Australian Government support to help you start a business

Planting seedlings - starting a business

Australian Government support to help you start a business

The Australian Government has a range of initiatives to help Australians start or grow a business.

If you’re looking to start a home business, or grow an existing one, you should definitely check out the assistance on offer.

In this article, we’re going to look at the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS), which is a programme offered by the Australian Government’s Department of Jobs and Small Business.

The programme is aimed at people looking to start a new business, so if you’re already running a home business – sorry this one isn’t for you (but check out our other article on grant funding).

New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS)

The NEIS provides accredited training, business mentoring and support to help individuals start their own business.

The programme is delivered by a network of 21 NEIS providers across Australia.

What assistance is available?

NEIS assistance includes:

  • accredited small business training;
  • mentoring and support in the first year of your new business;
  • income support (NEIS Allowance) for up to 39 weeks (if eligible); and
  • NEIS Rental Assistance for up to 26 weeks (if eligible).

If a job seeker is currently in receipt of an income support payment, and chooses to participate in NEIS, they may be eligible to receive the NEIS Allowance.

Who’s eligible for support?

To participate you must:

  • be at least 18 years of age at the time of commencing in the NEIS;
  • not be prohibited by law from working in Australia;
  • be available to participate in NEIS training (if relevant) and work full-time in your proposed NEIS Business;
  • not have received NEIS assistance in the past year; and
  • not be an undischarged bankrupt.

Job seekers in receipt of some Department of Human Services’ or Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ pensions, may be able to choose to remain on those payments while participating in NEIS.

What type of businesses are allowed?

The proposed NEIS business:

  • cannot already be operating on a commercial basis (existing businesses are not eligible);
  • must have an independent structure;
  • must be lawful and capable of withstanding public scrutiny;
  • must be assessed as being commercially viable by the NEIS provider;
  • must be established, located and operated solely within Australia; and
  • must be structured so the job seeker has and will maintain a controlling interest over the NEIS business for the duration of the job seeker’s time in NEIS.

The NEIS provider will assess the business idea to make sure it meets the business eligibility criteria.

Success stories

The Department of Jobs and Small Business published a book in 2015 celebrating 30 years of the programme.

The book shares some of the success stories of programme participants over the years.

It’s available in PDF format here: 30 Years of Success – Celebrating the NEIS Programme.

Where can I get more information?

You can contact a NEIS provider located in your area. You can find your local NEIS provider on the Find a Provider page on the website.

You can call the Employment Services Information Line on 13 62 68 to enquire about the NEIS.

If you’re a job seeker registered with jobactive, ParentsNext or Disability Employment Services, you can also talk to your provider about the NEIS.

The NEIS Fact Sheet also gives a good overview of the programme.

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