Want to know more about our NEIS Program? Read below for some commonly asked questions.
Have a question that isn’t on the list? Contact us here and our team will be in touch.
Am I Eligible For NEIS?
There are two steps in the eligibility check: your personal eligibility and the eligibility of your business.
To be eligible as a person you must be:
- be at least 18 years of age
- be available to participate in pre-NEIS training (3 days a week for 3 weeks)
- be able to work full-time in your NEIS business (unless you have been assessed as having partial capacity to work, have reduced participation requirements or are a volunteer within employment services).
You must not:
- be an undischarged bankrupt
- be working more than 15 paid hours per week
- have received NEIS assistance in the past year
- be prohibited by law from working in Australia
- be an overseas visitor on a working holiday visa or an overseas student studying in Australia
Is My Business Idea Eligible For NEIS?
For your NEIS business to be eligible, it must:
- be independent, capable of withstanding public scrutiny and lawful
- be assessed as commercially viable by Business Foundations
- be established, located and operated solely within Australia
- cannot already be operating on a commercial basis
- is structured so you have and will maintain a controlling interest over the NEIS business for the duration of your time in NEIS
You may contact Business Foundations to check your eligibility or take our eligibility quiz here.
What Is The First Step For NEIS?
Before you start on the NEIS program, there is a 13-week activity period. During this time, you attend three weeks of full-time training (three days a week, 9am to 3pm), followed by a period in which you will:
- complete your business plan;
- apply for all relevant registration and licences; and
- submit your NEIS application.
Please note: This 13-week activity period cannot be extended, so you need to be fully committed before applying.
Note for those receiving welfare payments:
You will continue to receive your current payment during this 13-week period and will have to report to Centrelink, your JobActive provider or Disability Employment Services Provider. The 13-week period of pre-NEIS training is an Approved Full-Time Activity.
If your appointment with Centrelink, your JobActive provider or Disability Employment Services Provider clashes with the pre-NEIS training, please inform the NEIS manager.
Can I Use My Existing Business For NEIS?
Your proposed NEIS business will not be eligible if you are currently operating the business on a commercial basis. Businesses will be considered to be already operating in a commercial way (and are thus ineligible) if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- The activity of your business is currently undertaken in a business-like manner and there is a reasonable expectation of profit
- Your business is of reasonable commercial size in comparison with other businesses in the same field
- There is and has been repeated and continuous activity
- There is a commercial relationship with the customers.
Some proposed businesses can be considered to be hobbies or activities that supplement your income. In such circumstances, you may not be operating on a commercial basis, but decisions on this are made on a case-by-case basis by Business Foundations. Please contact us if you are unsure of your eligibility.
Can I Enter NEIS In A Partnership?
Yes, you can have a NEIS or non-NEIS partner in the business. You will be required to submit a partnership agreement before starting the NEIS program. You will need to have equal or greater share and control over the business if partnering with a non-NEIS business partner. You can have an equal controlling interest if partnering with another NEIS applicant.
How Many Hours Do I Have To Spend On My NEIS Business?
You will need to work full-time with 35 hours or more per week. This does not apply to job seekers under restricted work capacity.
Can I Work In A Part-Time Job As Well As On My NEIS Business?
Yes, you can have an external income (such as a part-time job) while operating your NEIS business. As long as the external income is not greater than twice the amount you receive from NEIS. Your part-time job should not interfere with your business development. You may contact the NEIS manager to discuss any activity.
Is My NEIS Income Taxable?
Yes, you will need to consider this when completing your financial projections for NEIS application.
Can I Remain On My Current Payment Instead Of NEIS Allowance?
You may be able to remain on your current payment if it is one of the following:
- Carer Payment (CAR)
- Disability Support Pension (DSP)
- Parenting Payment Single (PPS)
- WSP Partner Service Pension (DVA Allowance)
- WWP War Widow(er) Pension (DVA allowance)
It is best to discuss with Centrelink how your NEIS participation may affect your ongoing entitlement to a particular income support payment. NEIS payments usually replace your income support payments (such as a Newstart Allowance). If you do remain on your current payment, you will not also receive a NEIS payment on top of the current payment.
Will NEIS Affect My Rental Assistance?
If you are currently receiving rental assistance as part of Family Assistance, commencing onto NEIS will not affect this. However, if your current rental assistance is not part of Family Assistance, you will only receive NEIS rental assistance for 26 weeks while on the program. After 26 weeks of business operation, you should be more financially independent. NEIS rental assistance has a maximum rate, please contact us for the exact amount.
Can I Get Covid Supplement On NEIS?
Yes, NEIS participants can access the $550 Coronavirus supplement. If you are eligible to receive an income support payment such as the Jobseeker Allowance you will be able to obtain the Coronavirus Supplement.
Can I Train At My Own Pace?
Online NEIS training provides a degree of flexibility, however you will need to make yourself available at set dates and times for the virtual classroom sessions and ensure you submit coursework on time. You will need to work full-time on your NEIS business with 35 hours or more per week unless you are a job seeker with restricted work capacity.
Can I Do This Online?
Yes, Business Foundations has provided an online NEIS program for those who need it for over five years. The online program has everything you will need to learn on how to run your own business and support you through your journey. This includes virtual classrooms, one-on-one phone and online support for participants, and online submission of coursework. Business Foundation’s online NEIS program fact sheet can be found here.
Can I Start An Arts Business?
Yes! A lot of creatives have participated in the NEIS program and have enjoyed great success over the years. Business Foundations will help turn your talent and passion into a profitable business. Participants learn what products or services they can identify niche markets for and how to market them effectively.
Can I Get A Grant To Start My Business?
Unfortunately no. Only those already on welfare payments will be eligible for the NEIS allowance, which is payed upon commencement of the NEIS Program and will be received over the course of 39 weeks. However, if you are experiencing financial hardship or have recently lost your employment due to COVID-19 you may be eligible for the Jobseeker payment. The Jobseeker payment can be received in conjunction with free NEIS training, and the NEIS training will fulfil the looking for work requirement.
Can I Run My Business From Home?
Absolutely! Many of our previous NEIS participants have run successful businesses from home.
Can I Run My Business Around School Hours?
One of the many benefits of running your own business is choosing your own hours, meaning yes, you can run your business around school hours. If you are unsure how you are going to make those hours work, a friendly chat to our business advisors can give you the tips you need to work around school hours effectively. NEIS training hours range from 9am-3pm, meaning you can work NEIS around your family commitments.
Can I Read Some NEIS Success Stories?
You sure can! Meet the very talented people who launched their very own successful business with our NEIS Program. Read some inspiring stories right here.
Do You Have Any NEIS Testimonials To Read?
Of course! Behind every testimonial is an experience that matters. Take a look at what our previous clients had to say about the NEIS program here.
WANT TO BE YOUR OWN BOSS?
Let’s check your eligibility for the NEIS Program now.