Self-employment start up payment

If you're starting a business and need help with essential start up costs, eg furniture or the first lot of stock, we may be able to help.


If you don't have a business plan, we can talk with you about how to create one. We need to make sure that your business is viable before we can approve the payment.

  • Who can get it

    You may be able to get a Self-employment start up payment if you’re:

    • out of work, and
    • aged 18 or older and not qualified to receive NZ Super, and
    • disadvantaged in the local labour market, and
    • at risk of likelihood of long-term benefit dependency (this usually means you are getting a benefit or you qualify for one), and
    • able to meet the residency criteria.

    To meet the residency criteria you need to be ordinarily resident in New Zealand and either:

    • a New Zealand citizen
    • a resident with a residence class visa
    • recognised as a refugee or protected person, or
    • have a temporary visa that allows you to work in New Zealand and either:
      • have applied to be recognised as a refugee or protected person and are waiting on the outcome, or
      • have applied for a residence class visa and are compelled to stay in New Zealand because of unforeseen circumstances.

    Disadvantaged in the labour market means you have, or are expected to have, difficulty in getting or keeping a job. For example, you might have barriers to employment such as lack of education and training.

    You also need to:

    • be starting a new business and
    • have essential start-up costs that you need help with.

    Who can't get it

    You can't get the Self-employment start up payment if:

    • you're currently bankrupt
    • you're re-starting a business you've owned before.
  • What you can get

    How much you get depends on your situation.

    We can pay for things like:

    • equipment required for the business
    • initial start-up stock for the business
    • materials required to produce goods for the business
    • renovation of premises to facilitate start of business or
    • one-off start-up costs, eg:
      • connection fees, such as power, phone or internet
      • first month's lease and bond
      • legal costs associated with establishing the business
      • insurance
      • start-up costs for advertising/marketing
      • printing business cards or flyers
    • setting up a basic website.
  • How to apply

    You need to call us on 0800 559 009


    • ask you about your business
    • talk with you about:
      • your business plan, if you already have one
      • how to create a business plan, if you don't already have one
      • a Business Training and Advice Grant and how this may be able to help.

    You'll need to send your business plan to us and we'll send it away to be independently assessed to make sure it's viable.

  • What happens next

    If your business plan is viable, we can approve the payment.