name may be continued or commenced under its new name.
You must also continue using your existing company name until the company name change process is officially over that is, when the Companies registry office issues a ‘Certificate of Change of Name’.
As soon as your new name has been approved and you receive your certificate, you should notify the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and all company contacts that is, company directors and shareholders, employees, clients, suppliers, landlords, banks and lenders, etc.
It is also important that you update all signage, stationery, and, online and promotional material with the new name as soon as possible.
What is a certificate of name change?
After changing your company name, the Companies registry will issue a certificate that confirms the new name and the date from which it takes effect. This is called a ‘Certificate of Name Change’.
Other than the name, the details on this certificate will be exactly the same as the details stated on your original certificate of incorporation, including your company registration number.
Where must I display my company name?
A company should display its name on the following:
- Company letterheads.
- Compliments slips.
- Order forms.
- Notices and official publications.
- Promotional material.
- Business cards.
- Business letters, order forms (hard copy or electronic) and websites must also display details of a company’s place of registration, the and the registered office address.
You must also display your full company name at your registered office address, unless it is primarily used as a private residence