NEIS program leads to small business success with ‘The Laughing Viking’

NEIS program leads to small business success with ‘The Laughing Viking’

By Susan Burdett
26 Oct 2017

Shane Taylor credits the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) with the success of his own small business. From first beginnings in a small rented shop in central Wagga Wagga, Shane has grown his business to such an extent that he moved premises to a larger shop just six months later, and is considering the future need for a similar move as his customer base continues to grow.

NEIS success in Wagga

“Through the NEIS Riverina program I studied the Certificate III in Micro Business Operations and found the course very helpful”, said Shane. “The marketing and financial modules were particularly useful in helping me to promote my business, and in giving me an idea of what income and expenses I could expect to incur”, explained Shane.

Shane first thought about setting up his own business whilst still in high school, but it wasn’t until he left after completing his High School Certificate that he and his father researched the availability of training to suit his requirements to set up a small business. “We discovered the NEIS Riverina program via an online search, applied and started training”, said Shane. “It really was that simple.”

Shane started training with a group of like-minded students in January 2016, in Wagga Wagga, in the program that is facilitated by experienced trainers from Wodonga TAFE. Once Shane had completed his study, he was successful in gaining a small business loan, using the Business Plan completed during his course as part of his application.

Shane started by renting a small shop in Wagga Wagga’s main street, and opened his business, ‘The Laughing Viking’, a games and hobby shop that stocks board games, card games, and miniature games. Customers buy stock in the shop, which is also fitted out with tables and chairs where they can stay and play games, with Shane saying it was quite normal for the shop to be busy with customers playing games and socialising. “I’d have double the number of customers now, compared to when I first opened my shop”, said Shane.

Shane attributes the increasing popularity of his business to word-of-mouth and social media, and is developing a webpage as well as planning to have t-shirts made to promote his business. He said that he found the NEIS mentoring very helpful after completing the course, particularly with promotional ideas and looking at employees for the business. “I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to be involved in the NEIS program”, said Shane. “It definitely got me to where I am now – running a successful and growing business in Wagga.”

NEIS Program Coordinator, Ms Joanne Heeps, said that Shane’s story was one of success and a reward for hard work. “Shane has certainly put in the effort and focus to bring his idea to life as a thriving business”, said Ms Heeps. “The NEIS program has enabled his skills and given him the boost of confidence in his ability to run a successful business.”

Ms Heeps explained that the NEIS program has new eligibility criteria, extended from its original offering. Applicants are now eligible to apply for the NEIS program if they are not employed or not in education, or if they are seeking employment, or are in receipt of a Centrelink payment. Depending on their eligibility, applicants may be eligible for additional benefits of the NEIS program, such as a NEIS assistance allowance, NEIS rental assistance, business mentoring, and small business training and support.

More information about the NEIS program is available via