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Home  »  Industry  »  Self-Employment: New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS)

Self-employment: New Enterprise Incentive Scheme

People who are interested in running a small business may be eligible to participate in the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS)

Phone 1300 063 227 | Email neis@wodongatafe.edu.au

Click here to download the NEIS application form (PDF 566Kb)

What is NEIS?

NEIS is part of jobactive. It is a program delivered by a network of 21 providers who provide individualised help for eligible applicants to become self-employed business owners. A total of 6,300 NEIS places are available nationally each year.

NEIS training

NEIS training helps eligible participants to achieve a nationally recognised qualification. NEIS participants complete the Certificate III in Micro Business Operations.

Who is eligible for NEIS?

The eligibility criteria for the NEIS program has recently been updated.  

You may be eligible to participate in NEIS if you are:

  • not in training or employment. 

Or, as a job seeker you may participate in NEIS if you are:

  • fully eligible for jobactive or are a Disability Employment Services participant in the Employment Assistance Phase
  • participating in jobactive as a Volunteer and commence in NEIS Assistance before the end of their period of service.

As a job seeker you must also:

  • be at least 18 years of age at the time you start NEIS
  • be receiving an eligible income support payment such as Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension or Youth Allowance (Other)
  • not convert to the Age Pension before or during participation in NEIS
  • be available to participate in NEIS training (if relevant) and work full time in the proposed NEIS business
  • not be an undischarged bankrupt
  • not have, at any time, received NEIS Assistance for a similar business activity
  • not have received NEIS Assistance in the previous three years.

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.

How do job seekers access NEIS?

If you are job seeker interested in self-employment, contact your local jobactive or Disability Employment Services provider. If your provider considers NEIS to be an appropriate activity, you may be referred to a NEIS provider. Details of NEIS providers are available at www.jobsearch.gov.au/provider

What assistance is available under NEIS?

Depending on your eligibility, NEIS can provide participants with:

  • accredited small business training and business mentoring for up to 52 weeks
  • income support for up to 39 weeks (NEIS Allowance) and NEIS Rental Assistance for up to 26 weeks (if eligible)
  • personalised mentoring and support from a NEIS provider in the first year of the new business to help you put your business idea into practice.

NEIS allowance and rental assistance

If eligible, as a NEIS participant, you will receive NEIS Allowance for 39 weeks of business operation. The NEIS Allowance is equivalent to the single, 22 or over, no children rate of Newstart Allowance, and is paid fortnightly in arrears, subject to you meeting the obligations under your NEIS Participant Agreement.

The amount of NEIS Allowance that you receive will not be affected by income from your NEIS business. As an eligible NEIS participant you may receive income from outside your business (such as from investments or other work) while participating in NEIS. However, NEIS providers will ensure that the NEIS business is your primary, full-time activity. If as a NEIS participant, your external income is greater than twice the basic rate of NEIS Allowance in a given financial quarter, it may affect the amount of your NEIS Allowance.

Eligible NEIS participants may also be able to receive NEIS Rental Assistance. This is a fixed rate payment for a period of 26 weeks from the date you first receive NEIS Allowance.

NEIS business mentoring and support

Business mentoring and support is an essential component of NEIS and if you are an eligible NEIS participant you will receive business mentoring during the first year of the operation of your business. NEIS business mentors are people with proven business acumen and experience. They will provide assistance and advice about organisational, financial and marketing issues to help you to develop your business.

What type of business is allowed?

If you are an eligible applicant, your NEIS provider will assess the business idea to make sure it meets the business eligibility criteria. This means the proposed NEIS business:

  • cannot already be operating on a commercial basis
  • will be independent
  • is lawful and capable of withstanding public scrutiny
  • has been assessed as commercially viable by the NEIS provider
  • is not based on the purchase or takeover of an existing business
  • will not compete 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
  • will be established, located and operated solely within Australia
  • will be structured so the applicant has and will maintain a controlling interest over the NEIS business for the duration of the job seeker’s time in NEIS
  • will not be a not-for-profit business unless otherwise agreed to by the Department of Employment.

What obligations do NEIS participants have?

As a NEIS participant you are required to undertake NEIS training and operate your NEIS business in accordance with your NEIS Business Plan, and meet all the terms of your NEIS Participant Agreement.

If for any reason, as a NEIS participant, you want to change the way your business operates (such as location or hours of operation), you must first discuss these changes with your NEIS provider before you take any action. If, as a NEIS participant, you make changes to your business operating arrangements without approval, your NEIS Allowance payments may be suspended.

Want more information?

Go to www.employment.gov.au/neis

If you are registered with jobactive or Disability Employment Services you can talk to your provider or call the Employment Services Information Line on 13 62 68* 

If you need an interpreter, please call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450* and ask for the Employment Services Information Line on 13 62 68*. If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can use the National Relay Service. For more information, visit www.relayservice.com.au 

*Note that call charges apply for calls to ‘13’ numbers from mobile phone.