Manitoba (MB) is one of the Prairie provinces in Canada. It has a population of over 1.3 million, and its capital is Winnipeg. If you’re thinking of starting a business in Manitoba, you’ll need to register it. The business opportunities in Manitoba are vast and include everything from agriculture to manufacturing to tourism.

The government of Manitoba is making it easier for people to start businesses by providing various programs and services. For example, The Entrepreneur Pathway (EP) is a program that allows immigrating to Manitoba if you have a business idea and the required skills and experience. If you want to start a farming business, the government also has AgriInvest, AgriDiversity, and AgriInsurance programs to support you.

So starting a business in Manitoba is a great idea, and with the right planning and preparation, it can be a very successful venture. Still, there are several important things and aspects you need to know before registering a business in Manitoba, such as choosing the right business structure, registering a business name, and obtaining the required licenses and permits.

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right business structure for your company in Manitoba. These include the type of business, the number of owners, and the desired level of liability protection. The most common business structures in Manitoba are sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. Each business structure has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Sole proprietorship

You can get the highest degree of control and decision-making power with a sole proprietorship. This business structure is easy and inexpensive to set up, and you’re not required to register with the province. However, you will be personally liable for all debts and obligations of the business. In simple words, if your business fails, you could lose your personal assets, such as your home or savings.

Partnership

A partnership is a little bit more complicated than a sole proprietorship, but it can offer some benefits, such as shared liability and increased capital. Partnerships can be suitable for businesses with more than one owner.

However, it is also important to discern between different types of partnerships, as there are general partnerships and limited partnerships. General partnerships are the most common as they provide equal decision-making power and liability to all partners. Limited partnerships are a bit more complex, as they have one or more general partners and one or more limited partners.

The limited partners have less control over the business and are only liable for the debts and obligations up to the amount they’ve invested.

Corporation

While corporations are the most complex business structure, they offer many advantages, such as limited liability and a separate legal entity. This means that the owner’s personal assets are protected in the event that the business fails. Corporations can be either federal or provincial. In Manitoba, you’ll need to register your corporation with the Companies Office.

Corporations are perfectly fit for large businesses with many employees and complex operations. If you’re planning on starting a small business, a sole proprietorship or partnership might be more suitable.

How to register a business name in Manitoba?

To register a business name in Manitoba, you will need to reserve it first. The business name reservation process is simple and can be done online through the Companies Office website. You should also ensure that your business name is not already in use by another company and that it complies with the rules set out in The Business Names Registration Act.

For instance, it is not allowed to register a business name that is misleading, contains profanity, or implies a connection to a government organization in Canada. There are several recommendations you may find useful while brainstorming for a business name. For example, try to keep it short, catchy, and easy to pronounce.

Many business names consist of two parts: the distinctive element and the descriptive element.

The distinctive element is what makes your business name unique and recognizable, while the descriptive element provides information about the products or services you offer. An example of a business name with both a distinctive and descriptive element would be “John’s Carpentry & Construction.”

You can also use numbered names and one-word names. However, these types of business names are less common.

Reserving a business name

The easiest way to reserve a business name is to file an online application through the Companies Office website. The reservation will be valid for 60 days and costs $45. After the 60-day period, you will need to register your business name if you want to keep using it.

The first step to reserve a business name is to create an account with the Companies Office. You will need to provide your personal information, such as your desired username, address, and email. You will also need to create a password. Once you have created an account, you can log in and begin the business name reservation process.

create login

The first step to reserve a business name is to create an account with the Companies Office. You will need to provide your personal information, such as your desired username, address, and email. You will also need to create a password. Once you have created an account, you can log in and begin the business name reservation process.

online serivce

After you create an account, click the “Companies Online” link. You will be redirected to a new page where you should select the correct account type.

Large companies use the “Deposit Account”, while smaller businesses use the “Regular Account”. The main difference between these account types is the way how you will be charged for business services.

Funds are deposited into a deposit account in advance, while with a regular account, you will be charged after you use the service. 

companies online

Fill out the regular account registration form by providing your first name, last name, address, city, country, postal code, and phone number. Now you can proceed to the business name reservation form.

regular account

Click the “Submit a Name Reservation Request” link on your dashboard. You will be redirected to a new page where you can reserve a business name for your business in Manitoba. 

reserve name

Selecting a type of business

Now you need to select the entity type of your business. If you are unsure about the entity type of your business, you can consult with a lawyer or accountant.

name reservation

Continue by entering the proposed name. You can also enter the bilingual version of the name if applicable. This is optional; however, we recommend including it to make your business name more accessible to a wider audience.

name reservation form

Select the reason for reservation, how and why the name was chosen, and provide information about where your business in Manitoba will be carried on. You should also provide information on the nature of the business.

select reservation

The final step is to provide delivery and contact information. Once you are done, click the “Next page” button to submit your business name reservation request.

delivery and contact info

You can pay for the business name reservation with a credit card. Mastercard and Visa are accepted. The fee is $45 and is non-refundable. After the payment, you will receive a confirmation email with the details of your reservation. The business name will be reserved for 60 days.

How to register a sole proprietorship or partnership in Manitoba?

The process of registering a sole proprietorship or partnership in Manitoba is similar. You will have to provide the name, reservation number, business address, and other details. You will also have to pay a $60 registration fee. 

Click the “Register a Sole Proprietorship with Individual Registrant” if you want to register a sole proprietorship or “Register a Partnership” if you want to register a partnership. After that, you will be redirected to the registration form.

Fill out the business name reservation number or choose the numbered name. It is better to reserve a unique and original name for your business. Numbered names are not as memorable and can be confusing for potential customers.

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name selection

Next, you should enter the date of the start of your business. The effective date should be the date when your business will start operating in Manitoba.

general info

Enter your business location information. It should be the physical address where your business is located. If you have more than one location, you can register them all. After that, click the “Add” button.

business location info

Step 3 requires you to enter mailing information. This is the address where you want to receive your business mail. It can be the same as your business location or a P.O. Box.

In step 4, you fill out owner information. As a sole proprietor, you will be the only owner. If you register a partnership, you need to add the names and information of all partners.

owner info

Next, provide your CRA business number. If you don’t have it just yet, you should click “The registrant(s) of this business do not have a business number”. You can register for a CRA business number after you submit your registration form.

cra number

Enter the nature of your business during Step 6. Be specific and describe what your business activity will be.

Confirm your registration and press the “Pre-Registration Report” button. You will be redirected to a new page with all the information you have provided. Check it carefully and make sure that everything is correct. If you need to make changes, click the “Fix Error” button. When you are done, click “Submit”.

confirmation

The fee for registering a sole proprietorship or general partnership is $60. You can pay with your credit card. You can pay for expedited service if you want your business to be registered within 2 business days. The fee for expedited service is $120.

How to register a corporation in Manitoba?

If you want to register a corporation in Manitoba, you will have to follow a slightly different process. Click the “Incorporate Business Corporation” link in your Companies Office account dashboard.

incorporate

Enter your business name reservation number to start the registration process. You can choose a numbered name for your corporation, and in this case, you don’t need to reserve a business name.

name selection

Step 1 requires you to enter the mailing address of your corporation. This address will be used to mail important documents to your corporation. You can also provide your email address to receive notifications when the annual return or renewal notice is due to be filed.

mail info

Next, you should enter the registered office information. If your registered office address is the same as your mailing address, click the “Copy Mailing Address” button.

office info

You should fill out the information on your Articles of Incorporation in the next step. Articles of Incorporation are the rules that govern your corporation. They include the name of your corporation, share classes, the names of directors, and other important information. Enter your share classes based on the type of shares you want to issue.

1

Proceed to fill out rights, privileges, or restrictions of shares. For instance, you can set different rights for different classes of shareholders.

2

Next, enter restrictions on share transfers and activities that your corporation cannot engage in. Select “None” if you don’t want to impose any restrictions.

3

Provisions and directors

Enter other provisions and the number of directors. Other provisions are optional and can be used to set different rules for your corporation. Directors are the people who manage your corporation. The minimum number of directors is one, but you can have more. Make sure that at least 25% of your directors are Canadian residents.

5

Provide the information on your directors during Step 4. You should fill out the first name, last name, and address of every director. 

director info

After you have added all the directors, you should enter the incorporator’s personal information. An incorporator is a person or legal entity that registers a corporation.

registry

Fill out the nature of business of your corporation. Make sure to describe your business activity in detail.

business nature

Check the pre-registration report during the last step. This step is very important because it allows you to check all the information you have provided and make changes if necessary. Once you are sure that everything is correct, click “Complete” to submit your registration application.

confim

The fee for registering a corporation in Manitoba is $350. You can pay it with Visa or Mastercard credit cards.

Is a business bank account required to run a business in Manitoba?

While you don’t need a business bank account to operate a business in Manitoba, it can be helpful to have one. A separate business bank account can make it easier to track expenses and income. It can also help you build business credit. Many banks provide special services and products for businesses, such as loans, business credit cards, and merchant services.

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Frequently asked questions about registering a business in Manitoba

How to register a business in Manitoba?

You can register a business in Manitoba through the Companies Office Manitoba website. You need to reserve a business name and fill out and submit a Business Registration Application form online.

How to register a small business in Manitoba? 

The most suitable legal business form for a small business in Manitoba is a sole proprietorship. You can register a small business in Manitoba through the Companies Office Manitoba website.

Can I start a business without registering it in Manitoba?

The answer is no. You cannot operate a business in Manitoba without first registering it with the province.

How much business registration costs in Manitoba?

The cost of registering a business in Manitoba depends on the type of business you are starting. For example, if you are starting a sole proprietorship or partnership, you will have to pay $60 to register your business. If you are incorporating a company, you will have to pay $350. You also need to pay a name reservation fee of $45.

Should I use a Manitoba business incorporation or a federal incorporation?

This depends on your business goals and objectives. If you plan to do business only in Manitoba, then provincial incorporation would be sufficient. If you plan to expand your business outside of Manitoba, then federal incorporation would be a better option.

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