How to start a small business
Congratulations! If you’re on this page, then you are in the beginning stages of starting a business – what an exciting adventure. But we know it can also be challenging, so we’re here to help you get started on your journey to becoming a small business owner. The following resources should help get you started.
Any person who owns or wishes to operate a business in The Bahamas is required to apply for and obtain a business licence in compliance with the Business Licence Act 2010. Annual Business Licences are renewed annually and it is granted to applicants who regularly carry on a business activity. You can obtain one by applying to the Department of Inland Revenue.
Any Bahamian citizen or permanent resident with the right to work in The Bahamas who is interested in registering a new business, operating as:
An existing Business Owner
Privately Trading company
Publicly Trading company
Limited Liability Partnerships
Limited Liability Company
Sole - Proprietorships
Home Based Businesses
A non-Bahamian applying to conduct business in The Bahamas requires approval from the
Bahamas Investment Authority.
Decide on the management of the business you want to open, whether as a Sole trader or a Partnership. If you want to operate as a Limited Company, then you must visit the Registrar Generals’ official page and follow the instructions.
Review this guide from the Department of Inland Revenue to help you get started.
Create a business plan. Write down your ideas and goals to be sure that it is the right business model and idea for you. A business plan can also help you pitch your business to potential investors and attract funding. If you need assistance writing a business plan, visit out the following organizations that can assist:
Apply for your Business License! New businesses will need to get a Trade Name (Business Name).
Skip this step, if using a registered company name and complete the Consolidated Agencies Application - click here.
Request Your Agency Approvals. You will need your Approved Trade Name and Reference Number or an approved name from The Registrar General in order to complete the Agency Approval forms - click here
Wait to receive your agency approval(s) in your e-mail. Once it's received, log on to vat.revenue.gov.bs and create an account. Submit your business licence application. Once your business licence application has been approved, make the payment online through the account you created or at any Royal Bank of Canada branch.
Download and print your approved business licence for display.
Congratulations - You have completed the process!
Become a member of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and join a network of business owners to make your business more desirable to customers. If you plan to export your goods and/or services, also join the Bahamas Trade Information Portal, to gain additional exposure for your business to international buyers, among other benefits.
Need additional assistance? Contact The Department of Inland Revenue:
242-461-8050 (Call Center)
242-604-8072 (Main Line)
Need to know if a business is registered?
Visit the TIN List on the Department of Inland Revenue page. The Value Added Tax TIN ONLY list of Registrants is open to the public and contains the details of current TIN ONLY registrants. Kindly note that this list will be updated on a monthly basis. Click here.
Visit the Regisitrant's List on the Department of Inland Revenue page. The Value Added Tax list of Registrants is open to the public and contains the details of current registrants. Kindly note that this list will be updated on a monthly basis. Click here.
Access Accelerator, Small Business Development Center:
Our enthusiastic and exceptionally qualified cadre of Business Advisors is responsible for counseling our clients on all aspects of small business operations including management, financing, accounting, operations, inventory management and pricing, imports, international trade, and even such specializations as marketing and personnel.
Click here to sign up for the Client Services.
Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Cooperation:
Over the years, BAIC has created an exceptional business advisory task force to support Bahamian entrepreneurs and MSME’s. Visit our website and let us help you build a successful business - click here for more information.
Bahamas Tourism Development Center:
The aim of the Business Development Unit of the Tourism Development Corporation is to widen entrepreneurship opportunities and strengthen existing Tourism MSME’s throughout The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Through expert business development sessions and key training opportunities, the business development unit creates a learning environment for entrepreneurs to not only grow their business but also successfully sustain it. Click here for more information.
The Bahamas Development Bank:
The Bank has historically supported MSMEs throughout the archipelago with funding of various projects/activities. To further support economic development in The Bahamas, we have expanded our product line to include the following areas. If you are interested in financing in any of the areas below, click here to apply.