How To Register Your Startup’s Business Name With DTI

It’s the first step to getting your business up and running.

Suck at money? Congrats. You’re part of the 99 percent of people in their 20s floundering when it comes to finance. Adulting is hard, and money is harder—especially when it’s your own and not your parents. My Two Cents is here to break down everything you need to know about finance, business, and entrepreneurship. We’ll tackle all the basics, from how to get a business permit to how to invest in stocks, to educating the fledgling adults on how to not go broke.

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Welcome to the idiot’s guide to money. Second lesson: How to register your business name under sole proprietorship with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Registering your business name is one of the most important steps to getting your business off the ground. A Business Name Certificate from DTI gives you full rights over your business name, and thus, your brand. It’s not a license to operate your business, but it is a step towards it. At best, getting your business name is a symbolic step that really gets the ball rolling. This is how to you get it:

Choosing a business name

Before any paperwork or processes, the first thing to do is to settle on the business name you plan to register. This isn’t something that should be taken lightly. DTI has an entire list of guidelines to follow before finalizing your business name. The following types of names are not advisable:

1| Those that connote activities or norms that are unlawful, immoral, scandalous or contrary to propriety.
2| Those names, words, terms or expressions used to designate or distinguish, or suggestive of quality, of any class of goods, articles, merchandise, products or services.
3| Those that are registered as trade names, trademarks, or business names by any government agency authorized to register names or trademarks.
4| Those that are inimical to the security of the State.
5| Those that are composed purely of generic word or words.
6| Those that by law or regulation are restricted or cannot be appropriated.
7| Those that are officially used by the government in its non-proprietary functions.
8| Those names or abbreviations of any nation, intergovernmental or international organization unless authorized by competent authority of that nation, inter-government or international organization.
9| Those ordered or declared by administrative agencies/bodies or regular court not to be registered.
10| Those names of other persons.
11| Those names that are deceptive, misleading or which misrepresent the nature of business.


Sole proprietorship business names are also not allowed to use the words “company,” “corporation,” “incorporated,” and “cooperative.” Only partnerships and corporations registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and cooperatives registered with the Cooperative Development Authority can use those words in their business name. 

Gathering your requirements

The next step on how to register your business name is getting your requirements together. If you plan to file your business name at the nearest DTI office, you’ll need to bring: two copies of an accomplished application form, a government issued identification card (passport, driver’s license, etc.), and a registration fee based on your target business scope.

The business scope refers to the limit of your rights over your business name. A barangay business scope means that your business name will be unique only in your barangay and other barangays may use the same name. A national business scope means you have ownership of that name throughout the country and no one else can use it. The registration fee per target business scope is at P200 for barangay, P500 for city or municipality, P1,000 for regional, and P2,000 for national. Another P15 will be charged for documentary stamp tax.

Foreigners registering their business name will also need to bring their Alien Certificate of Registration and Certificate of Registration for Sole Proprietorship/Certificate of Authority to Engage in Business in the Philippines. 

However, if you don’t want to visit your local DTI branch, the government agency has opened up its services online, meaning you can accomplish your registration completely on their website. Here’s how sole proprietorships can do just that:

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1| Go to DTI’s e-Business Name Registration System and click Register Now.
2| Follow the steps to complete the application form. The website has a function that will automatically check and validate your business name.
4| Pay your registration fee based on the scope of your business. You can pay online via GCash or you can pay at the DTI office or Negosyo center that should be indicated in your acknowledgement form.
5| Once all of that is done, visit the closest DTI branch to pick up your Business name Certificate.

Quick facts

1| You can send a representative to process or pick up your business name document. The representative just has to bring a valid ID and authorization letter.

2| Your Business Name Certificate is valid for only five years, after which you’ll have to file for a renewal.

3| You can change/update your territorial scope, business address, email address, contact number, and residence address when you renew your business name.

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About The Author
Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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