How to Start a Small Business in Jamaica

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For years, Jamaica has been considered an ideal location for a Caribbean vacation. But Jamaica is also a hub of economic activity in the Caribbean. Entrepreneurs need simply create a business plan, find capital and follow the necessary procedures to turn their idea into a a formal business entity. Once they do they, their business can operate in Jamaica, across the Caribbean and also beyond the region.

Select a potential business name and check to see if that name is available. To do this, visit the website of the Registrar of Companies and print the required Companies Name Search and Reservation Form or Form 6. Take the form to the Registrar of Companies office and submit it with the processing fee of JM$2,500 (US$28.35). The wait period is approximately one day. Once the name is approved, it will be automatically reserved for 90 days and no one else can use the name during that time.

Submit the business's Articles of Association to be stamped by the Stamp Commissioner. The fee for the stamp is JM$500 (US$5.67) and the process takes one day.

File the following forms with the Registrar of Companies: the Declaration of Compliance (Form 2), the Particulars of Shares (Form 3), the Notice of Registered Office Form (Form 17), Notice of Appointment of Directors (Form 23) and Notice of Appointment of Company Secretary (Form 20). The cost is JM$10,000 (approximately US$113.40) plus an additional JM$2,000 (approximately US$22.68) per submitted form. All forms are available at the Registrar of Companies website. This process will take three to four days and if all documents are approved, the Registrar of Companies will assign the business a designated company number and the Certificate of Incorporation.

Apply for a national insurance scheme reference number from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. This can be achieved by filling out the Application for National Insurance Number form which is available at the Ministry's website. This process will take approximately two days and there is no fee required.

Register with the Collector of Taxes and obtain a Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN). The TRN will be used to file annual taxes which have a deadline of March 15th every year. The business must submit the following documents and forms; a completed application for TRN number (Form 1), the National Insurance Scheme number, the Articles of Association, the TRN of each director and a certified copy of the Certificate of Incorporation. This process will take two days and is free of charge.


  • Although a lawyer is not required to start a business in Jamaica, an experienced lawyer will be useful for creating the Articles of Association and filling out necessary forms.



About the Author

Sydelle John is a lawyer who started writing professionally in 2007. She has written for the Guardian's Comment is Free and Pambazuka News, which focuses on pan-African issues. John has a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Vassar College.

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