Get Yourself FinLit

NEIS Program

Though not many people seem to know about it, the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) is a super legit opportunity for young people who want to start a new business. It’s basically a program where you turn your business idea into a reality, with the help of a mentor.

Am I Eligible?

To be eligible, you need to be participating in jobactive, which is an Australian Government initiative that connects job seekers with employers. If you are unemployed and receiving Centrelink benefits, you’d be partnered with jobactive, but you can also choose to opt-in for jobactive. Basically, you need to be unemployed, at least 18-years-old, available to work full time on your proposed business and attend training (if relevant). You can check out the full list of criteria here.

What Kind of Business Can I Start?

The really epic part of this initiative is that you can be really creative and original in your idea. As mentioned, the N stands for “new”, which means your business has to be fresh, not an existing business that you want to buy or you’re already running. Your idea also has to be independent and commercially viable (as recognised by your NEIS provider) which means that you’ll have to prove there is a space for it in the market. So you’re encouraged to conceptualise something unique and interesting, which is pretty cool.


As part of the NEIS scheme, you’ll undertake a training course to understand the intricacies of running your chosen business, providing you with a nationally recognised qualification. Depending on your idea, you’ll either do a Certificate III in Micro Business Operations or a Certificate IV in Small Business Management.


One of the key aspects of the program is that you get support and mentorship for a whole year from experienced business professionals. They provide help and advice so that participants can organise the finances, marketing and administration of their businesses.

What Do I Get Through the NEIS Scheme?

During the NEIS scheme you’ll be entitled to regular Centrelink benefits and may be eligible to receive NEIS Allowance. You’ll also get to receive any profits you make through your business. You can also work part time on the side providing NEIS business is your primary, full-time activity. You may also be eligible for rent assistance.

If you find yourself unemployed and have a great idea, the NEIS scheme is one of the most flexible and interesting options for working on an original business idea. For more info check this out.

This information is intended to be general in nature and should not be relied upon for personal financial use. When in doubt, always seek professional guidance.
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