How do I know if my business idea will be eligible?

You will need to submit an application and have an interview which will allow us to assess your business idea in more detail.

All business ideas must be able to demonstrate potential viability by completing some initial market research. There are a diverse range of business types that can be supported through NEIS. This includes artists and entertainers, business consultants, retail and hospitality businesses, and so on.

Proposed businesses must be able to withstand public scrutiny. Businesses involving psychics, gambling, sex, religion, illegal drugs, sex and the like will not be approved for NEIS.

You will also need to be committed to running the business as your main focus whether that be full-time, or possibly part-time, depending on your individual circumstances.

Do I need a business plan to participate in the NEIS training?

You don’t need to have a business plan to participate in the NEIS training. In fact, the completion of a business plan is part of the initial seven weeks of training.

If I have already registered an ABN or business name, am I still eligible to apply for NEIS?

It is quite possible, as part of the initial research phase, that you have completed certain activities in preparation for the commencement of your business. This may include such things as applying for an ABN, registering a business name, and perhaps even selling some products or services to test the market, which is very acceptable.

However, it is important that you can demonstrate that the business has not been operating on a commercial basis unless you are operating an existing micro-business/small business seeking support to refocus the business due to the impact of COVID-19.

If you are unsure, the best thing to do is to contact us to discuss your idea, or apply, and we will discuss this with you at the interview stage.

Am I allowed to operate my business as a partnership?

Businesses operated as partnerships are eligible for NEIS.

If partner(s) are not eligible for NEIS then you as the NEIS participant, must retain a controlling interest of at least 51% for the duration of your NEIS agreement (12 months). This ensures that you can make critical decisions regarding the operation of the business while being supported by NEIS.

If partner(s) are also eligible for NEIS, you will need to have an equal controlling interest in the business for the period of your NEIS agreement. We discuss this in more detail during the NEIS training and business plan development stage.

Do I have to complete the qualification to be eligible for NEIS?

Our training is based on the curriculum for the Certificate III in Entrepreneurship and New Business (BSB30220). However, once you have completed the initial training period and your NEIS business plan is approved, it’s your decision as to whether you complete the additional assessments for the 10 units of competency.

Can I get access to start-up funds through NEIS to help support my business?

The financial support offered through NEIS is in the form of an allowance paid over 39 weeks (nine months). This payment is paid to eligible participants once they have completed the initial NEIS training and their business plan is approved. Unfortunately, lump-sum payments are not available.

To be eligible for this allowance NEIS participants must be receiving an eligible income support payment through Services Australia before transferring to NEIS allowance. All participants are eligible for NEIS training and mentoring at no cost, regardless of their eligibility for NEIS allowance.

You may also be eligible for a small amount of additional assistance through the Jobseeker Employment Fund, to pay for such things as business insurance, equipment, and tools. To be potentially eligible you will need to be receiving support from a Jobactive provider.

Can I still transfer to NEIS even if I am not currently eligible for income support payments or another allowance through the Government?

Only eligible income support recipients can transfer to NEIS allowance once their business plan is approved.

It may be beneficial to have Services Australia reassess your circumstances while completing the initial NEIS training period, as eligibility criteria can change. If your eligibility changes while under your NEIS agreement, you may also be able to transfer to NEIS allowance. It is best to speak to our NEIS staff directly about this.

Do I have to transfer to NEIS allowance?

The majority of income support recipients will need to transfer to NEIS allowance once their NEIS business plan has been approved, which is at the end of the initial training period.

However, some income support payments, including Parenting Payment (Single), Disability Support Pension, and some Department of Veterans Affair pensions, do not require you to transfer to NEIS allowance.

In such circumstances, it is best to discuss this with our NEIS staff and with Centrelink or DVA so that you can better assess how participating in NEIS may impact your existing income support entitlements.

Will my NEIS allowance be affected by the income I make?

The NEIS allowance provides you with the opportunity to earn income from your business as well as from external sources. In fact, you can earn as much money as you like through your business without it impacting your fortnightly NEIS allowance. You can also earn additional income each quarter from other sources such as a part-time or casual job, however, there is a cap on how much you can earn.

The cap is quite generous and allows you to earn up to double the NEIS allowance each fortnight without it affecting your NEIS allowance. We will clarify this amount further during the initial NEIS training period.

You will also need to be able to demonstrate that any external income streams such as a part-time job, do not interfere with your ability to operate the business as required under your NEIS agreement.

Can I complete the NEIS training at my own pace?

The training needs to be completed in a specified timeframe, over seven weeks. You will also need to attend scheduled classes, which are typically two timetabled classes per week.

Your NEIS business plan will also be due on a certain date. Existing micro-businesses seeking support due to COVID may not need to complete the initial NEIS training.