Startup News

NEIS – Invisible Government Startup Funding

Marcus Holmes
Marcus Holmes

No-one’s heard of NEIS. We don’t talk about it, except a few of us who’ve been told about it by others. News of it only spreads through word of mouth, but those of us who know, appreciate it. So consider this a top tip for bootstrapping your startup…

The Government’s New Enterprise Initiative Scheme(NEIS) has been going for decades. It’s designed to allow people on the dole to get off the dole by starting a new business. It basically pays you the dole but without the need to endlessly report your failure to find a job to Centrelink; instead you get a quarterly review of your progress with a mentor and monthly progress reports to DEWA.

You need to be on benefits to start it, but getting on benefits if you’re bootstrapping a startup is easy; you earn bugger all so you qualify. You can continue with casual jobs while the paperwork goes through, and as soon as you’re on the NEIS program you can earn halfway decent amounts of money without affecting the payments.

Business Foundations Executive Director Phillip Kemp has been providing the NEIS program to his clients for years, and has this to say about the program:

“For people thinking of starting a business – any type of business – the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) is a great way to begin.  Included in the program is a four to five week training program which you create a business plan for the business, and if you finish the assessments, you will receive a nationally recognised certificate in small business management.  After that, you receive 12 months of mentoring with an experienced business mentor who has ‘been there and done that’ and will assist in keeping you on track with the business plan.  And because it is a government program, there is nine months of income support through Centrelink.”

Phil says he has seen NEIS transform people’s lives for the better:

“NEIS is great for people who have never run a business before.  Starting a business is one of the hardest things you can do in life – but with training and mentoring support for twelve months, people can make a go of small business and never go back to Centrelink again”.

During the writing of this article the scheme has been changed as part of the budget cutbacks, now new applicants only get 9 months of support instead of a year, but the program is still a great way of paying the bills while you bootstrap your startup. I’m actually on the program at the moment, and it’s working out really well.

There are many providers so google “NEIS providers” and check them out, although from my experience I found Mission Australia were a nightmare to deal with. I can’t recommend the Business Foundations NEIS program personally as I’m using a different provider, but if you want to check their program out and get some information then they’re at or on 9430 8569.

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Marcus Holmes

Marcus Holmes

Gentleman Technologist and co-founder of Startup News. His vision has made //SN a sustainable media cheerleader for the startup community. Former CEO of Phnom Penh Post, he can be found somewhere in S.E. Asia coding away...

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