Are you ready to start your new business?
In British Columbia, there are a few steps to make sure your business starts the right way. Our staff can offer you one-on-one service to help you navigate the process and have your name approved.
What’s in a name? When it comes to your business, a lot. Your business name is the first thing a potential customer will know about you.
To start a business in British Columbia, you need to submit your proposed business name to the BC names examiner for evaluation. This is called a name approval request.
The registry office will check if your desired name is too similar to existing names on the BC Corporate Register, which is meant to prevent confusion among the public.
Approving your business name is the first step in the registration process. BC Registry Services have to approve your name if you are:
- Incorporating a company, society or cooperative
- Registering a Partnership or Sole Proprietorship
Name Approval Request Form
To apply for a name approval you have to complete the Name Approval Request Form.
Download Name Approval Request Form
You can have up to three choices of names on a Name Approval Request Form. The Corporate Registry will only examine the request until a name is approved. For example, if your first choice is approved, they will not search the remaining two.
Your business name must have the following two things to be considered:
- The first part of your name must start with a distinctive non-descriptive word or phrase. For example, a geographical location, your name, a made-up word or phrase, or initials.
- The second part of your name must describe what type of business you are in. For example, shoe store, investments, or dog wash.
Therefore, "John’s Shoe Store" or "Vancouver Doggy Wash" will be approved but "The Shoe Store" or "The Doggy Wash" will not be.
Also, if you are incorporating a company, you must add a third component called the corporate designation. For example, Limited, Ltd., Corporation, Corp., Incorporated, Inc.
However, a corporate designation is not used if you are registering a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership.
Submitting Through the Richmond Chamber of Commerce
The Richmond Chamber of Commerce can help get a sole proprietorship or partnership name approved. Our advisors will review your business name choices to ensure it meets formatting requirements and give you recommendations that can increase the chance of name approval.
- In-person: $50 (incl. GST & Government Processing Fee)
- Online Via Zoom or Phone: $55 (incl. GST & Government Processing Fee)
If you are doing your Name Approval at the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, our staff will contact you when your results are in.
If one of your names is approved, it will be reserved for 56 calendar days. During this time, you must submit your Declaration Form. Your name reservation will expire if your documentation is not submitted within 56 days.
Sole Proprietorship or Partnership
Register Your Business Online
You can submit the declaration form online at BC Registries and Online Services (gov.bc.ca) for a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership.
Register Your Business through the Richmond Chamber of Commerce
We can assist you with registering your company and getting your BC Registration Number. All you need to do is bring your BC Service Card to our office and our team will be able to guide you through the process step by step.
We can also help you to get your CRA business number and GST number at the same time. *
*There is an additional $10 fee for the CRA Business Number/GST Number Request.
Service Fee: $60 (incl. GST & Government Processing Fee)
Please note: this service needs to be done in our office
Register Your Business by Mail
You can also mail the declaration form to the Ministry of Finance, Corporate and Personal Property Registries, PO Box 9431 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, BC V8W 9V3.
You must register your incorporation online at BC Registries and Online Services (gov.bc.ca)
After your business is registered provincially, you can apply for a business license in the municipality where you will be operating.
The City of Richmond business licenses can be applied through their online portal, MyBusiness. The self-service option allows new and existing business owners to apply for, update, and renew their licences online without coming to City Hall.
"I really didn't imagine that a single location our size would afford health benefits. Most of my staff have been here since the beginning and I think one of the main reasons is the Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan."
Eric Ho, Owner - Little Fox Bakehouse