The Australian government offers a helpful program to eligible Australian residents looking to start their own business. The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme aims at preparing participants to run a business, and comprises of two stages: training and assistance.


In order to be accepted into the training stage you have to meet the course requirements. The most important are that you must be over the age of 18, be connected to a jobactive provider or disability employment service, be available to work full time in your business and attend full time training for six weeks. Your business can’t be yet be operating and you must have a point of difference from existing businesses.

Taking the first steps

If you have checked the eligibility criteria on the Department of Employment website and meet the requirements, the next step is to speak to your jobactive provider or disability employment service about applying for the NEIS program. They will let you know where your local NEIS training providers are and issue you with a referral letter. Get in contact with the NEIS training provider and they will ask you to come in for a meeting to assess the  commercial viability of your business.


Initial assessment meeting

When invited for your meeting, you should take as much information with you as possible. A business mentor will ask you questions about the business idea such as where it will operate, how you will fund it, who will work in the business and what experience you have. They will also ask about your competitors so it’s a good idea to do some research before the meeting.


One of the requirements is that your business must have a point of difference. This means it has to have an element unlike any of your local competitors. You will be asked to explain what that difference is and why it will be an advantage.


Be confident about your idea; enthusiasm and passion goes a long way.


NEIS training

If accepted you will be offered a place in the NEIS training program and begin a Certificate IV in Small Business Management. During the course you will learn about various aspects of business and create a business plan which will be submitted as an application for NEIS assistance.


NEIS assistance

Your NEIS training provider will forward your business plan to be assessed. If found to be viable for funding you will be provided with both financial and advisory support. The financial support comes in the form of a fortnightly payment equal to the single’s Newstart Allowance, plus rent assistance if you are already eligible. This will continue for the first nine months or until you are making more than double the assistance given, which is assessed quarterly. NEIS participants also have access to 12 months of business mentoring.


For people looking to start their own business, the NEIS program is a great way to learn the basics and to get a bit of funding to help you get started.