Get help setting up your own business

DVA is proud to be partnering with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE)’s New Business Assistance with NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme). This program provides support and training to eligible veterans and family members considering starting their own business.

The program has successfully helped more than 185,000 people start a new small business.

One of these was Bradley.

Bearded man crouching on timber deck between two German shepherds

After serving in the Royal Australian Air Force as an avionics technician for 6 years, Bradley felt lost as he tried to adjust to civilian life. He struggled with his mental health and felt lost. It took him some time to focus on what he wanted to do next and to identify the skills developed during his service that would be transferable to a civilian career.

Wanting to find a career that did not feel like a job, he decided he wanted to work with animals. Having treated his own dogs with hydrotherapy, he discovered there were no trained canine hydrotherapy professionals in his area with a dedicated rehabilitation centre. Hydrotherapy is a form of exercise therapy that involves the use of water-based exercises in treating a variety of conditions, such as arthritis.

Bradley connected with his local New Business Assistance with NEIS provider, who gave him the support and structure he needed to turn his dream into reality. Bradley’s goal was to build a dedicated rehabilitation centre. His NEIS mentor Debra helped him to develop a business plan that had practical steps to achieve that goal.

‘The simplicity of the program was what worked for me,’ he says. ‘My consultant was a veteran herself and so was able to speak in a language I understood and could compare military processes with business requirements.’

Due to COVID-19, Bradley had to delay building and opening his own facility. On the advice of his NEIS provider, Bradley adapted his business so that he worked as an independent contractor for other canine hydrotherapy businesses. Bradley looks forward to opening his own facility in the near future.

‘My experience with NEIS has been a great boost to my morale and mental health. I am more productive in both my business and personal life and feel that I am now achieving the goals I set for myself and my business.’

Transitioning veterans, as well as family members of serving Australian Defence Force personnel, can access free support to explore self-employment. Find out more about Exploring Being My Own Boss Workshops and New Business Assistance with NEIS by visiting the DESE website.