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New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) - Assistance and Eligibility

New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS)

The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme assists eligible job seekers who have an idea for a viable new small business to establish their self-employment venture. It provides access to training in small business management, a 12 month NEIS financial allowance, business advice and mentor support.

Assistance and Eligibility

The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) is a self-employment programme that assists eligible unemployed people to become self-supporting and independent of Centrelink payments by establishing their own commercially viable business. If you have a good idea for setting up a business of your own, Job Network can help you get started.

NEIS is delivered by specialist NEIS providers or Job Network members, who have expertise in small business development.

You can apply for NEIS by obtaining an application form from a NEIS provider or Centrelink.

NEIS Assistance includes:

  • Training in small business management, business skills and business plan development.
  • Income maintenance (NEIS Allowance) replacing Newstart Allowance for up to 52 weeks
  • Business advice and mentor support during the first year of business operation.

Eligibility for NEIS is primarily determined by the receipt of a qualifying Centrelink payment

NEIS places are limited and eligibility alone does not guarantee acceptance into the programme. Business ideas must also meet eligibility criteria.

NEIS applicants are evaluated on personal and business criteria  - see below - and are assessed on a competitive basis.

Client Eligibility - NEIS is available to unemployed people who:

  • are registered with Centrelink for full-time work (there is no minimum registration period);
  • are 18 years or older and less than Age Pension age while receiving NEIS Allowance;
  • receiving a Centrelink allowance or pension which includes a living allowance component;
  • have not received NEIS Allowance in the previous 2 years or previously for the same business activity; and
  • are not an undischarged bankrupt. 


Business Eligibility - To be eligible for funding under NEIS, proposed businesses must:

  • be new and not yet operating commercially,
  • be independent, lawful and reputable;
  • be assessed as commercially viable and recommended for NEIS Allowance by a NEIS Advisory Committee;
  • not compete directly with existing businesses unless it can be demonstrated that there is an unsatisfied demand for the product or service, or the goods or services are to be provided in a new way; and
  • not involve the purchase or take-over of an existing business.

Download the NEIS guide - see downloads (Right side)

The guide is intended to be of assistance to NEIS Providers and Contract Managers. It provides clarification of the Departmentís interpretation of the Employment Services Contract and the NEIS Participant Agreement as they apply to particular situations relating to NEIS.

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