Testimonial in favour of Box Hill Business Enterprise Centre – NEIS Program

What I liked best about the Box Hill NEIS program was that I was forced to do a lot of planning, which is critical to success. I wouldn’t have done the work, otherwise. I also liked having other people there to help me through it.

Prior to being accepted into the NEIS program, I was concerned. There seemed to be a lot of obligations and I thought it would be very hard to get into the program. I also thought that it would be hard to do the course and, in the end, hard to get my plan approved, as I had never written a business plan before. I felt overwhelmed.

In the program, I worked through the business planning process, step-by-step. There were people there to help me and there was also the support of my fellow classmates. In the end, I found it was all relatively easy.

I have got a number of benefits out of doing the Box Hill NEIS program. First, I could not have opened my business without the financial support that is a part of the program. Second, was the benefit of developing my business idea through the Cert. IV training course. My plan really progressed during those 6 weeks. I have also found, while trying to secure a business loan, that there are so many things I have to do that I did not know about previously. It has been really helpful that I can ring up the Box Hill NEIS people and have all my random questions answered.

I would definitely recommend the Box Hill program and I have, for all the above reasons.

I would also say that I went to three NEIS Open Days put on by different providers. The others appeared to be just going through the motions on the day but the Box Hill people were friendly, enthusiastic and excited about what they were doing. They told me about the successes of similar businesses. They really wanted to help me and see me do well.


Anikee Mallis
The Radical Grocery Store



Testimonial in favour of Box Hill Business Enterprise Centre – NEIS Program

What I liked most about the NEIS program were the teachers. They would say things that I thought at the time ’Yeah, right!’ But, down the track, they have shown to be right. They had the experience.

Before I started in the NEIS program, I thought it was just a ‘get off the dole’ scheme and it was going to be a big waste of 6 weeks. I thought it would be a case of rock up - whether you do or don’t doesn’t really matter - sign off and that’s that. On the first day, there was this hippy kind of teacher who was on about your dreams and stuff and I thought ‘What have I got myself into - Woodstock?’

Having done the course, I have had a huge change in my thinking. I go down to Box Hill Business Enterprise Centre every 2-3 weeks. The help’s been great. I had one customer who wouldn’t pay. I was going to knock on his door but I was given some good advice about how to handle it better. To me, the support after the course is more important than the course itself. They really want you to succeed.

Confidence in my business is one of the biggest things I have got out of the Box Hill program. I knew I could do the job itself but the general running of the business I was not confident about. As a result my business has grown. It is an actual, solid business. I have had an offer to buy me out, so I must be making a dint. The other big plus I have got out of it is freedom.

I have already recommended the Box Hill NEIS program to a few guys at the local footy club and others. I told them ‘You need it. You need something behind you”. It is too hard without it. I would have struggled with the paperwork, found the research side especially hard and I would not have thought of half of what I was told.

If you have someone tell you to set up business for yourself and they will give you business, don’t believe a word they say. If you are serious about your own business and you do not do the NEIS program, then you need to do another business course.


Geordie Scott 
Not Just Windscreens



Testimonial in favour of Box Hill Business Enterprise Centre – NEIS Program

What I liked about the Box Hill NEIS program was the support. There was a lot of support, through the mentoring and the trainers, and it was not purely academic but practical.

I had only heard about the program through Centrelink. I wasn’t expecting much, as it seemed to be a government thing. My previous experience was with another government program that taught me to cut up meat and wash my hands when I have never worked with food in my life!

The Box Hill NEIS program turned out to be really great. It was very thorough, with great training and mentoring. The program was effective and practical.

What I got most from the program were the Box Hill Business Enterprise Centre Network Nights that followed on after the course. The relationships I built through these network events and those involved in running the program, gave me people I could call on for help. The support continues, years after I finished the supported program, through the AusIndustry assistance that has allowed me to be eligible for free consultations with accountants, when needed.

I would definitely recommend Box Hill’s NEIS program to anyone who has a business idea or a trade skill - anyone who has a job, really. Start your own business! I highly recommend it. The way they run the program is amazing – so professional. I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else.


Jonathon Sciola
Jonno's Car Wash



Testimonial in favour of Box Hill Business Enterprise Centre – NEIS Program

Apart from the support from the professional, highly trained staff, what I particularly liked about the Box Hill NEIS program was the fact that we were asked to put together a business plan and it had to be done within a 6 week timeframe. It forced us to get it done.

I had a friend who had gone through the program before and so I knew a bit about it but I was impressed by how much it covered. Getting my head around time frames – doing sales forecasting for two years ahead, when I could normally think only about a month in advance, was a great achievement, as well as mastering other financials. I was not confident and never comfortable with being up front with money and financials and as a result I was often the last to be paid and I did not like asking for  money. I learned that I was worth the money I was asking and learned to be completely up front about my finances. The NEIS course taught me that.

Getting a business plan was the biggest benefit for me. I wrote my goals down and I then owed it to myself to meet them. I refer back to the plan still and it gives me a wonderful sense of achievement. Other major benefits have been learning to do sales forecasting and budgeting, and understanding the legal requirements of running a business.

I have nothing negative to say about the program or its structure. I got what I wanted and I continue to recommend it to others. If your business is not viable, you need to find that out now rather than later and this is what the program makes you work through. You can be skilled at something but not have the business skills to run the business well. I had an Advanced Diploma of Business (Public Relations) but you just need to do this NEIS program to learn the practical skills of running a business.

On the very first day, we had a business coach come in and we learned to do our ‘elevator’ speech and deliver it in front of the class. He also gave us an exercise where he got us to look 12 months ahead and write down three things we wanted to have achieved. We then had to look three months earlier and write down what we needed to have achieved by then, and so on to the present time.


Lauren Vercoe 
Spiral PR and Kozen Coaching



Testimonial in favour of Box Hill Business Enterprise Centre – NEIS Program

I liked the fact about the Box Hill NEIS program that it has enabled me to see things in reality about running the business and behind the scenes bits and pieces. I learned all the basics from the running of the business side. All the teachers and mentors were extremely friendly, most helpful and encouraging. The facilities were top notch. Everything was well planned and organised. There was no trouble at all and my overall experience was very good.

My main concern to start with was that I would not be accepted into the program. For me, it was the right time, the right decision and the right move, and I was extremely happy that I got accepted. From Day 1, I felt extremely comfortable. It was a hard but pleasurable experience and help was always at hand. The more I became involved, the more I liked it.

What I got most out of the Box Hill NEIS program was learning all the business basics but, as I didn’t know how to start, I also gained a lot from the behind the scenes details, all the fine letters. Of course, the financial help was really important.

I would absolutely recommend the Box Hill NEIS program - 100% - no doubt about it, as long as someone has an idea that can be turned into a business. When I think back, there are good memories and good feelings about the whole experience.


Piero Tabbakh

Images for Life Video Productions



Testimonial in favour of Box Hill Business Enterprise Centre – NEIS Program

The Box Hill NEIS program helped me to set up the business. I learned a lot about how to do the marketing and narrow down more what my business would do. This I liked about the program, as I just wanted to do the business but did not know much about how to do it.

Before I started the Box Hill NEIS program, I was concerned that I was not good at English. I can speak OK but writing is not so good. But people were very helpful and not concerned about the English. We learned, step by step, thinking about what we have to do and putting it together bit by bit to see the whole picture. We looked at procedures, the right target and right way to do this and that.

What I got out of it was that I was more confident to narrow down what the business would do and how to do it. A bit of money was involved to set up the restaurant and the NEIS allowance really helped a lot to keep me going. Getting to know a lot of people was really important too, with Box Hill’s Network Nights, my mentor and having others at Box Hill NEIS to ring for advice.

I will recommend the program for anyone who wants to set up the business. NEIS will help you a lot and give you advice and you can build networks to do the business.


Surapon Chaochalakorn  
Ratee Thai



Testimonial in favour of Box Hill Institute – Student Projects and Practical Placements

I liked best about student placement in my bridal couture shop was she changed the shop image to a wedding shop. It looked good before but this was so much better.

I did not have concerns before she started because she came and saw me with the teacher and we talked. I have had a student project before and that was very good for me.

I really appreciated what they have done for me. I feel more confidence - 100% much more. I no longer worry about needing to have low prices. I have now doubled my prices. I am happy and business is getting better.

The biggest benefits from having the student project were she cleared the mess and reorganised everything and gave it a brand new idea. She came from New York and had been around the world, so she had an older head. She changed the image of the shop. You can now see everything open, not closed like before, and now you can see all my capabilities. The change has let me see and have much confidence.

I recommend such student projects and I will. I am so happy. I don’t know how to say thanks.


Tina Bowman (Tram Tran)
Tina Reverie (incorporating Hawthorn Lace)




Case Study

Sometimes starting a business is not the answer

The problem

A man came to us looking to start a business. He had a background in accounting and finance in management positions but had suffered a heart attack ten years ago and did not want a job that would be full time and put him under too much stress. He had little money and had been separated from his family.

The solution

The Advisor, having listened and asked a lot of questions, recommended that starting a small business from a standing start in his field would not be good for his long term health. Considering the client’s background, needs and objectives, it was suggested that he consider teaching on a casual basis in the vocational education field. The client gained the necessary teaching qualification and the Advisor assisted in making his resume more powerful. Using his contacts, the Advisor helped him through the difficult and long process of trying to find work.

The Outcome

The client was offered a 3 week contract to teach some business subjects, in English, in China. This contract was unusual in that people sent overseas by this organisation are required to have teaching experience. As a result of his performance, the client will be offered more overseas work and the likelihood of being promoted for local work as well.




Case study

The problem

The partner of a sole trader in a niche, manufacturing business met with one of our Box Hill small business advisors in a state of stress, frustration and anger. There were financial tensions and family tensions that arose out of the way the business was operating. The problems the client presented were not necessarily the real issues but they included: Increasing sales orders to increase cash flow, fixing the website to support sales, planning and analysing cash flow, clarifying future direction and developing a business plan.

The Solution

The first session required a lot of active listening and open questions to help deal with the frustration and anger and identify the underlying issues. Personal and business needs had to be reconciled and there was an active generation of ideas and an exploration of options with the aims of: Establishing a planned approach to dealing with underlying issues in a prioritised way without becoming more overwhelmed, building cash flow and improving operational support. This was followed by a site visit and an interview with the business owner. As a result, the Advisor provided information to help the business owners make better decisions, as well as a written report of recommended actions and priorities.

The Outcome

Later, the client reported that these sessions had significantly helped in establishing business priorities. Action on website improvement had been taken, based on information supplied, and a telephone prospecting approach had been developed to secure new business, based on suggestions made by the Advisor. They had made a decision about where the business would head in the future and, as a result of discussions with the business owner, he changed some of his beliefs about running the business and this had greatly eased family tensions.




What we really liked about our meeting with our Box Hill business advisor was the sharing of information and clarifying of our direction. He brought an objective stance – someone from outside, someone with knowledge, sitting with us and providing feedback. We found it very helpful. The customer psychology he took us through and applied to our business was enormously helpful.

We have had two other mentors before, through another organisation. They were retired people who had been high up in corporations and did not have so much knowledge about small business. I found their concepts a bit difficult to understand. We are not running a large company; we do not have an accountant, a bookkeeper, marketing people, staff. We have also gone to a lot of small business seminars, etc and we found that some are too airy fairy. When we booked to see a Box Hill small business advisor, there was nothing outlined about the process involved. However, we went with open minds. Being a new business, we were a bit like a sponge and, I guess, had an expectation that we would leave with something.

We got more out of meeting the Box Hill advisor in the first session than all the times with the other two mentors. We felt so comfortable with him, as he related to us as a small business. It was brilliant. The sessions we have had have been very, very valuable and we wanted to know if it would be all right to continue to come and see him.

The biggest benefits we have got from our sessions with our advisor are firstly direction. We were really floundering before but now we have a clear, concrete direction. We got a reality check and really good information for a small business. We found out about the traps. We gained more insight into our business, which allowed us to consolidate where we are going and where our target market really was. That is where we were heading in the wrong direction.

We were at the point of saying ‘What’s the point of this? Why keep going?’ We could have folded up. We really needed someone who would give us positive feedback and say ‘you are doing OK but let’s just tweak it a bit’. We wanted someone who would walk along with us but who also made sense.  Our advisor made us really look at ourselves and he spoke to us from a small business perspective. That was of great benefit.  It reaffirmed that we are offering a good service and we have a business with prospects. We just needed to redefine some things and look at options - if you don’t do it this way, you can do it another way.

I would recommend the Box Hill BEC absolutely, without a doubt - 100% and 110%. The service was magnificent. To me, it was like being thrown a life buoy.

I have to say that the customer psychology approach he took us through will stay with us for always.

I would like to continue to meet with our Box Hill advisor. Having consistent contact is really important.


Robyn Smith




Tel (03) 8892 2002