Helping you to start a small business: New Enterprise Incentive Scheme

Helping you to start a small business: New Enterprise Incentive Scheme

Eligible job seekers who are interested in starting and running a small business can access assistance through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).

NEIS provides accredited small business training, business advice and mentoring for eligible job seekers, as well as ongoing income support for up to 52 weeks. 

Your NEIS provider will help you decide whether you should undertake a Certificate III in Micro-Business Operations or a Certificate IV in Small Business Management. This will depend on the type of the small business you are planning.  During the training you will also develop a business plan which will need to be approved by your NEIS provider.

If your business plan is approved, you will receive NEIS Assistance which is:
•    NEIS Allowance for up to 52 weeks
•    NEIS Rental Assistance for up to 26 weeks (if eligible)
•    business mentoring and support during your first year of business operation. 

Note: Recipients of Disability Support Pension, Carers Payment, Parenting Payment (Single) and some Department of Veterans’ Affairs pensions can choose to remain on these payments while participating in NEIS. 

Who can participate?

To participate in NEIS you must be registered with a Job Services Australia provider. Your provider can tell you if you are eligible. You also must:
•    be at least 18 years old when you begin receiving NEIS Assistance
•    be available to participate in required training and work full time in your proposed NEIS business*
•    not be an undischarged bankrupt
•    not have received NEIS Assistance for a similar business activity
•    not have received NEIS Assistance in the previous two years
* or less hours as allowed where someone has been assessed as having a partial capacity to work, or reduced work participation requirements, or those who are volunteers to employment services.

As well, your NEIS business must be:
•    not currently operating on a commercial basis
•    independent, capable of withstanding public scrutiny, and lawful
•    assessed as commercially viable by a NEIS provider
•    not based on the purchase or takeover of an existing business
•    not competing directly with existing businesses, unless it can be demonstrated that there is an unsatisfied demand for the product or service, or the product or service is to be provided in a new way
•    established, located and operated solely within Australia
•    in an area of skills shortage for those less disadvantaged job seekers.

Your obligations

You are required to operate your NEIS business in accordance with your business plan, and meet all the terms of your NEIS Participant Agreement. If for any reason you want to change the way your business operates (such as your location or hours of operation), you must discuss these changes with your NEIS provider before you take any action. If you make changes to your business operating arrangements without approval, your NEIS Allowance payments may be suspended.

Further details are available on:

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations:

Job search providers:

Or feel free to contact ourselves. 

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