This content is under review and will be transferred to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources as a result of the Administrative Arrangements Order made on 5 December 2019 with effect from 1 February 2020.

Starting a business


Small businesses are the engine room of the Australian economy and backing small business is a key part of the Government’s plan for a stronger economy. The Government is investing in Australia’s small businesses to foster an environment of confidence, increased investment, economic growth and employment.

The Australian Government understands the challenges of running a small business and has a range of initiatives and programs to support Australians to start a small business. Grants, funding and support programs from across government are now available to assist small businesses to succeed and thrive.

SelfStart online hub

SelfStart is an online hub that provides people considering self-employment a range of information and tools to help them start a business. SelfStart contains links to existing resources and information about local services to help people work through the first stages of starting a business.

For more information visit the jobsearch website 

New Business Assistance with NEIS 

New Business Assistance with NEIS helps people start their own business. NEIS provides accredited small business training, help to develop a business plan, and business mentoring and support during the first year of the new business. Eligible participants may also be able to receive NEIS Allowance for up to 39 weeks and NEIS Rental Assistance for up to 26 weeks. There are 8,600 places available nationally each year, delivered by a network of 20 NEIS providers.

Exploring Being My Own Boss Workshops run over two weeks and give people interested in starting their own business a taste of what self-employment means for them. The workshops cover 10 core topics including idea validation, tax essentials and branding and are delivered nationally by NEIS providers.

For more information visit the Self-employment—New Business Assistance with NEIS page on this website.

Entrepreneurship Facilitators

Entrepreneurship Facilitators promote and encourage entrepreneurship and self-employment among individuals and the community. Entrepreneurship Facilitators provide free mentoring and assistance to help people start and run their own business, including connecting individuals to other support services in the local area.

Facilitators deliver services in 23 locations across the country. Anyone interested in starting or running their own business in these locations can access help from their local Entrepreneurship Facilitator.

For more information visit the Entrepreneurship Facilitators page on this website.

Entrepreneurs’ Programme

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme helps entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses to grow, innovate and commercialise. Eligible businesses receive expert assistance, supported by grants, to build their business management capabilities, make connections with researchers to collaborate on the development of innovative ideas, and to commercialise novel products, processes and services.

Services are delivered through a national network of more than 140 experienced, expert private sector advisers and facilitators.

For more information visit the website. 

Women in Entrepreneurship

Girls and young women across Australia need to have the knowledge and skills to start their own small businesses and create employment opportunities for themselves and for others. The Government is supporting women in entrepreneurship through a range of measures.

Future Female Entrepreneurs program

The Future Female Entrepreneurs program provides young women and girls with the tools and support they need to prosper in the digital economy, start their own business and secure their own economic future.

  • This $3.6 million investment will focus on engaging 55,000 girls and women, particularly in rural and regional communities, through a digital platform and workshops.

For more information visit the Academy for Enterprising Girls website.

Boosting Female Founders

Boosting Female Founders provides $18 million in grants for a women’s start-up fund to increase entrepreneurship opportunities for women.

For more information visit the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science website.

National Innovation and Science Agenda

Under the National Innovation and Science Agenda, the Government is investing $13 million over five years to support projects including:

  • the expansion of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) project
  • the Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship program
  • a new group of STEM ‘Male Champions of Change’
  • supporting the Superstars of STEM program to equip 60 of the nation’s most dynamic female scientists and technologists with advanced communications skills.

For more information visit Department of Industry, Innovation and Science website.

Supporting women’s economic security

Economic opportunity, and the security it affords, lies at the heart of the Australian Government’s vision for a vibrant, safe and cohesive Australia. When women do well, their families do well, and our economy and nation prospers. The Government demonstrated its commitment to women’s economic security by introducing the first Women’s Economic Security Statement in 2018, which provides $151.4 million over five years to promote greater choice for Australian women. The initiatives contained in the Statement target key areas that promote greater choice for Australian women by:

  • helping them to establish their own businesses
  • boosting their skills and employability
  • encouraging their return to work
  • improving their economic recovery following critical life events, such as family and domestic violence and separation.

For more information visit the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet website.

Business Registration Service

To make it easier to register your business online, the Government has developed a single online business registration service. You can now apply for multiple business and tax registrations in one place at

For more information visit the website.

Supporting Indigenous businesses

Indigenous Business Sector Strategy

The Government continues to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to create real jobs, grow businesses, and in turn contribute to the strengthening of local economies and the broader Australian economy. The Indigenous Business Sector Strategy (IBSS), launched by the Government in 2018, is the key policy supporting Indigenous business growth following increased demand for Indigenous goods and services. The IBSS is a ten-year plan to improve access to business and financial support for the growing Indigenous business sector.

For more information visit the National Indigenous Australians Agency website.

Indigenous Procurement Policy

The Government continues to drive demand for the products and services of Indigenous businesses through the Indigenous Procurement Policy to ensure Indigenous businesses win contracts valued at a level closer to those of non-Indigenous businesses.

For more information visit the National Indigenous Australians Agency website.

Better access to employee share schemes

Building on the Government’s 2015 changes to employee share schemes, the Government is making it easier for businesses to offer their employees opportunities to share in the growth and success of the business they work for. This in turn will help employers attract, retain and motivate their employees, and grow their business.

For more information visit the Australian Taxation Office website. 

Tax incentive for early stage investors

To make a success of start-ups, small business needs investment. The Government provides tax incentives encouraging early-stage investment in innovative start-ups to boost capital in new enterprises and promote new business ideas.

Eligible investors in qualifying early-stage innovation companies can claim a 20 per cent carry-forward, non-refundable tax offset for their investment. This is capped at a total offset amount of $200,000 for an investor and their affiliates each year, and there is a 10-year capital gains tax exemption on their investment, provided eligible investments are held for at least 12 months.

For more information visit the Australian Taxation Office website.  

Additional information is a one-stop-shop for information, services and tools to help you plan, start and grow your business. The Starting a Business Guide is an interactive tool for start-ups and those thinking of starting a business. It provides step-by-step information on how to get started, relevant tools and information about the government support on offer, including planning templates and checklists, registration and licence services, information about employing people, marketing and more.

The contact centre (13 28 46) puts small businesses in touch with essential information about Government grants, programs and services. The contact centre has a dedicated team of agents with extensive experience in small business and independent contracting. They provide information and referrals on a wide range of issues, including:

  • finance and accounting
  • marketing
  • advertising
  • small business counselling, and
  • information technology.

Support through phone, email or web chat is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm nationally.

For more information visit the website.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

For information and checking of companies and business names.

For more information visit the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website.