New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS)

What is NEIS?
The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) is a self-employment program that can help you put your business ideas into practice and establish and run a new commercially viable business.  Most importantly, it will help you develop the necessary skills for business success.  The Australian Government, through NEIS, has so far helped unemployed people set up new small businesses.  80% of the NEIS businesses are still in operation after 5 years.

NEIS provides:

  • Access to Free training in Business Management. Certificate Level IV in Small Business Management (BSB40415) or Certificate Level III in Micro Business Operations (BSB30315)
  • Development of a business plan specific to your business
  • Financial assistance in the form of a NEIS Allowance for up to 39 weeks
  • Mentor support for the first year of business operations

How NEIS works
NEIS is a two-step process.

Step 1 - Planning & Training

  • You apply to do NEIS by requesting a referral from your jobactive provider to NetGain
  • You will have an initial interview with a NEIS Trainer at NetGain to assess your business idea
  • You may be requested to conduct a feasibility study to ensure your business idea will be profitable
  • You may commence NEIS Training and complete the nationally accredited course: Certificate IV in Small Business Management (NEIS) BSB40415 or Certificate III in Micro Business Operations BSB30315
  • You will complete your Business Plan during the training program
  • You will receive a nationally recognised Business Management Certificate for successfully completing the training

Step 2 - Starting your Business & Income Support

  • Your Business Plan is assessed for viability by NetGain’s independent panel of business advisors
  • The NEISAC (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme Advisory Committee) Panel assesses the likely commercial viability of your plan and decides whether or not you can progress onto NEIS income support
  • If all members of the NEISAC Panel accept your Business Plan as commercially viable, then you become eligible to receive income support for up to 39 weeks and mentoring services for up to 52 weeks
  • You start your business

(Please Note that acceptance to participate in NEIS Training does NOT guarantee acceptance
onto income support)

NEIS Training
Training is held locally in a positive, adult learning environment with experienced and professional trainers.  NEIS training is competency based.  Although there are no examinations, all participants will be required to demonstrate completion of training through assignments, group discussions, case studies, role play and verbal interviews with the trainers.  The outcome of your training is a fully documented business plan.

Duration of the NEIS course is six to eight (6-8) weeks, full time. 

The Certificate IV in Small Business Management BSB40415 consists of 10 modules:

  • BSBSMB 301 Investigate micro business opportunities
  • BSBSMB 401 Establish legal and risk management requirements of small business
  • BSBSMB 402 Plan small business finances
  • BSBSMB 403 Market the small business
  • BSBSMB 404 Undertake small business planning
  • BSBMKG 401 Profile the market
  • BSBMKG 402 Analyse consumer behaviour for specific markets
  • BSBRES 401 Analyse and present research information
  • BSBADM 409 Coordinate business resources
  • BSBFIA 402 Report on financial activity                                                  

The Certificate III in Micro Business Operations BSB30315 consists of 10 modules:

  • BSBCUS 301 Deliver and monitor a service to customers
  • BSBFIA 301 Maintain financial records
  • BSBSMB 301 Investigate micro business opportunities
  • BSBSMB 302 Develop a micro business proposal
  • BSBSMB 303 Organise finances for the micro business
  • BSBSMB 304 Determine resource requirements for the micro business
  • BSBSMB 305 Comply with regulatory, taxation and insurance requirements for the micro business
  • BSBSMB 306 Plan a home-based business
  • BSBSMB 403 Market the small business
  • BSBWOR 301 Organise personal work priorities and development

Financial Assistance – NEIS Allowance
If you successfully reach Step 2 of starting your business and become eligible for income support, you may receive the NEIS Allowance for up to 39 weeks.  Payments are made fortnightly in arrears and are subject to participants fulfilling their contractual obligations.  After the first quarter of business operation, your continuing income support is subject to submitting on time:

  • A Quarterly Report
  • A NEIS Income Statement satisfying an income test
  • Meeting other NEIS contractual requirements


NetGain – the NEIS provider
NetGain is a Not for Profit, Community based organisation and is proud to deliver NEIS.
NetGain staff are experienced professionals and are committed to maintaining high standards of service.  NetGain delivers NEIS in Seymour, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Wodonga, Geelong, Ballarat and surrounding areas.

Mentoring and On-Going Support
NetGain provides Mentor support to all successful NEIS participants.  Mentors provide business advice and assistance to participants during the first year of business operation to maximise the potential success of their business.

Am I eligible for NEIS?

To join the NEIS Program, you must:

  • Be registered with Centrelink as seeking employment
  • Be receiving a qualifying form of income support (further explanation below)
  • Be at least 18 years of age at the time of signing a NEIS Participation Agreement
  • Not be an undischarged bankrupt
  • Be available and willing to participate in NEIS Business Management training
  • Intend to work full time in the NEIS business
  • Agree to hold and maintain a controlling interest in the business during the NEIS agreement period
  • Not have received NEIS Allowance in the previous three years or previously for the same or similar business activity

For your business idea to be acceptable, it must:

  • Be new and never have operated on a commercial basis
  • Not involve the purchase or take-over of an existing business
  • Be independent, reputable and legal
  • Be assessed as commercially viable by a NEIS Advisory Committee
  • Not be a subsidiary, franchise, agent for another enterprise or part of a multi-level marketing arrangement
  • Not compete directly with existing businesses unless it can be demonstrated that there is an unsatisfied demand for product or service, or the goods or services are to be provided in a new or different way
  • Not be a supplier of labour, products or services to one business in an exclusive contractual arrangement

Centrelink Allowances/Benefits eligible for NEIS
Job seekers in receipt of a variety of Centrelink Allowances may be eligible for NEIS.  A few of them are listed below.  Please note, this list is not exhaustive.

  • Newstart Allowance (NSA)
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Carer Allowance
  • Sole Parent Pension
  • Partner Allowance
  • Parenting Allowance (with taxable component)

(You may wish to confirm your eligibility with Centrelink)
Common Questions & Answers

Are Home-based Businesses Eligible for NEIS?
Yes.  In fact many NEIS Businesses are home-based.

Is NEIS Assistance Available to Group Businesses?
Yes.  Two or more individuals can form a partnership, company or co-operative enterprise.  Joint businesses with non-NEIS eligible partners are permissible if NEIS participants hold and maintain a controlling interest in the business for the duration of the NEIS Agreement.

How can Job Seekers Apply for NEIS?
NEIS Application Forms are available from NetGain’s website.  You will need to request a formal referral from your jobactive provider.

Further information on NEIS can be obtained from your local  jobactive provider, Centrelink or you can Twitter Department of Employment - NEIS.

Approach your nearest Centrelink Office and jobactive provider to determine your NEIS eligibility.

Remember that acceptance to participate in NEIS Training does NOT guarantee acceptance on to income support.




Contact:        NetGain        Free call (from landline only)      1800 356 400
                                                Telephone                           (03) 5799 1616
                                                Fax:                                        (03) 5799 1553

            Other Numbers:       Centrelink (English)                         132 850
Centrelink (Other Language)          131 202



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