What is NEIS?

Individuals interested in starting their own business may be eligible to participate in New Business Assistance with NEIS. NEIS is a program delivered as part of the Federal Government’s jobactive employment services. A total of 8,600 places are available around Australia each year, delivered by a network of 20 providers.


NEIS providers offer support to turn a good idea into a viable business. NEIS provides people with:


  • Accredited small business training
  • Business mentoring and personalised support in the first year of their new business
  • Income support (NEIS Allowance) for up to 39 weeks (if eligible)
  • Rental Assistance for up to 26 weeks (if eligible)


NEIS has been providing assistance to eligible individuals for over 35 years. Read some of our business success stories.

How does the NEIS program work?

  • Contact your nearest NEIS provider, who will review your business idea and determine if you are eligible to participate in the NEIS program.
  • If the NEIS program is suitable for you and your business idea, you will be offered a place in a NEIS Training program
  • You will participate in NEIS Training, which is FREE and provides practical small business management training.*
  • During the NEIS Training period, you will develop a comprehensive business plan.
  • Your business plan will be reviewed to ensure that it demonstrates the business can be commercially viable and meets other program criteria.
  • Where the business plan demonstrates commercial viability you will be offered 12 months of NEIS Assistance, including mentoring support to help get your business up and running, and income support (if eligible).


* Existing micro-business owners who are seeking to refocus their business to adapt to economic pressures created by COVID-19 may not be required to complete NEIS Training.


For more details, find your nearest NEIS provider with our postcode search tool.

Am I eligible for the NEIS program?

There has been a broadening of eligibility in recent times, which means that you no longer need to be receiving government income support payments to access NEIS support.

NEIS eligibility includes:

  • People who are unemployed or under employed
  • People working or studying up to 25 hours per week, and those with significant caring responsibilities
  • People over 65 years of age in receipt of the age pension
  • Retrenched workers in the last three months of their employment
  • Serving members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and eligible family members, with an identified transition date
  • Existing micro-business owners impacted by COVID-19 who need help to keep their business running or to refocus their operations to meet new areas of demand.


Please note that if you are not receiving government income support payments you would not be eligible for NEIS Allowance (income support) or Rental Assistance. For those NEIS participants receiving an eligible Centrelink/Services Australia payment such as JobSeeker Allowance, Parenting Payment, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension or Youth Allowance you may be eligible for NEIS income support payments. Eligibility for NEIS income support payments will be confirmed during the application process.


To participate in the NEIS program you will:

  • Have a good business idea
  • Be at least 18 years of age when commencing NEIS Assistance
  • Not be prohibited by law from working in Australia
  • Not be an overseas visitor on a working holiday visa or an overseas student studying in Australia
  • Be available to participate in NEIS Training
  • Be available to work the required hours in your NEIS business*
  • Have not received NEIS assistance in the past year
  • Not be an undischarged bankrupt.


* Most NEIS participants would be required to operate their business full time (min. 35 hours per week), but those engaged in employment or accredited education up to 25 hours per week or have a documented medical condition, disability and/or caring responsibilities would be permitted to operate their business part-time (min. 25 hours per week).


For more details, find your nearest NEIS provider with our postcode search tool.

Is my business idea eligible for the NEIS program?

The NEIS program is suitable for most small business ideas, contact your nearest NEIS provider to discuss the suitability and eligibility of your business idea.


Reading some of our business success stories may also give you some idea of the diversity of businesses started through NEIS.


A proposed NEIS business would need to be:


  • Independent in its business structure
  • Lawful and capable of withstanding public scrutiny
  • Assessed as commercially viable
  • Established, located and operated solely within Australia
  • Structured so that you can maintain a controlling interest over the business while participating in NEIS
  • Either:
    • Not operating on a commercial basis, or
    • An existing micro-business affected by COVID-19.

You can find your nearest NEIS provider by using our postcode search tool.