Are you ready to be your own boss?
The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) is a self-employment program backed by the Federal Government to help eligible Western Australians establish and run their own businesses.
Eligible participants receive:
Training in small business management, business skills and business plan development.
Ongoing mentoring and business advice.
All training manuals, workbooks and materials to help you complete your business plan.
Income maintenance support in the form of the NEIS Allowance for up to 9 months – only available to those currently receiving welfare payments.
Who can apply for NEIS?
Recent Federal Government changes to the self employment NEIS program mean more people are now eligible to apply for NEIS to receive free, accredited business training and start a small business. This includes people who are not on welfare (as well as people who are), or not in education, formal training or regular employment (working fewer than 15 paid hours per week).
the NEIS program is now available to eligible adults who:
- Are unemployed
- have recently been made redundant
- Are Stay-at-home parents looking to re-enter the workforce.
- Are High school/university graduates struggling to find full-time work.
- are under-employed, working fewer than 15 hours a week.
- Are Eligible working visa-holders.
Why apply for NEIS?
We aim to empower Western Australians, particularly those who have struggled with finding work, to transform their future through self-employment.
Starting a small business isn’t easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding to be your own boss and have more control over your circumstances and future employment pathway.
Self employment NEIS can help you to build upon your existing skill sets for FREE to give you the confidence to pursue work you are passionate about, while still receiving support and guidance from our team every step of the way.
Many people we have helped tell us they could never go back to working for someone else.
Need more inspiration? Read about some of our past NEIS participants who pursued their passion through self employment.
+ Am I eligible for 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:
- be at least 18 years of age
- be available to participate in pre-NEIS training (3 days a week for 3 weeks)
- 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
- be working more than 15 paid hours per week
- have received NEIS assistance in the past year
- be someone who receives only partial assistance under the Stream 1 (Limited) services.
+ Is my business idea eligible for NEIS?
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
- cannot already be operating on a commercial basis
- is structured so you have and will maintain a controlling interest over the NEIS business for the duration of your time in NEIS
You may contact Business Foundations to check your eligibility or take our eligibility quiz here.
+ Can I get a grant to do NEIS?
No. The only financial support is available to those people who currently receive welfare payments. They will instead receive NEIS Allowance for 39 weeks (or 9 months) during the one-year program while they develop their business. The payments will only start after training is completed and the application is approved by Business Foundations and the Department of Employment.
+ How can I register?
You can follow this link to check your eligibility and register your interest. To reduce the time taken to process your application, ensure you complete the online form with as much detail as possible. Once you have submitted your application, we will check your eligibility and take the next steps to enrol you in training. You may also be contacted for an interview if further clarification on your application is required.
Once you have commenced the pre-NEIS training, your 13-week activity period will commence. During this period, you will be expected to attend three weeks of face-to-face training, followed by submitting your business plan with all relevant registration and licences, to start the NEIS program. You do not have to wait the full 13 weeks before commencing.
+ Am I guaranteed a place?
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.
+ What is the first step for NEIS?
Before you start on the NEIS program, there is a 13-week activity period. During this time, you attend three weeks of full-time training (three days a week, 9am to 3pm), followed by a period in which you will:
- complete your business plan;
- apply for all relevant registration and licences; and
- submit your NEIS application.
Please note: This 13-week activity period cannot be extended, so you need to be fully committed before applying.
Note for those receiving welfare payments:
You will continue to receive your current payment during this 13-week period and will have to report to Centrelink, your jobactive provider or Disability Employment Services Provider. The 13 week period of pre-NEIS training is an Approved Full-Time Activity.
If your appointment with Centrelink, your jobactive provider or Disability Employment Services Provider clashes with the pre-NEIS training, please inform the NEIS manager.
+ Can I use my existing business for NEIS?
Your proposed NEIS business will not be eligible if your are currently operating the business on a commercial basis. Businesses will be considered to be already operating in a commercial way (and are thus 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 on this are made on a case-by-case basis by Business Foundations. Please contact us if you are unsure of your eligibility.
+ Can I enter NEIS in a partnership?
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.
+ How many hours do I have to spend on my NEIS business?
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.
+ Can I work in a part-time job as well as on my NEIS business?
Yes. You are allowed to have an external income (such as a part-time job) 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.
+ Is my NEIS income taxable?
Yes. You will need to consider this when completing your financial projections for NEIS application.
+ Can I remain on my current payment instead of NEIS allowance?
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 a particular income support payment. NEIS payments usually replace your income support payments (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.
+ Will NEIS affect my rental assistance?
If you are currently receiving rental assistance as part of Family Assistance, commencing onto NEIS will not affect this. 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.
Wesley Central, Suite 103/2 Cantonment Street
Fremantle WA 6160
Hybrid 935 (Enterprise House)
935 Wanneroo Road, Wanneroo, Western Australia, 6065
Bunbury Business Centre (Regional)
15 Stirling Street, Bunbury
Mt Barker Community Resource Centre (Regional)
1 Lowood Road, Mt Barker
Broome Community Resource Centre (Regional)
40 Dampier Terrace, Broome
184 Marine Terrace, Geraldton