Project Design

Reforming Business Registration Regulatory Procedures at the National Level - A Reform Toolkit, IFC, 2006

    The purpose of this toolkit is to guide users through the design and implementation of business-registration reforms. It highlights and draws upon good-practice cases and on reforms already implemented in many countries. In this toolkit the term 'business registration' refers to the set of administrative processes for setting up a business as a unique legal entity that can engage legitimately in commercial activities. The World Bank's Doing Business database tells us that the process of setting up a limited liability company in a country's capital city can take 2,203 days, and involve 219 procedures.

    This toolkit shows how to streamline the procedures an entrepreneur must comply with in order to set up a generic business before applying any sector-specific licenses or certifications for activities with particular environmental or health dimensions.

    To ensure compatibility with the Doing Business methodology we generally use the same limited definition of business registration. Doing Business records all generic procedures officially required for starting up an industrial or commercial business. These procedures include (1) obtaining all necessary licenses and permits and (2)completing any required notifications, verifications, or inscriptions with relevant authorities.

    This approach makes a number of important assumptions about the hypothetical business and about what is meant by procedures. It is important to remember that these assumptions lead to a somewhat limiting definition of a newly establishing business, but the assumptions are necessary to ensure that businesses and procedures may be compared across countries.

    For example, Doing Business does not consider the case of very small businesses or proprietorships that do not require limited liability and that typically face somewhat simpler procedures as a result. Many countries require sub-national registration procedures in addition to national procedures, although in federal systems registration often occurs at the state level.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Synthesis documents
    »Toolkits for Business Environment Reform Projects (last update: 2012)