Before you incorporate a company in Singapore, the first thing you must do is register a business name. The name of your company will help others identify the type of business you carry out as well as set you apart from your competitors.
Choosing a name can be tricky because, aside from considering how the name can support your business growth, you also have to make sure that it gets approved by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Here are some tips to help you select a name that is suitable for approval by ACRA:
- Don’t choose an undesirable name
Undesirable names include those that contain expletives or are obscene. Under the Business Names Registration Act, religious names are also undesirable and will be rejected by ACRA.
- Steer clear of names prohibited by order of the Minister for Finance
Certain names are unavailable for registration, simply by the order of the Minister for Finance. “Temasek” is currently the only word that is not available to be registered.
- Avoid similar or identical names
For the name you choose to be approved by ACRA, it cannot be similar or identical to an existing business name or name(s) that are already reserved. Reserved names are those that have been approved by ACRA but not yet registered because the business has not yet been incorporated. The name will be reserved for at least 60 days and up to 120 days.
To check if a name is available, you should conduct a search on Bizfile+.
First, check for different sequences of the same name, such as “Luggage Big and Small” against “Luggage Small and Big”, “Big and Small Luggage”, and “Small and Big Luggage”. You cannot register names that are of different sequences to an existing name.
Also, check the name against shortened forms, such as “Flower Express” against “Flower Xpress”. Using punctuation is not sufficient to distinguish a chosen name, such as if “Flower Xpress” is already taken, you cannot register your business under the name “Flower X’press” or “Flower X-press”. Altogether, this prevents you from choosing names with similar pronunciations to already existing businesses.
Next, check the name against others with similar meanings. For example, “Fast Movers” is considered similar to “Fast Transports” or “Fast Logistics” because all indicate an identical trade or industry. “Velvet Fashion” is similar to “Velvet Boutique” or “Velvet Apparel” as well.
Finally, adding geographical words or phrases, the word “the”, and words relating to the type of business entity are also insufficient to set a name apart from already existing or reserved names. For example, should “Yellow Marketing” be taken, you cannot register names including:
- “Yellow Marketing Singapore”
- “Yellow Marketing Asia” / “Yellow Marketing Asia Pacific”
- “Yellow Marketing WorldWide” / “Yellow Marketing International”
- “The Yellow Marketing”
- “Yellow Marketing Pte” / “Yellow Marketing Private”
- “Yellow Marketing Ltd” / “Yellow Marketing Limited”
- Read more: Guide to Company Incorporation in Singapore
Registering your company name
Once you have selected a suitable name, you can go onto Bizfile+ to complete the application for your company name. When you fill in your proposed company name in the application form and if the name you have chosen is unavailable, the system will prompt you.
You will also need to fill in your primary as well as secondary business activities. For example, your business might be selling cupcakes as your main business activity but also sell baking tools as a secondary activity; you have to list these activities down in the application.
After you’ve completed and submitted your application, the result is usually available almost immediately. For more applications that have to be referred to relevant authorities, the results can take from 2 weeks to 2 months. You will also be required to pay an application fee of $15.
Within 120 days from approval, you have to incorporate your company as the approved name will only be reserved for this period, after which it will be made available again to the public.
Altogether, both choosing a name and incorporating a company are tedious processes. Many companies that are planning to incorporate decide to use incorporation services in Singapore to help them simplify the process as well as allow them to get business operations started as quickly and efficiently as possible. That is why, consider how incorporation services might save you time, effort and costs before you begin the first step of your company incorporation process. Engage Express Corporate Services, a trusted corporate service provider in Singapore, to assist you in incorporating your company today!