Awards celebrate enterprising Aussies

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This story was first published on Wednesday 30 October 2019. If you wish to use this content, please contact to confirm that the information is still current.

Outstanding small businesses were celebrated at the recent 2019 NEIS Awards.

For over 30 years, New Business Assistance with NEIS has supported more than 175,000 Australians turn their business idea into reality. Award winners for 2019 were selected from over 40 nominations by members of the National NEIS Association.

Senator Hollie Hughes represented Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, in speaking at and presenting the awards.

Congratulations to all the nominees and award winners.

Best New Business award - Gina Wilks from Achieving Solutions, nominated by the Hunter Region Business Hub.

To be eligible for the Best New Business award, the business must have been in operation for less than two years.

Providing nursing, disability and home care services to help young people live life to their full capacity, Achieving Solutions has proven to be a huge success in an important area of need. Within months of starting her business, Gina had to build a team to keep up with demand for services and it has now grown to a team of 20.

The BizCover NEIS Change award - Maddie and Tom Ross from Beacon Dog Training, nominated by Sarina Russo.

To be eligible for this award, the business must be able to show that undertaking NEIS has turned the person’s life around.

For many, NEIS has the ability to change lives, which is recognised through the BizCover NEIS Change Award. This could not be truer for Maddie and Tom.

Maddie and Tom were forced to reassess their lives after Tom suffered a severe spinal injury resulting in paraplegia. Supported by a YouTube channel with over 13,000 subscribers, Beacon Dog Training is now the premier dog trainer on the Gold Coast. Maddie and Tom have worked tirelessly since their humble beginnings, with only one puppy in their first class in August 2017, to a business that now employs two staff and runs 19 classes every week for over 100 dogs.

The Tim Cremean Unsung Hero award - Tony Phillips from Box Hill Institute

This award recognises an employee of a NEIS provider who has gone above and beyond to support NEIS participants achieve their goals.

The NEIS program is delivered nationally by a network of 20 NEIS providers. NEIS trainers are recognised at the awards through the Tim Cremean Unsung Hero award. Tony Phillips is a big advocate for small business start-ups, and has assisted over 4,000 businesses during his time at Box Hill Institute.

Help available through NEIS

The NEIS program helps people move into self-employment by providing training and support for their business idea. NEIS provides:

  • accredited small business training
  • personalised mentoring and support in the first year to help the individual put their business idea into practice, and
  • NEIS Allowance for up to 39 weeks, and rental assistance up to 26 weeks (if eligible).

More information

From the newsroom

Correct at time of publication.