As a top graduate of Billy Blue College of Design, Northmead's Summer Smith has put her Bachelor's Degree in Communication/Graphic Design to use for the past six years, focusing on print design and fashion/textile graphics.
"Recently, I was employed as the Senior Graphic Designer for an apparel company where I spent the last few years developing textiles and garments for a range of major Australian retailers. From this design experience in the apparel industry, I now have a solid understanding of all things textile and apparel design."
With a newfound desire to experience the freedom and flexibility of "being a sole trader in business for myself," Smith looked into possible financing options online. After connecting with the Australia Business Financing Centre, she soon realized her business venture might indeed qualify for the government-funded New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) Program.
As one of the Australian government’s longest running employment programs, NEIS can provide a person with "accredited small business training, business advice and mentoring, as well as ongoing income support for up to 52 weeks."
After being accepted into the program, Smith was expected to obtain her Certificate IV in Small Business Management. This required class work twice a week for 8 weeks, and a fully developed business plan by course's end: "It was pretty intense. We had to do a lot in a short amount of time, because that course actually is a uni course that they would deliver over six months, and we were doing it in 8 weeks."
"I was starting the plan from scratch because I wasn't clear about what exactly I wanted to do. If I wanted to do graphic design as a whole, freelance, or if I wanted to maybe take myself into some sort of clothing business or label, or something like that. Once we started doing the plan and I looked at all the elements, it became very clear to me that my best plan of action was to just do graphic design, as a whole."
Having successfully completed the course, she'll now receive a fortnightly allowance (of approximately $500) for the next year, which "helps me not worry about working or getting a part-time job to try and support myself and my business. I can just rely on that NEIS support, so that I can focus on my business."
As a NEIS participant, Smith will also receive business mentoring a number of times throughout the first year of operation. As a key component of the program, these face-to-face meetings are intended to help maximise the potential success of one's business, offering advice about organisational, financial, and marketing issues.
With some of the pressures and financial burden now alleviated by her NEIS allowance, Smith is excited to see exactly how Summer Dawn Designs "rolls out." Her advice to other aspiring small business owners looking to make a splash in their industry is to "get advice from someone who knows about funding, loans, and investments, just as you would get advice from a lawyer or accountant. It is invaluable to you and your business."
Would you like to get funding to develop your business idea? There's money available now for qualified existing and start-up businesses. Phone toll-free 1800 813 863.
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