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Home » Articles » How to start a corporation in Jamaica

How to start a corporation in Jamaica

Most entrepreneurs and business leaders envision expanding operations once they reach the point where they can start a corporation and build access to other countries. 

Jamaica is one of the name destinations that can best showcase how to start a corporation. The Island significantly recorded several startup corporations after its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Its resilience after facing economic challenges is impressive. The government and the various business sectors worked hand in hand to sustain and help recover from its economic loss.

According to the World Bank, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) accelerated by 2.9 percent in the first semester of 2023, encompassing its pre-crisis level. It is attributed to export activities strengthening various sectors, including mining and tourism.

With this factor, many business strategists focused on its rising economy and started researching ways to start a corporation in Jamaica.

If you are a potential entrepreneur or business leader wanting to start a corporation in Jamaica, this article might help you.

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Basic requirements to start a corporation in Jamaica

For every business opportunity, it is important to know the requirements to ensure a more seamless and compliant set-up for your corporation.

Basic requirements to start a corporation in Jamaica
Basic requirements to start a corporation in Jamaica

Here is the list of basic requirements to guide you:

  • Business registration certificate; 
  • Tax Office (General consumption tax, Taxpayer registration number);
  • The National Insurance Scheme or NIS;
  • National Housing Trust;
  • Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC);
  • Accomplished Form 20 for the composition of the board of directors (BOC); and
  • Additional forms such as Form 1 (declaration of compliance), Form A1 (articles of incorporation), and Form 17 (address of the company)

All forms are accessible and downloadable through the official online page of the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ). It also includes other necessary information in the filing, key considerations, and important reminders in filling out forms.

How to register a startup corporation in Jamaica

To secure a registration certificate, the corporation must first file and submit the necessary documents at the COJ with a certain amount of fee and additional requirements.

This includes the following: 

1. Registration for a foreign corporation

For foreign registration, the COJ specified certain restrictions and documentary requirements for foreign corporations. Registering companies must provide the following documents:

  • A profit and loss account and a balance sheet by the Companies Act 2004 of Jamaica
  • Accomplished Form 31 supported with an authenticated copy of the statute, charter, and articles of the firm
  • In case of changes, the registrar will use Form 5 to update information. Changes made to the company name shall be provided with Form 31, with a verified copy of the name change documentation. 

2. Registration for a local corporation

The COJ requires local business corporations and entrepreneurs to provide an accomplished Form 6 to access the registration process with a corresponding fee for registration and name search. 

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After completing the process, the firm will receive a letter stating the name reservation with a validity of 90 days.

Once approved, supporting documents and forms must be submitted:

  • Form 1A for profitable companies, or
  • Form 1B for non-profit companies
  • Articles of incorporation for stamp at the transfer tax department of COJ
  • Jamaica-based corporation address under registration
  • List of managers
  • Applicable corporation restrictions
  • Share capital, class, and the least number of shares, if there are any, and 
  • Form 3 for companies with over one class of share and issues above one level at an incorporation time.

5 things you need to start a corporation in Jamaica 

Whether you’re a local or foreign corporation, familiarization with the proper ways to start a corporation in Jamaica with in-depth preparation is needed.

The level of competitiveness and approval rate may vary depending on the preparedness of your corporation and the way you comply with all the required submissions. 

Knowing the basic requirements and the process of registration is a good catch. However, conducting an advanced research study about the company’s potential and feasibility of the operation should be determined as well. 

Here are some to-do lists that may help ensure the sustainability and feasibility of your corporation in Jamaica.

#1 Know the emerging sectors in Jamaica and their current need 

Determining the emerging sectors is very significant in starting a corporation in Jamaica.

Based on the world, being one of the major economies in the Caribbean, the Island is blessed with natural resources in the forms of mineral deposits, a neutral climate, and natural island beauty. 

5 things you need to start a corporation in Jamaica 
5 things you need to start a corporation in Jamaica

It is no wonder that most of their emerging sectors today relate to the value of the natural resources that can be found in the country, including

  • Tourism
  • Agriculture
  • Mining
  • Manufacturing 
  • Imports and exports 

These sectors can be a basis for many startup corporations to think of innovative ways to connect and support the current market ecosystem of Jamaica. 

Part of the discussion at the recently conducted Invest Jamaica 2022 Business Conference is the government’s support to welcome local and foreign investors as part of its strategy for continuous economic development.

#2 Search for available resources and human capital 

The existence of resources, particularly in those corporations in the manufacturing industry, is an advantage. Procuring local resources can be more cost-efficient than importing from other countries. 

Human capital is also a consideration. For foreign corporations who wish to establish an operation center in Jamaica, the versatility of workers and unemployment rate in the country can be a great opportunity. 

The number of workers looking for jobs in administrative and technical fields is high, as well as those young professional workers who can do full-time jobs remotely.  

#3 Learn the country’s culture and business regulations

Although Jamaica has a good track record in supporting local and international investors, familiarization with the culture and regulations on how to start a corporation set by the government is very significant.

Abiding and ensuring cultural compatibility with the ways and practices of your chosen location contributes to overall sustainability, especially if outsourcing remote talents is an option. 

Your team’s connections and working relationships must be aligned with your chosen location’s working conditions and environment.

#4 Utilization of technological advancement and process automation 

The government of Jamaica supports the island’s transformation as an innovator in technology. 

It can be seen in the rise of tech companies and how the systems and process automation of firms embrace the change and requirements of the evolving digital era of business.

By utilizing technology, the question of how to start a corporation in Jamaica can be easily determined. The competitiveness and readiness of your company can keep abreast of the trends in your industry sector. 

#5 Explore information available online 

Today, almost everything can be searched online.

When starting a corporation in Jamaica, researching and acquiring ideas on the process, requirements, and conditions of your identified place or destination to establish your operation center is essential.

Jamaica as a new destination for startup corporations

The resiliency of Jamaica after the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic caught the attention of many business experts. 

Jamaica as a new destination for startup corporations
Jamaica as a new destination for startup corporations

As a result, the country attracted many local and foreign investors to start a corporation and expand satellite offices. 

The government’s support is also exceptional, extending efforts to transform the capability of its economy by building a firm relationship on an international scale.

The aim to help sustain its emerging sectors and explore the possibility of working with different stakeholders and foreign business leaders resulted in a desirable movement of growth rate in Jamaica over the years.

The country is well-known to be hospitable because of its developing tourism industry. But today, it is also carving a name as a go-to destination for foreign investors to start a corporation and explore other business opportunities.

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