New business thrives through difficult times.

Picture of the counter at Mum's Café.

The confidence that Amanda Strother built through the NEIS program meant she was prepared to face the challenges of operating during COVID-19.

This story was first published on Monday 6 July 2020. If you wish to use this content, please contact to confirm that the information is still current.

Creative thinking and determination helped Amanda keep her business operating during COVID-19.

Amanda Strother’s new coffee and cheesecake business, Mum’s Café, had only been open a few months and had become very popular. Patrons were loving the 50s music served up along with delicious cheesecakes and coffee, before COVID-19 restrictions came in.

As people stopped visiting her café in the local shopping centre, sales dropped and after a few weeks Amanda made the difficult decision to close. Amanda knew she had a great business and needed to do something to keep it afloat.

New Business Assistance with NEIS helped Amanda to start her café and the program gave her the skills, training, and confidence she needed to rethink her business model, to cope with the challenge that COVID-19 posed.

New Business Assistance with NEIS is offered by the Australian Government to help people start their own business and make it a success, offering practical advice and training including accredited small business training, and personalised mentoring and support.

When the café closed, Amanda took everything from the café home, including the coffee machine, and transformed her business to offer home delivery.

She used social media to connect with her local community and promoted her most popular cheesecake flavours and coffee menu on her Facebook page.

The orders started flowing in and the home delivery was so popular, particularly her free delivery within 10 km of her home, to make sure the coffee was still hot. But she continued to deliver her cheesecakes once a week, to customers who lived further away.

Rather than limit her business, Amanda has been inspired by the opportunities that have presented themselves outside of a traditional café set up. She has loved the delivery side of the business and is now saving for a coffee van to reach even more customers.

“The whole NEIS program was absolutely amazing. I could not have achieved what I have without the support of my NEIS provider and the NEIS program,” Amanda said.

“I didn’t know how to write a business plan before, and now my business plan has helped me think about my business and also with securing business loans.”

Perhaps most fitting of all, NEIS celebrated its 35th birthday on 5 July. Since it started in 1985, it has helped more than 180,000 people to set up a business for themselves. Even more reason for cake!

More information

New Business Assistance with NEIS can help by providing:

  • accredited small business training
  • personalised mentoring and support from a NEIS provider in the first year of the new business to help the individual put their business idea into practice
  • NEIS Allowance for up to 39 weeks and NEIS Rental Assistance for up to 26 weeks (if eligible).

For more information visit the New Business Assistance with NEIS page.

From the Newsroom

Correct at time of publication.