As a business owner it is important to register your business with the relevant government authorities. Registering your business will help you to access legal and financial services provided by the government, commercial banks and courts that are not available to unregistered businesses.
Why does formal business registration matter?
As a registered business, you will be able to:
- Protect your business name and start to develop a good reputation in the marketplace;
- Open a business bank account and apply for bank loans;
- Enter into contracts with other businesses and trade across borders;
- Access social security protections and benefits for your staff and yourself; and
- Apply for government and donor agency grants, services and training.
As a registered tax-paying business you are also contributing to the social and economic growth of your country by enabling the government to spend on infrastructure, improving productivity and policy objectives.
How to register your business
Registering a business in the Pacific can be a time consuming, and sometimes confusing, endeavour. Some countries have streamlined the process and moved towards online registration, but in other countries it can involve visits to numerous government departments and advice from various sources.
To fast-track the process:
- Make sure you know what documentation is required and have it ready.
- You will need to register a business address, so decide if this will be your home or rental premises
- Decide on the name of your business and business structure, as other owners may need to be registered as company owners/directors
- Find out any fees that apply, and ask if there is a discount for small or women-owned businesses
- When registering, ask about tax discounts for small businesses. Some countries, like Fiji, have a threshold under which you don’t have to pay tax but benefit from the protections of a formal business.
The following government websites provide information and resources for how to register your business:
Papua New Guinea
Visit the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) website at www.ipa.gov.pg and follow the links to how to download the relevant forms and register online.
In Fiji, you must start by registering a company with the Companies Office. Please contact the Office for information about relevant documentation you will be required to take with you.
Registrar of Companies Office
Level 2, Suvavou House
Victoria Parade, SuvaFacsimile: +679 331-8830
Telephone: +679 331-2981
Facsimile: +679 331-8830
You will then need to register your company as an operating business with the town council/s in which it will operate. Please note that the cost varies between councils and you will need to take relevant documentation with you.
An online business registration facility is currently under development. Visit www.egov.gov.fj for more details.
In the Solomon Islands, businesses are registered via the Company Haus of Solomon Islands. Visit their website for details.
In Samoa, businesses can be registered online at www.companies.gov.ws.
For general information about registering your business name, company and licences in Tonga visit www.businessregistries.gov.to.
The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce provide general information about starting a new business on their website. Visit it here.
To register your business or company, go to the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission website.
Note: Westpac has offices in PNG and Fiji, so much of the content on this site relates to these countries. We hope, though, that it is useful for all women entrepreneurs across the Pacific and beyond.
We welcome your feedback on additional resources or contacts that would help to improve Pacific Women in Business. Please contact us with your ideas and feedback.