The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) in 5 Points

What is NEIS and is it an option for your small business idea?


The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) can be a great option for job seekers in Australia wishing to start a small business, but what is it and who’s eligible?

Here is NEIS in 5 points

1. What is NEIS?

NEIS is an Australian program that provides eligible job seekers with accredited small business training and business mentoring, income support and personalised mentoring and support from a NEIS provider in the first year of the new business.

2. Who’s eligible?

To be eligible for NEIS you need to be at least 18 years old and receiving an an eligible income support payment such as Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension or Youth Allowance.

You must be available to participate in NEIS training (if relevant) and work full time in the proposed NEIS business and not have received NEIS assistance for a similar business activity or in the last 3 years. There are also additional eligibility requirements you should check.

3. What businesses are eligible?

Your NEIS provider will assess the business idea for eligibility. Businesses allowed in the NEIS program can’t already be operating on a commercial basis and can’t be based on the purchase or takeover of an existing business.

The business needs to be established, located and operated solely within Australia and structured so you have a controlling interest.

There are also additional eligibility requirements you should check.

4. What’s required of participants?

Participants are required to undertake NEIS training and operate their NEIS business in accordance with their NEIS Business Plan, and meet all the terms of their NEIS Participant Agreement.

Any changes to the way the business operates must be agreed on with the NEIS provider before any action is taken, otherwise NEIS Allowance payments may be suspended.

5. How do I become part of NEIS?

You can contact your local jobactive or Disability Employment Services provider who may refer you to a NEIS provider. Details of providers are available on the jobactive website.