New Enterprise Incentive Scheme

The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) is a self-employment program backed by the Federal Government that helps eligible unemployed Western Australians establish and run their own businesses.

How does NEIS work?

Eligible participants receive:

  • Training in small business management, business skills and business plan development.
  • Income maintenance support in the form of the NEIS Allowance, replacing Newstart Allowance for up to 9 months.
  • Business advice and mentor support during the first year of business operation.
  • Special renting rates at our Fremantle Incubator.
  • All the training manuals and access to laptops you need to help you complete your business plan.

Apply now

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Take our quick eligibility quiz below to see if you are able to participate in NEIS.


Want to know more about the NEIS program and read it offline?

Click the link below to download the digital brochure.

Download our NEIS brochure

Training Dates

South Metro North Metro Regional Streaming
12 Sept – 30 Sept 5 Sept – 22 Sept
10 Oct – 28 Oct 10 Oct – 28 Oct 10 Oct – 28 Oct
7 Nov – 25 Nov 7 Nov – 25 Nov 7 Nov – 25 Nov
28 Nov – 15 Dec 28 Nov – 15 Dec 28 Nov – 15 Dec

FAQs for self employment NEIS

There are two steps in the eligibility check: your personal eligibility and the eligibility of your business.

To be eligible as a person, you must be registered with a jobactive provider or Disability Employment Services Provider. You also must:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • be available to participate in pre-NEIS training
  • be able to work full-time in your NEIS business (unless you have been assessed as having partial capacity to work, have reduced participation requirements or are a volunteer within employment services).

You must not:

  • be an undischarged bankrupt
  • have participated in the NEIS program with a similar business before
  • have received NEIS assistance in the past three years
  • be someone who receives only partial assistance under the Stream 1 (Limited) services.

For your NEIS business to be eligible, it must:

  • be independent, capable of withstanding public scrutiny and lawful
  • be assessed as commercially viable by Business Foundations
  • be established, located and operated solely within Australia
  • not be based on the purchase or takeover of an existing business
  • not be competing directly with existing business, 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
  • not be currently operating on a commercial basis.

You may contact Business Foundations to check your eligibility or take our eligibility quiz here.

No. You will receive 39 weeks (or 9 months) of NEIS payment in the one-year program. The payment will only start after you have completed your training and the application is approved by Business Foundations and Department of Employment.
You can follow this link to check on your eligibility and register your interest. Ensure you complete the online form with as much detail as possible. Once you have submitted your application, we will check on your eligibility and inform you of the next available training. You will also be contacted for interview if we require more understanding of your application.

Your jobactive provider or Disability Employment Services Provider will be contacted so you can be referred to us. Once you have commenced the pre-NEIS training, your 13 weeks’ activity will start. During this period, you will be expected to attend three weeks of face-to-face training, follow by completing your business plan with all relevant registration and licences, and start the NEIS program. You do not have to wait for the full 13 weeks to come to an end commencing.

No. Registering in the Pre-NEIS training only gives you a 13-week period to prepare yourself for the actual commencement. With your approved business plan and all necessary application documents after training, Business Foundations and the Department of Employment will process and approve your application. That is when a NEIS placement has been provided to you.
There is a limited number of NEIS places each year and these are subject to the available funding provided by the Government.
Your 13-week activity period is a pre-NEIS period that runs before you commence the NEIS program. During this time, you attend three weeks of full-time training (run Monday to Friday, 9am to 3pm), followed by a period in which you will:

  • complete your business plan
  • apply for all relevant registration and licences
  • submit your NEIS application.

During this 13-week period, you will continue to receive your current payment and you will still have to report to Centrelink, jobactive provider or Disability Employment Services Provider. The 13 weeks of pre-NEIS training is an Approved Full-Time Activity, meaning you are not required to also look for work.

If your appointment with Centrelink, your jobactive provider or Disability Employment Services Provider clashes with the pre-NEIS training, please inform the NEIS manager.

Please note: This 13-week activity period cannot be extended, so you need to be fully committed.

Your proposed NEIS business will not be eligible if it is currently operated on a commercial basis. Businesses will be considered to be operating in this way (and will be ineligible) if they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • The activity of your business is currently undertaken in a business-like manner and there is a reasonable expectation of profit
  • Your business is of reasonable commercial size in comparison with other businesses in the same field
  • There is and has been repeated and continuous activity
  • There is a commercial relationship with the customers.

Some proposed businesses can be considered to be hobbies or activities that supplement your income. In such circumstances, you may not be operating on a commercial basis, but decisions in this are made on a case-by-case basis by Business Foundations. Please contact us if you are unsure of your eligibility.

No. Your proposed NEIS business must be owned and operated solely or primarily by you as the NEIS participant. You must hold the controlling interest and the business must not be subject to control by others.

A proposal may not be considered independent if the business is operating solely or primarily as:

  • a franchise
  • a subsidiary
  • an agent for another enterprise
  • a part of multi-level marketing arrangement
  • a supplier of labour, products or services to one business in an exclusive contractual arrangement.
Yes. You can have a NEIS or non-NEIS partner in the business. You will be required to submit a partnership agreement before strating the NEIS program. You will need to have equal or greater share and control over the business if partnering with a non-NEIS business partner. You can have an equal controlling interest if partnering with another NEIS applicant.
Yes. You will need to consider this while completing your financial projections for NEIS application.
You will need to work full-time with 35 hours or more per week. This does not apply to job seekers under restricted work capacity.
Yes. You are allowed to have an external income (such as part-time job income) while operating your NEIS business, as long as the external income is not greater than twice the amount you receive from NEIS. Your part-time job should not interfere with your business development. You may contact the NEIS manager to discuss any activity.
You may be able to remain on your current payment if it is one of the following:

  • Carer Payment (CAR)
  • Disability Support Pension (DSP)
  • Parenting Payment Single (PPS)
  • WSP Partner Service Pension (DVA Allowance)
  • WWP War Widow(er) Pension (DVA allowance)

It is best to discuss with Centrelink how your NEIS participation may affect your ongoing entitlement to your particular income support payment. NEIS payments would usually replace your income support payment (such as a Newstart Allowance). If you do remain on your current payment, you will not also receive a NEIS payment on top of the current payment.

If you are currently receiving rental assistance as part of Family Assistance, commencing the program will not affect you. However, if your current rental assistance is not part of Family Assistance, you will only receive NEIS rental assistance for 26 weeks while on the program. After 26 weeks of business operation, you should be more financially independent. NEIS rental assistance has a maximum rate. Please contact us for the exact amount.

Training locations in WA


Business Foundations
Old Fremantle Prison, Knutsford Street, Fremantle
Western Australia, 6160


33 Crompton Road, Rockingham, Western Australia, 6168


ECU Business & Innovation Centre
15 Barron Parade, Joondalup, Western Australia, 6027

South West (Regional)

Bunbury Business Centre
15 Stirling Street, Bunbury

Great Southern (Regional)

Mt Barker Community Resource Centre
1 Lowood Road, Mount Barker

Broome (Regional)

Broome Community Resource Centre
40 Dampier Terrace, Broome

Evardor Jewellery at her workshop

What do our participants say?

Dana Andrews participated in the NEIS program through Business Foundations in 2012, starting her business Evador Jewellery. Today, the business operates from her new home in London after considerable success.

What was the most valuable topic you learned in the NEIS Training Programme?

I found it very valuable working with the other students on the programme. It gave extra support having the opportunity to learn with a heap of other people in the same shoes, and working together with them through the programme.

Also being introduced to the whole Business Foundation organisation, there are so many helpful and friendly people willing to help and give advice. I know if I started my business without this support my business would not be where it is now, one year later.

What has been the biggest challenge you have had to face in business so far?

Not letting mistakes get me down and moving on.

How did you overcome this challenge?

Talking to people around me for support and advice has taught me that a mistake is not a negative it is a positive because you learn the easiest by making mistakes and won’t do it again.

What is the most rewarding aspect of owning your own business?

Self-confidence – Always having to put myself out there to meet new people and freedom to make my own decisions.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to other new enterprises just starting out?

Go for it!

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