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Home » Articles » How to start a corporation in India

How to start a corporation in India

India’s landscape beckons business people keen on founding a corporation, yet the intricacies of legalities necessitate a comprehensive grasp of the fundamentals.

Understanding essential requisites, legal obligations, and stringent adherence to Indian labor laws is paramount in this pursuit. A well-defined roadmap is indispensable for forming a corporation in India.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to kickstart your journey. In this article, learn how to start a corporation in India.

How to start a corporation in India: List of minimum requirements

Establishing a corporation in any industry necessitates specific prerequisites mandated by the legal framework.

Before commencing the incorporation process, aspiring entrepreneurs or businessmen must be familiarized with the fundamental criteria forming a corporation’s bedrock.

These minimum requirements are the pillars for setting up a company and ensuring compliance with Indian corporate laws.

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Here are the minimum requirements needed to start a corporation in India:

How to start a corporation in India: Minimum requirements
At least 2 shareholdersEnsures shared ownership and investment in the company
At least 2 directorsEstablishes a governing body for decision-making and compliance
An Indian resident directorEnsures local representation and compliance with residency regulations
Registered officeServes as the official address for communication and legal notices
CapitalForms the initial financial base for company operations
Digital Signature CertificationEnables secure online transactions and document filing

At least 2 shareholders

Having a minimum of two shareholders stands as a foundational necessity. These shareholders, whether individuals or entities, play a critical role by contributing to the company’s share capital. 

The involvement of stakeholders in this capacity shapes the corporation’s financial and organizational structure and ownership dynamics.

Securing a minimum of two shareholders is an essential step in the comprehensive roadmap of starting a corporation in India.

At least 2 directors

Similar to the requirement for shareholders, a corporation in India mandates the presence of at least two directors. These directors are the governing body, steering the company’s decision-making and compliance endeavors.

Among these directors, one must hold the status of an Indian resident, bearing a Director Identification Number (DIN) issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

This criterion ensures local representation within the company’s leadership structure and aligns with the regulatory framework.

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Understanding the significance of having at least two directors, including an Indian resident, is part of the broader process of how to start a corporation in India.

An Indian resident director

Mandated by the Companies Act of India, this necessitates at least one director who has resided in the country for a minimum of 182 days in the preceding calendar year.

This residency requirement ensures a local representative within the company’s governance structure. This adherence mandates and fosters a deeper connection with the Indian business environment.

Registered office

Of course, you have to establish a registered office, for it serves as the formal address for the corporation. It’s a requirement that signifies the official presence and commitment of the corporation within the Indian jurisdiction.


Unlike some jurisdictions, India doesn’t stipulate a minimum capital requirement. However, disclosing the authorized capital during the incorporation process is crucial.

This capital represents the maximum value of shares a company can issue, emphasizing transparency and financial integrity during the formation phase.

Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs)

Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs) facilitate secure and authenticated online transactions, filings of crucial documents, and engagements with various government authorities.

Given the emphasis on digitization and streamlined processes, DSCs ensure the authenticity of electronic documents. They also assure compliance with regulatory frameworks and reinforce the credibility of corporate transactions within the Indian business ecosystem.

Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs)

Legal requirements for incorporating in India

How to start a corporation in India? Several legal requirements must be diligently fulfilled when incorporating a company in India.

These prerequisites ensure compliance with the legal framework established by the Indian regulatory authorities:

Certificate of Formation

Securing a Certificate of Incorporation from the Registrar of Companies (RoC) is essential to initiate the incorporation process in India.

This involves submitting essential documents and fulfilling predetermined criteria set forth by the regulatory authorities.

The Certificate of Formation marks the official recognition of the company’s existence as a legal entity and is a foundational requirement for the following initiatives:

  • Commencing operations
  • Opening bank accounts
  • Engaging in business activities within the country

Company name availability

Selecting a distinct and available name is also critical in the incorporation process.

Before the company is officially registered, verifying the chosen name’s availability and compliance with the guidelines outlined in the Companies Act is imperative.

Ensuring uniqueness and conformity to the stipulated rules prevent potential conflicts and legal hurdles post-incorporation. This provides a strong foundation for the corporation’s identity and branding initiatives.

Founder’s agreement

Though not a mandatory step, a founder’s agreement holds immense value in establishing clarity among the founders. This agreement acts as a blueprint of the corporation’s roles, responsibilities, and ownership structures.

It helps preempt potential disputes by defining the expectations of each founder, ensuring a smoother operational framework.

This agreement lays the groundwork for a cohesive and harmonious working environment by detailing decision-making processes, equity distribution, and dispute-resolution mechanisms.

By outlining these crucial elements at the outset, a founder’s agreement minimizes ambiguity and fosters a shared understanding among the co-founders.

Legal Licenses and permits

Securing specific licenses and permits is imperative for the lawful operation of businesses in India. The nature of the business dictates the types of licenses required, ranging from industry-specific permits to general business licenses.

Regulatory bodies enforce these requirements to ensure compliance with safety standards, local regulations, and industry-specific laws.

Whether it’s permits related to food, health, trade, or professional services, adhering to these legalities is essential. Failure to obtain the necessary licenses can lead to legal repercussions, hindering the corporation’s operations.

Business entity registration

India offers various business entity structures. Let’s explore the following in detail, including the registration process of each business entity:

Sole proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is an uncomplicated business structure where a single individual owns and operates the business.

This setup offers simplicity in decision-making and full control to the owner. However, the owner is personally liable for all the business obligations and debts.

Steps to register:

  • Acquire necessary business licenses and permits based on the nature of the business.
  • You should register for Goods and Services Tax (GST) – if applicable.
  • Open a bank account in the name of the proprietorship using the owner’s PAN card.

One Person Company (OPC)

Introduced to support single entrepreneurs, a One Person Company allows a single person to operate a corporate entity. It offers limited liability, separating personal assets from business liabilities.

Steps to register:

  • Obtain Digital Signature Certificates (DSC) for directors and shareholders.
  • Apply for a Director Identification Number (DIN) for the sole director.
  • Apply for name approval of the OPC.
  • Draft the Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Articles of Association (AOA) and submit them for registration.
One Person Company (OPC)
Legal requirements for incorporating in India

Partnership firm

A partnership involves two or more individuals sharing the business’s ownership, responsibilities, and profits. It offers flexibility and ease of formation, with partners jointly liable for debts.

Steps to register:

  • Choose a unique name for the partnership.
  • Draft a partnership deed outlining the terms and conditions.
  • Register the partnership deed with the Registrar of Firms in the state where the business operates.

Private limited company

A private limited company is a separate legal entity from its owners, providing limited liability to shareholders and stringent regulatory compliance. It’s suitable for medium to large-scale businesses.

Steps to register:

  • Obtain DSC for directors and shareholders.
  • Apply for DIN for all directors.
  • Apply for name availability and obtain approval.
  • File the initial draft of the Indian Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  • Attain a Certificate of Incorporation from the Registrar of Indian Companies.

Public limited company

Ideal for large-scale operations, a public limited company allows the public to invest in its shares through stock exchanges. It offers limited liability to shareholders.

Steps to register:

The initial steps for a public limited company are similar to the private limited company.

However, additional compliance with regulations concerning public companies is necessary, including issuing a prospectus and obtaining a certificate for the commencement of business.

Adherence to Indian Labor Laws

Starting a corporation in India demands strict adherence to labor laws governing employment, wages, working conditions, and employee rights.

Complying with regulations set by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) and Employee’s State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) is imperative.

Adherence to Indian Labor Laws
Adherence to Indian Labor Laws

How to start a corporation in India: Follow the guidelines

How to start a corporation in India? Starting a corporation in India can be a complex yet rewarding journey for entrepreneurs.

Aspiring business owners can navigate the intricate process with a clear understanding of the requirements, legal obligations, and labor laws.

As you embark on this endeavor, seeking professional guidance from legal experts or company formation consultants can streamline the incorporation process.

Furthermore, the abovementioned details can be your starting point to start a corporation in India. Good luck with this journey!

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