From Newstart to upstart

New Enterprise Incentive Scheme helps Bev launch business

Latest in Finance
REAP WHAT YOU SEW: Bev Sanders has launched her own sewing business.

REAP WHAT YOU SEW: Bev Sanders has launched her own sewing business.


Bev Sanders went from unemployed to the proud owner of her own small sewing business.


A little less than three years ago, Bev Sanders was unemployed, claiming Newstart and had no idea her future would look sew bright.

The 58 year-old Elizabeth Downs resident has since launched an exciting new phase of her life after starting her own sewing business- Handmade Haven.

The former stay at home Mum, turned Spotlight employee said she was struggling financially after leaving her job when she decided to advertise and try to sell a nappy bag she had made.

She originally thought her sewing may provide a small stream of income, but the response to her post was so strong, she started thinking bigger.

So she signed up for the federal government’s year long New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) for Newstart recipients in December 2016.

Around a year ago, she connected with LaunchME- a mentorship program for new business owners which is run by Good Shepherd Microfinance, with the support of the state government.

In addition to nappy bags, she has branched out into other items such as bibs, handbags and thermo mix covers and also takes special requests for custom items.

Bev said she was thrilled with the unexpected stream of revenue, which had allowed her to help her daughters out with a little bit of extra money when they have needed it.

“My girls grew up with a single mum in a really tight income house, it’s so nice to be able to help them out and spoil my grandkids,” she said.

She said she was thrilled to be living the dream of converting a lifelong hobby into a much needed new source of income.

“When my kids were little, I used to make all their clothes,’ she said.

“I’ve always sewn. I just find it relaxing.”

She said the NEIS had allowed her to develop the business over the first year while still claiming Newstart, while LaunchME was providing invaluable advice on potential ways to grow the brand. 

She said the latter program had connected her with marketing and social media advisers and had also advised her to consider approaching wholesalers- which she hopes to do in around another year’s time.

She is also considering re-naming her business based on a memorable family nickname.

“Some of my grandchildren call me Spiky Nanna because I wear my hair in spikes,” she explained.

Bev is one of 20 up and coming Small business owners across the state who are taking part in the LaunchME program

Check out her Facebook page here

For more info on the NEIS click here. For more info on the LaunchME program, click here.