Turn your dream business idea into a reality

Have a great idea for a business but don't where to start?

If you're not in full time employment, education or training, you
may be eligible for free online training in small business
management* and mentoring support.

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Thinking about starting your own business?

APM Employment Services and the Self-Employment Assistance program can get you started.

Self-Employment Assistance has replaced the New Business with NEIS.

The new, expanded program will provide more support to more people, more businesses in even more places across Australia.

Self-Employment Assistance helps eligible job seekers set up and run their own small business.

The program can help you workshop a business idea, create a business plan, provide you with accredited training in small business*, and provide you with business advice and mentoring for the first 12 months.

All of the training is at no cost, and we’ll also provide you with access to training materials.

All you need is a good business idea.

Who can take part in Self-Employment Assistance?

You can participate in Self-Employment Assistance if you are:

  • A job seeker and not currently employed or studying. You do not need to be on welfare payments to take part in the program
  • At least 18 years of age 
  • Not prohibited by law from working in Australia
  • Not an undischarged bankrupt
  • Available to participate in Self-Employment training and work full time in the proposed business


of business owners who complete this course are still running successful businesses in 12 months time.

How does it work?

Find out what to expect from the application and training process for the Self-Employment Assistance program.

  1. Complete our online application form, or you can schedule a call with a Self-Employment Consultant to complete your application over the phone.
  2. Once your application is received, we’ll review your eligibility. If you are eligible, we’ll then undertake Business Feasibility Assessment. Successful applicants will be contacted to confirm their acceptance into Self-Employment Assistance training.
  3. You’ll be enrolled and start your training. The fully accredited course can take between 6-13 weeks to complete, supported by regular sessions with your personal Business Mentor.
  4. Your completed business plan will be assessed for viability in several key areas such as industry knowledge, qualifications, premises, funding, cashflow and marketing.
  5. You’ll receive free business mentoring and guidance for the first 12 months of your business operation.

What business ideas are eligible?

Will my business idea be accepted?

Your business idea is only limited by your imagination. From cleaning, to coffee, lawn maintenance or a basketball store it is easier than you think to take the first step into beginning your business.

Your business idea will be assessed to make sure it meets the business eligibility criteria. This means your proposed business.

  • Cannot already be operating on a commercial basis
  • Will have an independent business structure
  • Has been assessed as commercially viable by the Self-Employment Assistance provider
  • Will be established, located and operated solely within Australia
  • Is lawful and capable of withstanding public scrutiny
  • Will be structured for you to maintain a controlling interest over the business while participating in the program.

How Self-Employment Assistance can benefit you

  • Accredited small business training* and resources, all free of cost
  • Personalised business mentoring and advice
  • Professional, dedicated help to develop your business plan
  • Access to income support for eligible participant

Are you a job seeker registered with Workforce Australia, ParentsNext or Disability Employment Services?

If you are currently registered with a Workforce Australia, ParentsNext or Disability Employment Services (DES) provider and in receipt of support payments you can continue to receive ongoing income support while participating in the program:

  • Participants currently on JobSeeker Payments (formerly Newstart) will receive Self-Employment allowance for up to 39 weeks (paid fortnightly) and may be eligible to receive Rental Assistance for up to 26 weeks.
  • Participants on SSP or DSP payments can choose to continue to receive their current Pension, or choose to receive the Self-Employment allowance for up to 39 weeks (paid fortnightly) instead

Are you a job seeker and not receiving welfare payments?

Even if you’re not receiving income support payments, you can still access the same training and mentoring support to help you grow your own business.

Provided you’re not currently studying full time, you can receive free accredited training in small business and 12 months of business coaching and mentoring. However, you won’t be eligible to receive ongoing income support through the Self-Employment allowance

How we help get you started

Self-Employment Assistance gives you access to small business training relevant to the maturity of your business.

Your training is tailored to the individual, with a range of training and coaching options to suit you. 

Training is delivered via online or face to face settings through a Registered Training Organisation in entrepreneurship and small business*. 

We’ve designed it to give you greater flexibility to get you started on your journey

Success Stories

George’s rinse and repeat approach to sustainability is a winner

George's big idea starts in the shower and stretches all the way to his beloved ocean. The Washbloc is all part of his goal to convert 10,000 people from liquid products (in plastic containers) to solid products by 2024. This will save approximately 60,000 plastic bottles from landfill, or as rubbish in the natural environment.


“Julian provided me with mentoring when I needed it...
and then stepped back to give me the freedom to control my own business.

- Zach
Cottonmouth Records

“The support I got from my business mentor was amazing…
he helped me every step of the way, gently pushing me further, giving me confidence and answering my silly questions

- Angela
Angie's Domestic Duties

Join a free online info session

Attend a live Self-Employment Assistance information session to ask questions and learn:

  • How Self-Employment Assistance works
  • What you can expect from the program
  • What business ideas are eligible
  • How we help get you started 

 The information sessions run for approximately 30 minutes via Microsoft Teams.

*Training and assessment is delivered by and under the scope of registration held by Innovative Training & Recruitment Pty Ltd t/a ITR (RTO code 40206). Certificate III in Entrepreneurship and New Business - national course code BSB30220, Certificate IV in Entrepreneurship and New Business - national course code BSB40320, Micro Business Skill Set – national course code BSBSS00102, New Business Ventures Skill Set – national course code BSBSS00103, and Small Business Management Skill Set – national course code BSBSS00104