Starting a business can be done anywhere in the world. But it is good to note that some countries over others offer more advantages when it comes to starting up a business. We prepared a list of all thing you need to know about how to start a business in Mauritius.
Rated by World Bank as the number one country in Africa (ranking 20th in the world) for its ease of doing business, Mauritius is a wonderful location to start a business as it is recognized globally as a well-regulated financial hub.
The simplicity of the process of starting a business in Mauritius is also one of the attributes that makes the sub-Saharan island stand out from the rest. Some of the other benefits of starting a business in Mauritius include:
- Full foreign ownership under the companies act.
- A business-friendly society which consists of several cultures.
- An experienced multilingual workforce.
- Political and Social stability.
- Strong and friendly relations with southern and eastern Africa, China, Europe, south and west Asian countries.
- High level of Confidentiality and Privacy.
- The benefit of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTA), 46 concluded treaties as at January 2020.
- Presence of notable International banks, funds, law and financial firms in Mauritius.
Things to know before Registering a business
Before registering a business in Mauritius, some fundamental things such as the type of companies to be registered, and the legal statuses that govern foreign entrepreneurs and investors who want to set up a business in Mauritius must be considered. The types of companies recognized by The Companies Act 2001 include:
- Public Company: This type of company can trade freely on the stock exchange market and is not limited to a certain number of shareholders.
- Private Company: This type of company cannot offer their shares to the public and are restricted to no more than 25 shareholders.
- Small Private Company: It is similar to a private company, but the difference is that it has a turnover less than Ten million rupees (Rs 10,000,000).
- One-person Company: By default, this type of company is a private company. As the name suggests, it can only have one shareholder (a sole director).
- Global Business Company (GBC): These are companies that engage in offshore businesses. This type of company can be categorized into two, GBC Category 1 (GBC1) and GBC Category 2 (GBC2).
- Dormant company: A type of company that does not engage in any significant accounting transaction for a particular period of time.
- Foreign company: A type of company that is incorporated outside Mauritius. Under the Companies Act 2001, a foreign company, within the first month of starting a period in Mauritius, register a branch of said company in Mauritius.
GBC companies no longer exist. They were replaced by GBL. Read more in article GBL (GBC1 and GBC2) company in Mauritius.
Legal Status of Businesses
Regarding legal statuses, the various options available to foreign entrepreneurs and investors looking to start up a business in Mauritius include:
- Limited by guarantee: A company that is limited by guarantee comprises of (owned by) guarantors and not shareholders. Theses guarantors agree to pay a fixed sum of money to cover the company’s debts in the advent of liquidation. Also, guarantors do not share the profit; all and any profit realized is re-invested into the company.
- Limited by shares: A company that is limited by shares comprises of various shareholders who in the advent of liquidation or winding up are only liable for the debts of the company up to the values of their respective shares. Also, profit can be shared among the shareholders in the form of dividends or salary.
- Limited liability by shares and guarantees: A type of company that has shareholders who are liable to the amount of their shares and has guarantees who are liable to a fixed sum of money agreed to be contributed.
- Limited Life company: A type of company that is allowed by the constitution to have a lifespan of no more than 50 years from the day it was incorporated. This period can, however, be extended to a maximum of 150 years.
Process of registering a business in Mauritius
The Business Registration Act 2002 applies to persons starting a business in Mauritius. Registration of a company can be done in person or online through the Registrar of Companies (ROC).
The first step to registering a company is to confirm if the proposed company name is available or not. This can be done online through the Companies and Business Integrated System (CBRIS).
A fee of Rs100 will be paid to reserve the company name. After this, there are three different forms which are required to be filled when registering a business: BRF1 for individual, BRF2 for company/commercial partnership and BRF3 for société.
As state on the ROC website, the application form shall state:
- The full name, address of each applicant and national identification number of the person; or
- The name, address of registered office, incorporation/registration number if body corporate or unincorporated body;
- The business name, if any;
- The general nature of the business;
- The principal place of business and any other place where the business is carried on;
- The date or proposed date of commencement of business; and
- Such other information or particulars as may be required in the application form.
Fees to be paid to the registrar at the time of registration depends on the number of workforce. The fees are as follows:
- Not more than 10 persons – Rs 125
- 11-50 persons – Rs 250
- 51-100 persons – Rs 600
- More than 100 persons – Rs 1500
After the payment is made and the form with the relevant document is submitted, a Business Registration Card is issued to the applicant.
How to Start a Business in Mauritius: Other Information
The companies are required to pay an annual registration fee in accordance with Part I of the Twelfth Schedule of the Companies Act 2001 if the company remains registered under the registrar. Annual registration fees to be paid to the registrar as per the type of company is as follows:
- Private Company – Rs3, 000
- Public Company – Rs13, 500
- Foreign Company – Rs13, 500
- Private Company having a Category 1 Global Business License – Rs3, 000
- Public Company having a Category 1 Global Business License – Rs13, 500
- Foreign Company having a category 1 Global Business License – Rs13, 500
- Company having a Category 2 Global Business License – US$ 65
- Commercial Partnership (société commerciale including société commerciale de fait) – Rs9,000