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Frequently Asked Questions

From the 1st of July 2022 NEIS was rebranded to Self-Employment Assistance. The program offers not only the same benefits as before but has been expended to allow us to provide even more support. You can find out more information about Self-Employment Assistance here 

The SEA allowance is the equivalent of the basic rate of jobseeker payment. This is currently $762.70 per fortnight, you can confirm the amount by checking the Centrelink website. (current as at 20/03/2024)

Unfortunately not. Notwithstanding the comprehensive training and business planning that sorts out many non-viable businesses, the coaching program requires six mandatory visits to the participant by experienced business coaches whose role is to guide and advise the participant in their business decisions.

At end end of each financial quarter we complete a viability assessment on the progress of the business and wherever possible additional assistance is given to help anyone whose venture is struggling, however if after all efforts have been implemented, the business is still unlikely to be self-supporting at the end of the 12-month program, the Managing Agent will recommend the withdrawal of the participant.

The vast majority of businesses do not require assistance after 12 months, hence the programs national success rate of in excess of 84% of businesses still operating 15 months after they commence.

The small business training training is recognised by Services Australia (Centrelink) and the your Workforce Australia provider as a complimentary program and is categorised as an “Approved Activity”. As such you must still put in your forms as directed by Centrelink but you are not required to look for work as the training is a full-time activity and will provide 25 points per week towards your points based activation system. 

Centrelink grants you 8 week’s Approved Activity to complete the training, business plan and commence small business coaching. This is a generous allocation as most people get through it in six to seven weeks.

You may need to update your job plan with your Workforce Australia provider or Digital Services DigitalServices@dewr.gov.au

Please note: there is no extension of the 8 weeks so you need to be fully committed before applying. If Centrelink or your Job Workforce Australia Provider asks you to come in for an interview during your training you are obliged to make that meeting. If it clashes with your training, you need to advise us in advance.

  • If you fail to complete the training modules within your approved activity period
  • If you fail to return your quarterly return on time.
  • If you fail to participate in business coaching.
  • If you fail to work on your business in line with your business plan.
  • If your business is deemed “not viable”
Yes. If you are in receipt of rental allowance at the time of your approval to go onto the Program you will continue to receive your rental allowance but only for six months. Why? Because within six months of operating your business, you should not need this extra assistance and, in the majority of cases, historically, this has been the case.

Yes. You will need to take this into consideration when developing your cash flow projections and budgets.

Yes. The Program allows you to have business partners who are not eligible for SEA. For example, they may be employed or have a separate business to the joint venture you are looking at going into. If this is the case you will be required to have a signed Partnership Agreement and, as the SEA participant for the duration of the 12-month Program, the SEA participant must retain a controlling interest of at least 50% of the business.

Yes. Once you have completed your training and your Business Plan has been accepted and you are in receipt of the Self-Employment Assistance allowance you may earn some additional income per quarter outside of your business activity without it affecting your SEA allowance (please contact us for further details).

This could be a situation where you might work behind the bar a couple of night’s a week at your local tavern, or do a couple of morning’s relief work as receptionist at the Doctor’s Surgery, etc. Anything like that, as long as it does not interfere or detract from the continued development and operating of your business. Any activity of this kind must be approved by us.

No. Parenting and Disability receivers may choose to stay on their existing benefits, however these benefits will be income tested against how much you earn in your business.

You have the opportunity, once on the Program, to switch to the SEA allowance where your business income will not affect the allowance. It also works the other way should you have chosen to go onto the SEA allowance initially but have now decided that it would be better to stay on your original benefit.

It is very important that you discuss this option with a us prior to being accepted onto the program

No. You can register your business name, get an ABN, register for GST, buy your business cards, lease a shop or factory, purchase stock and get insurance for your proposed business as long as you do not “commercially operate”. Even if you have a small amount of income you would not generally be considered as commercially operating. Please contact us to check.  

Whilst we do not provide loans or start-up funding we can provide up to $300 reimbursement to help cover eligible business costs (insurance, equipment, marketing materials etc.) for anyone who commences into Small Business Coaching.

You may also be eligible for the 9 months of Self-Employment Assistance Allowance (please contact us to confirm eligiblity and current rates) paid to you once you have completed the training and your Business Plan has been accepted by the Department. This payment will reduce your Centrelink payment i.e. you will not receive both the SEA payment and Jobseeker payment.

The accredited training and 12 months of small business coaching are also fully Government funded.

In some cases, your Workforce Australia provider may be able to assist with some funding through the Employment Fund. You will need to discuss this with your Workforce Australia provider prior to applying for the program.

No. The Government makes available funding to support a limited number of places each year, therefore the role of the Managing Agent is to assess carefully the viability of each Business Plan that is submitted after you have done the appropriate training.

Your acceptance onto small business coaching will be determined by the evidence in the Plan that will support the question, “All things being equal, would this business, based on the facts presented, be able to be self-supporting at the end of the 9-month Self-Employment allowance payment support period”.

Yes, franchise businesses are eligible for the program as long as all other eligibility criteria have been met. 


Yes you can! 

As a volunteer, you will receive the small business training and 12 months of small business coaching but will NOT receive the Self-Employment Assistance allowance.

Yes you can!

Eligible existing businesses will fit into one of 2 categories.

1 – Not currently operating commercially:

A business whose net income in either the last full Financial Quarter or in the last 6 months was less than the equivalent amount of Self-Employment Allowance that could have been paid over that period. We can assess this for you

2 – Businesses that are at risk of not operating commercially:

Evidence that the business is at risk of not operating commercially may include, but is not limited to:

• documentation confirming a recent event (such as a natural disaster)or change in the business circumstances that has impacted the operations of the business

• confirmation of changes in the business operations, such as the withdrawal of a supplier or the entry of a new competitor

• financial information identifying a trend in the business’ performance.

The eligibility requirement of ‘working/studying less than 25 hours’ will be removed temporarily. This will be reassessed in July 2024. This will allow you to transition from employment or study into your own business within a year.

You will be required to ensure your business is on track to have a net income that is at least equal to the Basic Rate of JobSeeker Payment and operate on an average of 35 hours a week within 12 months of commencement in the program.

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