How to incorporate a business in the UK

A UK company is formed by filing a set of documents with the Company Registrar at Companies House. A company is officially registered when an incorporation certificate is issued for the company.

The documents which must be sent to Companies House include:

(A) Form IN01 (which includes some basic company details, such as the business name, who will be the initial directors and company secretary and company shareholders);

(B) Memorandum of Association; and

(c) Articles of Association.

Name of the Company

The name you want to use is one of the first things to consider when thinking about registering a company. However, before you make a final decision, there is a range of boxes that need to be ticked to stop the Registrar of Companies reject the name you choose for your company:

(A) The name of a private company should end with the word 'Limited;' or Ltd.

(B) The name cannot be the same (or similar) to other companies in the UK (the Companies House website has a service that helps to test this); and

(C) The name of the company can not contain any sensitive or offensive language. If your company name is too close to that of another trademark, you might violate trade.

Shareholders and Equity

One of the advantages of setting up a company is that it allows you to further formalise your business ownership structure.

  1. A company must have at least one shareholder (also known as a "member"), who must have at least one share of £0.01 or more.
  2. There are no restrictions on the number of shareholders or shares.
  3. At this point, the prospect of getting more than one "class" of a share will also be worth considering. Having different share classes allows different shareholders to have different rights, e.g. dividends, voting, and the ability to transfer shares.
  4. The ability to establish an ownership structure of different share classes is useful if you are trying to attract private investment as investors may need specific rights to add to their shares.


One of the most important components of any company is choosing the directors who are responsible for the day-to-day management of the company.

(A) A company must have at least one director.

(B) There is no restriction on the number of directors,

(C) A director must be at least 16 years of age.

Registered Office

You will be required to state the company's registered address as a part of the company formation process. A UK company must have a registered office in either England or Wales. It will be the official servicing address to receive business documents.


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