New Enterprise Incentive Scheme

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 (BSB40407) or Certificate Level III in Micro Business Operations (BSB30307)
  • 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 through a referral from your Job Services Australia provider (JSA)
  • You have an initial interview with a NEIS Panel provider at NetGain to assess your business idea to be accepted onto the program
  • You are referred to NEIS Training with NetGain and complete the nationally accredited course: Certificate IV in Small Business Management (NEIS) BSB40407 or Certificate III in Micro Business Operations BSB30307
  • You complete your Business Plan during the training program
  • You receive a nationally recognized 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 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 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

(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 BSB40407 consists of 10 modules:

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

The Certificate III in Micro Business Operations BSB30307 consists of 10 modules:

  • BSBCUS 301B Deliver and monitor a service to customers
  • BSBFIA 301A Maintain financial records
  • BSBSMB 301A Investigate micro business opportunities
  • BSBSMB 302A Develop a micro business proposal
  • BSBSMB 303A Organise finances for the micro business
  • BSBSMB 304A Determine resource requirements for the micro business
  • BSBSMB 305A Comply with regulatory, taxation and insurance requirements for the micro business
  • BSBSMB 306A Plan a home-based business
  • BSBSMB 403A Market the small business
  • BSBWOR 301B 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 Panel provider and NEIS Training 
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, Bairnsdale, Morwell and surrounding areas.

Mentoring and On-Going Support 
NetGain provides Mentor support free 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 two 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 and you will need to request a formal referral from your Jobs Services Australia provider (JSA).  Further information on NEIS can be obtained from your local NetGain , JSA, Centrelink, The Department of Employment Offices and our NetGain website (address below).  Approach your nearest Centrelink Office and JSA to determine your NEIS eligibility.

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




Free call:                 1800 356 400
Telephone:              (03) 5799 1616
Fax:                         (03) 5799 1553


Other Numbers:      

Centrelink (English):                     132 850
Centrelink (Other Language):      131 202
Job Services Australia: