What is NEIS?

NEIS is a commonwealth government program to help eligible social security recipients into self-employment. The program includes training in small business management, a business plan, one year of income support (this payment is yours to keep along with any profits you make from your business) and mentor support.

Who is Eligible?

Announcing the new 50+ Course

Are you 50 years or over, financially independent and want to start your own business?

From 1 July 2006 the NEIS programme provides assistance for mature age participants aged 50 years and over who have the financial capacity to support themselves during both the NEIS Training and NEIS Assistance periods (up to 15 months). This group is known as the ‘Non-Allowee Mature Age’ (NAMA) group.

NEIS will provide you with free Small Business Training and Business Mentoring.

More Details

New Business

A new business must be new but not necessarily unique. From plumbers to coffee shops, from handymen to computer consultants, most legal and reputable businesses are acceptable.

The business can already be registered but cannot have already operated beyond a hobby level. No goodwill can be paid to purchase an ongoing business. Franchises or exclusive sub-contracting arrangements are not allowed as they lack the necessary independence. Ask us if you are uncertain about your proposition.


The business can be a sole proprietorship, partnership or company. Your business partners can be NEIS eligible or not. However if they are not, you must have the decision making power while NEIS assists the business.


A viable NEIS business would be expected to make sufficient profits to allow the owner(s) to replace the need for CentreLink benefits within a year.


At the end of training an independent panel will consider your business plan. Apart from meeting all of the appropriate legal requirements e.g. registered name, lease if needed, partnership agreement if needed, the panel will need proof of demand. You should start your market research now, if possible make test sales and collect orders. It is your job to convince the panel that the business has a good chance of success.


The course is practical. Most find it an enjoyable and useful experience. Practical ideas can be gained from the trainers and other participants, who often have previous business experience.

The main assessment is your business plan. Training takes seven weeks with a half way interview to offer feedback on the development of your business plan. Final plans are assessed by an independent panel, which decides whether income support is recommended for your business proposition.

We encourage all to do the training for the experience and the business plan assistance, however RPL (recognition of prior learning) is available if your qualifications and skills can be shown to be the equivalent of the course's learning outcomes. Ask about RPL at your interview.

NAMA 50+ Course

For more information read our flyer. If you are interested and meet the NAMA criteria please contact the NEIS hotline on 1800 440 455 for more information.