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How To Pick the Right Company Name

Author Lim Wan ErLim Wan Er

5 min read
Better Business

Choosing a business name is not that simple, and you may wreck your brains over choosing one, only to find out that ACRA did not approve its registration.

How To Pick the Right Company Name

Choosing a business name is not that simple, and you may wreck your brains over choosing one, only to find out that ACRA did not approve its registration. What you should know is that there are some considerations you should keep in mind when choosing the most suitable name, and we will cover them in the guide below.

Choosing the right company name is just part of the process of registering a company in Singapore. There are many more steps to take note of which you might not be aware of if this is your first time doing so. You can do it on your own but you don’t have to. Let us handle the administrative part of this process while you focus on growing your business.

Registering Your Company Name

When you have decided on your future business plans and direction, the next thing to do is to choose a company name that defines your business and determine how your customers identify with your company. Before you can successfully set up a company in Singapore, you must reserve and register your company name.

The proposed name will be sent for approval by the Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Certain restrictions can cause your name to be rejected by ACRA. Get to know what increases your chances for successful name registration.

Steps To Register Your Company Name

  1. Register your name via BizFile+ before you incorporate your business.

The name application will cost $15.

  1. Specify your business activity with your application.

When you are filling out your application, you will be asked to specify the primary and secondary activities of your business. This can be done by choosing which classification code best corresponds to your business activity. A search for the Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) code can be done here.  

  1. Once your application has been approved, the name will be reserved for 120 days.

If you fail to register your business or incorporate your company within 120 days, ACRA will release the name and it will be available to the public to register.

For more download links for sole-proprietorship, partnership, local private limited company, limited liability partnership (LLP) or limited partnership (LP) companies, refer to the ACRA website here.

How Do I Ensure A Higher Chance Of Name Approval?

According to the Business Names Registration Act, ACRA will refuse a business name application if it is:

  • Identical to an already existing business

Avoid selecting names that are similar or almost identical to an existing business. ACRA will not allow two very similar company names to be registered.

  • Identical to an already reserved name

A reserved name refers to one that is already approved by ACRA but not yet fully registered because the business has not incorporated the company yet. The name will be held for up to 120 days and released if the company fails to incorporate the company by the deadline.

  • Undesirable

If the name chosen is obscene, vulgar or offensive, ACRA will reject your application. Keep in mind that Singapore is a multi-racial country and your chosen name should not appear offensive to any race or religion.

  • Prohibited by order of the Minister for Finance

This includes the word “Temasek” for now until there are new words that the Minister has directed the Registrar not to accept.

If you need more detailed guidelines on your name selection, you can read up on ACRA's Policy Statement on the Treatment of Business Names and Name Complaints and Companies (Identical names) Regulations 2015.

Tips For Coming Up With Your Company Name

If you have spent a lot of time deciding on your perfect company name, you do not want your application to be rejected. So, we strongly recommend that you make sure your name is within the recommended guidelines to avoid disappointment.

Remember, if any entity or person lodges a valid complaint within 12 months saying that your name is similar to their company’s and is likely to be mistaken, the Registrar has the right to direct you to change your name with discretion.

Here are some simple tips for you to consider when picking your name.

  • Check for names with similar pronunciations

For example: Chong, Chung, Cheong / Yen, Yan, Yien / The Electron, De Electron, De’Electron etc.

  • Check for names in a different sequence

For example: if your chosen name is “Salt, Pepper and Cumin”, you should check for “Pepper, Salt and Cumin”, “Cumin, Salt and Pepper” or “Cumin, Pepper and Salt”.

  • Check for names of countries and places

For example: “Nobita Trading” is similar to “Nobita Trading International”, “Nobita Trading Singapore” or “Nobita Trading South-east Asia”.

  • Check for punctuation marks in the name

For example: “Daikon Electronics” is considered similar to “Daikon! Electronics”, “Daikon-Electronics” or “Daikon@ Electronics”.

  • Avoid words that may require additional licences

Some words may trigger further inspection from regulatory bodies and you will either be asked to remove the word in your name or require additional licenses.

For example: if your name is “Carrot School and Academy”, it may be referred to the Ministry of Education for review and approval. Similarly, if your name has words like “university”, “bank” and “insurance” for instance, they may require additional approval.

How Do I Make Sure My Chosen Name Isn’t Already Taken?

To confirm that your chosen name is not yet taken or reserved, it is best to do a search on ACRA’s Bizfile+, or simply do a Google search. Once you have run the search, it will reveal a whole list of names that are identical or similar to your chosen name.

However, if you find that it’s too difficult coming up with a name all by yourself, we offer a name generator tool here at Osome as well. All you have to do is to type in any word such as one that relates to your business activities or simply a word that you like and choose from a variety of unique names in several fonts specially created for you.

Examples Of Successful Company Names

Some company names in Singapore immediately link you to the product they are selling or the service they provide. Here are some examples.

  • Carousell - an e-commerce platform for the average person to sell on
  • BreadTalk - a bakery that sells bread
  • Flextronics - a manufacturing company that sells electronic equipment
  • Grab - a service platform that you can grab food, transport rides and anything else
  • Koufu - a food court chain
  • Scoot - an airline transportation company that scoots you around the world

Well, What’s Next?

Once you have your chosen name, checked that it is not similar to any other company, and applied for the exclusive use of the name with ACRA, you’ll need to register and incorporate your company.

Of course, at Osome, we have a group of dedicated professionals that help you with company incorporation in Singapore online. If you need a company secretary in Singapore or a nominee director, Osome is here to guide you on all matters of your business. Simply drop us a message for an instant callback!

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