Policy Hack with Wyatt Roy
Policy Hack with Wyatt Roy
Please log in to vote days left

Let's encourage and enable students to take a gap year in order to launch a startup. This would spark the launch of 1000s of new startups each year, creating a massive entrepreneurial culture. The National Enterprise Initiative Scheme (NEIS) already provides ~$12k over the course of a year to help start a business. You first need to qualify for NewStart, and they require an 8-week Business Cert IV course which results in one of those outdated 100-page business plans. Most NEIS businesses are small, local, non-scalable, non-tech startups.

As a student in a sharehouse, $12k is just enough to live off (particularly outside Sydney). Though if we reconfigure NEIS and combine it with something like Bill Shorten's "Startup Year" HECS-funded idea, we could bump that to ~$30k and enable any student regardless of NewStart eligibility to "take a gap year and launch a startup". Replace the Business Cert IV with a lean startup bootcamp and lean canvas business plan, and encourage students to launch global, scalable technology startups. Provide all students with free coworking space either at their local university or one nearby (if exists). Provide mentorship and super close ties to their local startup scene (eg free hotdesking at nearby incubators and coworking spaces).


For many students this will be their first startup, and so it's expected that most will fail. But that's completely ok. The initiative will have spread the entrepreneurial bug across 1000s of young Australians. Students will find it much easier to get a job with "launched a startup" on their resume, and they will inevitably be itching to launch their next startup in the future.


The whole initiative could be started now with no additional funding required. Full breakdown here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/gongstartups/how-to-launch-1000-new-startups-per-year-in-australia-with-no-additional-funding/841940902549264

User avatar
Nathan Waters
2 years ago · 62 votes · 8 comments
Remember: Be nice to each other. (terms of use)

Linking NEIS (or improved NEIS) to a program of acceleraot/incubator program a good way to sort sheat from chaff. No need to make it student/recent grad only. I run a program called StartUp Catalyst where we take 20 18 to 25 year olds to Silicon Valley for 2 weeks send them on tour of Google, Twitter, Facebook etc plus a mid way StartUp Weekend.

I think we need to ensure that an improved NEIS style program would be open to more than just recent grads. We do need to link it something real. The current NEIS system has some checks in it as well as some learning. Link that to accelerators and you can probably make the argument.

User avatar
Stephen Baxter
2 years ago
Remember: Be nice to each other. (terms of use)

I did NEIS when it was refreshed as part of the response to the GFC. Indirectly, Shoeboxed Australia came out of that process.

At the time we only needed to have applied for NewStart (but not necessarily be eligible for any dole payments), and as the first under the new programme we had a great trainer. The RTO was utterly useless - one situation made this particularly clear - we'd just done a morning on contracts and legals, and were told "Never sign an agreement without reading it; especially if someone says 'it's a standard agreement' - the RTO then came in and said exactly that. I refused to sign immediately and asked to take it home and consider (the only one in the room), and I gather it meant the RTO didn't get paid because they chased me a year later. The trainer never did another programme :( ... A number of us in my group tried to lodge a complaint about the RTO, but DEEWR just wasn't interested.

The point of mentioning this, is that protecting against cowboys drives negative results (See my comment on Simon Spencer's suggestion). I believe that NEIS ended up like this because people were using it to cover a 12 month holiday around the country.

User avatar
Simon Foster
2 years ago
Remember: Be nice to each other. (terms of use)

@Nathan & @Simon,
Have had a similar same idea, however I think it could be done with VC / Corporate funds if the program was a 1 or 2 year graduate program similar to http://www.joinef.com/, however with deep links into industry as mentors rather than other founders. With additional university support I am not sure if policy change is necessary. S

User avatar
Samuel Tait
2 years ago

Therefore my viewpoint is that policy change should support and actively incentivise business investment into these types of areas rather than policy directing this to happen as a govt lead initiative. S

User avatar
Samuel Tait
2 years ago
Remember: Be nice to each other. (terms of use)

I had exactly the same idea, but not just Gap year, a 4th or 5th year of study to create your venture once you graduate from your Graduate degree use the HECS system to let a group of entrepreneurs band together, seed fund their own best idea, build an MVP, raise matching funds from investors and they are off.. even if they fail the lessons will be priceless and cost the state far less than unemployment benefits . Perhaps if their venture succeeds they can pay back the government at a higher rate (founders credits). If their venture wraps up they just have to fund it back as part of their HECS debt.

User avatar
Simon Spencer
2 years ago
Remember: Be nice to each other. (terms of use)

Agreed! The true benefactors of the NEIS are the RTOs. Have you noticed how many have popped up lately?

Regarding the NEIS, there are too many hoops to jump through with comparatively little payoff. You can't jump-start a small local business if you are shoehorned into a corporate, large-business mentality of growth. The process needs a more frequent but smaller feedback loop.

We need to STOP feeding a monolithic system of slow processes and demotivating progress and begin nuturing ideas and inspiration in our young people.

User avatar
Jacob .
2 years ago

so true. The guy working at the RTO who sold me on NEIS and then couldnt look me in the eye afterwards as he knew that at least for actually *building* my business, the policies were unworkable but hey he met his quota/commission whatever right?

User avatar
Munly Leong
2 years ago
Remember: Be nice to each other. (terms of use)

Agreed! The true benefactors of the NEIS are the RTOs. Have you noticed how many have popped up lately?

Regarding the NEIS, there are too many hoops to jump through with comparatively little payoff. You can't jump-start a small local business if you are shoehorned into a corporate, large-business mentality of growth. The process needs a more frequent but smaller feedback loop.

We need to STOP feeding a monolithic system of slow processes and demotivating progress and begin nuturing ideas and inspiration in our young people.

User avatar
Jacob .
2 years ago
Remember: Be nice to each other. (terms of use)

Tell your friends!

Get the link to this page to IM,
Skype or post it

Back To Top