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It’s not every day a success story is born from a passion for small business and seaweed but that’s what Lee-Anne has achieved with help from New Business Assistance with NEIS.
Lee-Anne turned her enthusiasm for the health benefits of iodine in fresh, locally-sourced kelp seaweed into a successful business selling a natural health supplement.
She started her business by hand-picking seaweed from the pristine waters of Mystery Bay on the far south coast of NSW and processing it into a food seasoning nutritional booster.
“I wanted to start my own business because I saw a niche in the market, and I felt really confident that I could address this through my own passion and knowledge about seaweed,” Lee-Anne said.
The New Business Assistance with NEIS program provides personalised support to help you become a self-employed business owner. It gives people who have a great business idea support to develop their business plan, as well as up to 52 weeks of mentoring to help start and run their business.
Lee-Anne said participating in NEIS, and the support of her NEIS business mentor, were integral in building mbK For Life. They helped her with planning and production, website development and face-to-face sales.
“I received support at every level. From the concept stage right through to the planning and financials which weren’t my strongest point, and marketing the business,” Lee-Anne said.
Her business mentor helped her develop her website to expand the business, giving her the opportunity to directly market her product to new online customers.
“The website’s been really great, it’s certainly grown so much in the last 12 months. We’ve been going out to the markets and talking to people as well,” Lee-Anne said.
Lee-Anne’s local NEIS provider, Donna Price, explains one of the roles of a provider is to work with the participants every step of the way.
“We work with them intensely to get a business plan together and any other advice and assistance they might need for that 12 months while they’re participating in NEIS,” Donna said.
The NEIS program also provides accredited training and an allowance for up to 39 weeks of business operation for eligible participants.
“I did the Cert 4 in New Small Business which was really great. Doing that along with everything else I was engaged in with the building of the business, really worked well together,” Lee-Anne said.
“I received the NEIS Allowance, so every fortnight I had a little bit of money to put towards the business and use that opportunity to grow the business.”
“I’d definitely recommend NEIS to other people. Without a doubt it has just been an amazing journey and a really helpful one.”
New Business Assistance with NEIS helped set up Lee-Anne’s business for success. Her award-winning products are now available online (mbK For Life) and at farmers markets across Australia’s east coast.