Tis the season.. for more tenders and New Employment Services Model (NESM) changes.

As part of NESM, the Government is investing an additional $129.8 million over 4 years to improve the flexibility of small business and entrepreneurship services.  The aim is to increase accessibility for jobseekers and existing micro-business owners.  How?  By amending the New Business Assistance with New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) and Entrepreneurship Facilitator programs. These programs aim to help individuals start and develop their small businesses through training and mentoring services.  Why?  Because the program hopes to sustain a strong growth in business start ups experienced during COVID-19.

With COVID-19, working from home has become the new normal, and it has pushed some to take that leap and start their own business. In FY21, new business start ups numbered 365,480 (15.8% entry rate), up from 336,499 in 2019-20 (Source: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/business-indicators/counts-australian-businesses-including-entries-and-exits/latest-release). Those aspiring entrepreneurs and micro-business owners needing support to remain commercially viable might be interested in the changes to the NEIS program.

Should providers consider tendering?

Currently, there are 18 NEIS providers and over 30 Entrepreneurship Facilitators across Australia.  How does NEIS perform today?  For these providers, the current NEIS program is operationally feasible and economically viable.  These new changes promise to further underpin successful service delivery.  Why is that?  It is hoped that micro enterprises will also find the service more flexible and authentic.  The new “Self-Employment Assistance” (SEA) program commences 1 July 2022 in all 51 Employment Regions (ERs) across Australia. It is a larger and revised version of the current NEIS program. The SEA initiative, as the name suggests, aims to promote self-employment through a range of activities, including: Micro Business courses; business planning; business advice; and business health checks.

New program features include: idea generation and ‘Introduction to self-employment’ workshops; an increased number of eligible participants; and a range of flexible services.

Providers will deliver Workshops helping people learn what self-employment is and offer idea generation workshops. Providers will also need to ensure that their services remain accessible to all Participants, including those with poor digital literacy, from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds and those without access to appropriate technology and information. Therefore, certain individuals experiencing barriers to entrepreneurship can now engage in a new adventure, through a wider range of services.

For NEIS providers or other organisations looking to enter the market, best of luck and keep track of that Request for Tender which should drop any time next month.