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Workforce Australia – Self-Employment Assistance FAQ’s

We have developed the following Frequently Asked Questions to answer any questions you may have about Self-Employment Assistance.

Did Self-Employment Assistance replace the New Business Assistance with NEIS program?

Yes! From July 4th 2022 Self-Employment Assistance has replaced the New Business Assistance with NEIS program. You may find some eligibility requirements and program details have changed, so keep reading or reach out to our team if you have any questions!

What is Self-Employment Assistance?

Self-Employment Assistance is a program that provides personalised support to help those wanting to become self-employed, or small business owners who are struggling to keep their existing business viable.

How does Self-Employment Assistance help?

Self-Employment Assistance can help by providing:
• Exploring Self-Employment Workshops – A one-week workshop designed at assisting you to understand what’s involved in starting a business.
• Business Plan Development – Tailored, expert, one-on-one advice to help you develop a business plan and decide if self employment is right for you.
• Small Business Training – Accredited qualifications in Business
• Small Business Coaching and Business Advice sessions
• Business Health Checks
• Income Support for up to 39 weeks (Eligibility Criteria applies)
• Rental Assistance for up to 26 weeks (Eligibility Criteria applies)

Am I eligible for Self-Employment Assistance?

To be eligible you must:
• be at least 15 years of age (a person must be 18 years of age to access Small Business Coaching)
• be:
o an Australian citizen, or
o the holder of a permanent visa, or a nominated Visa Holder (including a New Zealand Special Category Visa, Temporary Protection Visa Holder and a Safe Haven Visa Holder)
• not be an undischarged bankrupt
• not already be in education and/or employment for more than 25 hours per week
• meet any additional eligibility criteria specific to the Service(s) which they have chosen, including any criteria in the Chapter for the relevant Service.

Some services available through Self-Employment Assistance will also have additional eligibility criteria. For example, to access Small Business Coaching you must have an eligible business idea or existing business. This means your business idea or existing business must:
• be either a new business or a micro-business (up to 4 employees) at risk of not operating commercially
• be assessed as viable by your Self-Employment Assistance provider
• have an independent business structure
• be lawful and capable of withstanding public scrutiny
• be established, located, and operated solely within Australia
• be structured so you will maintain a controlling interest over the business through your time accessing the Services.

What business ideas can receive assistance?

Your Self-Employment Assistance provider will assess your business idea to ensure it meets the business eligibility criteria.
Your proposed business:
• Cannot be operating on a commercial basis.
• Must have an independent structure.
• Is lawful and capable of withstanding public scrutiny.
• Has been assessed as commercially viable by your Self-Employment Assistance provider.
• Must be established, located and operated solely within Australia.
• You must maintain a controlling interest whilst participating in the Self-Employment Assistance program.

How do I access Self-Employment Assistance?

ETC currently provides Self-Employment Assistance in the NSW Hunter, New England North West & North Coast regions and QLD Gold Coast, Brisbane South East, Somerset, Wivenhoe, & Wide Bay Sunshine Coast regions.
If you live outside of these locations, then you will need to contact another provider for these programs. You can find a list of providers on the Workforce Australia providers page.
If you are within these locations, you can fill out an enquiry on the ETC website.
Alternatively, you can contact your local Workforce Australia, or Disability Employment provider for contact details.

What is Self-Employment Assistance training?

Self-Employment Assistance training helps you achieve a nationally recognised business qualification. Self-Employment Assistance training is a Centrelink approved activity.
During the training, you will develop a Business Plan which will need to be assessed by your Self-Employment Assistance provider.

Do I get business mentoring and support?

You will receive business mentoring from experienced mentors during the first 12 months of operating your new business.

Am I eligible to receive an allowance through Self-Employment Assistance?

If you receive a Department of Human Services (DHS) or Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) income support payment you may be eligible to receive the Self-Employment Assistance Allowance for up to the first 39 weeks of business operation. This is subject to you meeting the obligations under your Self-Employment Assistance Participation Agreement.

Your new business must be your primary full-time activity. You can work part-time to supplement your business income. If your external income is greater than twice the basic rate of Self-Employment Assistance Allowance, it may affect the amount of your Self-Employment Assistance Allowance.

You may also be eligible to receive up to $300 worth of small business start-up costs, such as business insurance.

What is Rental Assistance?

You may also be eligible to receive Rental Assistance. This is a fixed rate payment for a period of 26 weeks from the date you first start receiving Self-Employment Assistance allowance.

To be eligible for rental assistance you must have been receiving DHS or DVA rental assistance before you start receiving the Self-Employment Assistance allowance.

Is Self-Employment Assistance worth it?

Yes! If you are serious about starting your own business, need assistance to develop a business plan, and want business training, then participating in Self-Employment Assistance is worth it! Check out these business success stories on our blog.

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