Becoming self-employed in Senegal

September 21, 2023 Par Faustin Djoufouet

More and more Senegalese are embarking on the adventure of entrepreneurship, seduced by the prospects of independence and the desire to make a living from their passion. But create a traditional business often represents a financial and administrative investment, which can quickly dampen enthusiasm. This is why the status of self-entrepreneur in Senegal meets A great success among solo project leaders.

With its simplified creation formalities, its reduced costs and simplified management, individual self-employment constitutes an accessible gateway to entrepreneurship in Senegal. Craft activities, small businesses, personal services... there are varied sectors for doing business on your own.

The objective of this article is to provide a complete practical guide to support you in creating your own business in Senegal.

You will find all the necessary information there: conditions for becoming self-employed, administrative procedures, eligible activities, tax and social status, drawing up a business plan, advice for getting off to a good start...But before starting, here is How To Create Your Business On The Internet

What is self-employed status?

The self-employed regime was created in 2008 in Senegal to facilitate individual entrepreneurship.

This is a simplified legal, tax and social status which makes it very easy to create your micro-enterprise. Unlike traditional companies, there is no minimum capital to bring.

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Self-employment benefits from a flexible framework with minimal creation formalities. It is the ideal solution to quickly get started as a freelancer on your own.

What are the conditions for becoming self-employed in Senegal?

To become self-employed, you must meet the following conditions:

  • To be of age (over 18 years)
  • Residing in Senegal
  • Be of Senegalese nationality or have a valid residence permit
  • Have no criminal record
  • Choose an authorized commercial activity
  • Register and make a simplified tax declaration

There is no qualification or professional experience requirement. Self-entrepreneurship is open to everyone!

What activities can you carry out as a self-employed person?

The self-employed person has the choice between two main types of activity:

1. Commercial activities

The self-employed person has the choice among a wide range of commercial activities to start out on your own. These activities mainly concern the sale of material goods and merchandise.

One of the most common options is the street sale of food products or cooked meals. Many self-entrepreneurs offer this in the markets or in the street of the food, fruits and vegetables, fish, drinks… This activity requires a limited investment and allows you to get started quickly, with a ready clientele.

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Another possibility is the opening of a small local business : grocery store, hardware store, clothing or accessories shop, etc. The self-employed person builds up a stock of various products to market. But this option requires having suitable premises.

In the artisanal sector, the sale of locally made products (soaps, balms, syrups, etc.) or craft objects (jewelry, works of art, pottery…) is a growing niche, particularly among tourists.

Self-employment also makes it possible to set up small, more specialized businesses such as a jewelry store, a shoe repair shop or the sale of automobile parts. Again, it is preferable to have knowledge in the chosen field.

The opportunities are therefore varied for entrepreneurship in local commerce. It’s up to everyone to select the niche best suited to their skills, their financial contribution and the targeted local clientele.

2. Craft activities

The self-employed status also makes it possible to engage in a wide variety of craft activities, calling on know-how and manual manufacturing.

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Artistic crafts such as sculpture, pottery, woodworking, leather or textiles represent a growing sector, particularly among tourist customers. The self-employed person can create unique and original objects.

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Personal services (hairdressing, aesthetics, sewing, etc.) are also a favored field of activity in self-employment. They often require little initial investment and rely on the skills of the craftsman.

Catering is also one of the craft professions appreciated by self-employed people: takeaway meals, food trucks, caterers, etc. But this activity requires compliance with strict hygiene standards.

Building crafts such as masonry, carpentry, painting, electricity or plumbing are accessible provided that you have a CAP in the field. This opens up significant opportunities in work and renovation.

What are the administrative procedures for creation?

The creation of a self-enterprise in Senegal is very simple and fast. Here are the administrative procedures to carry out:

1. Choose the name and legal status

It goes hand in hand. The name must end with “ Individual self-employment » or “AEI”.

Example : Amadou Self-employed individual

2. Define the activity

This involves precisely choosing the sector of activity in the nomenclature of professions. This classification will determine the tax and social system.

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3. Register with the Trade and Securities Register (RCCM)

This mandatory formality must be carried out at Business Formalities Center (CFE). She wants tax registration and affiliation to the social security system.

4. Take out professional liability insurance

This insurance covers damage that you may cause in the course of your activity. It is obligatory. Here the type of bank account you can create being in Africa.

5. Open a business bank account

It is dedicated to entrepreneurial activity and facilitates the separation of personal and professional flows.

6. Declare the start of activity

The declaration of start of activity must be made within 8 days following registration with the RCCM.

And there you have it, in just a few steps you can officially start your self-employed business!

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What are the social security contributions and taxation?

One of the major advantages of self-employed status is its taxation and reduced charges.

Social security contributions

They do not depend on real income but on a percentage of turnover:

  • 3% for merchandise sales activities
  • 6% for artisanal services

These contributions cover retirement, social security, maternity/paternity leave...there are no other social charges to pay.

Income tax

Here too, the tax is simplified via the final payment. It is automatically deducted at the same time as social security contributions via a % on turnover :

  • 1% for the sale of goods
  • 2% for the provision of services

There is therefore no annual tax declaration of income to be made. The self-employed person is exempt from VAT and professional tax.

This ultra-simplified tax system saves considerable time and money!

How to declare your turnover and pay your expenses?

The reporting and payment methods are also simplified for self-employed people:

  • La declaration of turnover is done monthly or quarterly on a special form
  • Le payment of social contributions and tax is done via automatic debit
  • La declaration and payment are carried out on the website

There are therefore no heavy accounting obligations. Administrative monitoring is done on an ongoing basis depending on the actual activity.

What are the advantages of self-employed status?

The self-employed status has many advantages which make it easy to get started in entrepreneurship.

First of all, the administrative formalities for creation are greatly simplified compared to a traditional business. A few steps are enough to quickly start your business.

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Another advantage, no minimum capital is required to create your own business. The starting costs are therefore very low.

On the tax and charges side, the micro-social regime and the final payment offer reduced accounting and social security contributions calculated on turnover.

The self-employed also benefits from social protection giving them rights to unemployment, retirement and professional training.

Furthermore, it is authorized to combine self-employed status with salaried employment, which secures the transition to independence.

Finally, this status provides great freedom in organizing your activity and managing your schedule. Many advantages that facilitate solo entrepreneurship !

What are the limits or disadvantages of self-employed status?

Despite its certain advantages, self-employed status also has disadvantages to keep in mind.

First of all, annual turnover is capped at 50 million FCFA. Beyond that, the self-employed person must adapt their status.

Furthermore, it is not authorized to hire employees, the activity must remain individual.

Social protection is more limited than that of employees, with more limited rights to health insurance or unemployment, for example.

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Administrative formalities (tax and social declarations, accounting) also represent a significant burden.

In addition, income fluctuates depending on monthly activity and exiting the self-employed system can be complex.

This status therefore has limits in terms of development and imposes certain disadvantages that it is important to keep in mind.

An example of a business plan for a self-enterprise in Senegal

To properly prepare for the launch of your self-business, it is recommended to write a business plan, even a simplified one. Here is an example for the creation of a pastry business in Dakar:

1. Presentation of the project

My name is Awa and I want to create “ Awa's delights“, an individual self-employed business manufacturing and selling oriental pastries in Dakar. Graduated in pastry, this activity combines my passion and my know-how.

2. Market research

The oriental pastry market is booming in Dakar with the growing popularity for this type of delicacy. Direct competition is limited. I primarily target individuals for festive events.

3. Location

To start, the production workshop will be set up at my home. Marketing will be done via relay points in the city center and on social networks.

4. Technical and human resources

When starting out, I will work alone to limit costs. I have the necessary kitchen equipment. I will subcontract the printing of business cards and flyers.

5. Initial financial contribution

With a need to leave estimated at 500 F CFA for equipment and raw materials, my personal contribution will be sufficient. The low investment required is compatible with my self-employed status.

6. Forecast turnover

For the first year, I am counting on a turnover of 1 CFA francs on average over 3 months of activity. The objective is to achieve a rate of 300 F CFA turnover per month.

7. Main risks

The main risks identified are competition, insufficient orders and unpaid customers. I will stand out through the quality of my products and word of mouth.

Well prepared, this business plan will serve as a road map for me to calmly launch my self-entrepreneurship!

What are the key steps to getting your own business off to a good start?

Once all the creation formalities have been completed, how can you actually begin your activity? Here are the key steps:

1. Carry out market research

This makes it possible to validate customer needs, understand the competition and set appropriate prices.

2. Establish a business plan

To define its strategy, its objectives and plan the necessary means over 1 year.

3. Prepare your marketing materials

Create your logo, commercial brochure, business card to improve your brand image.

4. Arrange your professional premises

Organize your workspace in a functional way to be operational.

5. Configure your accounting

Choose suitable accounting software to easily manage your invoices, quotes, turnover.

6. Find your suppliers

Compare and select suppliers of raw materials or equipment to minimize costs.

7. Set your sales prices

Define your prices taking into account production costs and a sufficient margin to be profitable.

8. Prospect for your first customers

Promote your offer in the field, through advertising, social networks to make yourself known.

By following these steps, your self-business will have solid foundations to get your business off to a good start!

What are the keys to success in self-employment?

To sustain a self-business in the long term, certain key elements must be met. First of all, motivation is essential when choosing a profession corresponding to a passion. Rigor in administrative management and accountant is also essential.

It is essential to set realistic objectives and regularly measure your performance indicators. A proactive marketing approach to make yourself visible to potential customers is also a guarantee of success.

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La customer satisfaction through the quality of the products and services offered serves as the best advertising. Finally, continuing training, cost control and having support are important assets for any self-employed person.

By combining these different elements, success is within reach!

En conclusion

Thanks to this complete guide, you now have all the cards in hand to get started with peace of mind. the adventure of self-entrepreneurship in Senegal.

We have reviewed the multiple advantages of this accessible and attractive status: reduced formalities, affordable taxation, wide choice of activity, social protection, etc. This system offers an ideal gateway to independent entrepreneurship.

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Of course, to transform the test and succeed in the long term, your motivation, your rigor and your professional skills will make the difference. Set realistic goals for yourself, adopt proactive marketing and continually educate yourself.

Thanks to the numerous tips and best practices shared in this article, you have all the keys to starting your self-entrepreneurship activity and develop successfully.

It's now up to you to be bold and creative to realize your professional project on your own! The exciting adventure of Senegalese entrepreneurship awaits you.