ask the expert | How can The New Enterprise Incentive Scheme help me with my biz?

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today we have a guest post from our expert partner in administration, kelly evans from mary poppins - virtual assistant. she is sharing some great info about the NEIS program in australia. if you live in another country start by checking with your local small business support centre, your local government office, or do a search online for small business grants/schemes in your area. from this post i would say it is well worth having a look!

I had never intended to join the NEIS Program. I had a vague idea in my mind about what it was about and I didn’t really think I would be eligible (or that it really was for me).

NEIS stands for the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme and now that I have been through the program – I would highly recommend it! 

I had actually called my local Business Enterprise Centre for some advice on a business I was thinking of setting up, and ended up having a meeting with one of their business mentors. He gave me a totally new perspective on my ideas and at the end of our meeting suggested I look into the NEIS Program!

There are some eligibility requirements – like you need to be eligible for a Centrelink payment (like Parenting Payment or Newstart) so it is not for everyone. If you are in doubt check with your local Centrelink and you might be surprised. You also need to have a business idea…

Simple right? You fill in the application form, complete a few weeks training (provided free) and then you get paid a fortnightly NEIS allowance (currently $486.80 per fortnight) – regardless of your business income (yep you can even earn a million), for a full 52 weeks! It’s great to have that payment as a backup, to give you the space to focus on your business (and if you’re renting you could also receive 26 weeks of rent allowance).

The initial course gets you set up with your business basics, you develop a business plan (covering market research, marketing, operations and finances - including budget projections). 

If your original business idea appears to be not too viable over the course of training, they will help you evolve your idea so that it will be profitable (and it’s always much better to change your offering at the start of your business, before you have made a loss).

As part of your training you receive a qualification too (either a Certificate III in Micro-Business Operations or a Certificate IV in Small Business Management - depending on your NEIS provider).

Also included is free business mentoring and support during your first year (as part of the Scheme). I was quite surprised to receive a professional mentor with a wealth of experience, and she was very easy-going and approachable. She is always there to encourage me and suggest new paths.

For me the NEIS Program has supported me to grow and evolve my business, and given me the courage to try things I wouldn’t previously have thought of. If you have a business idea and you qualify – I say go for it! Give NEIS a try, and see what you can do!

For more info on the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme

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Kelly Evans is a virtual Mary Poppins. A qualified trainer, assessor and book keeper, with over 10 years experience in administration in both the private and public sectors. Her mission is to make small business easy with quality administrative assistance. Visit www.virtualmarypoppins.com.au