Sharing Knowledge Blog Series #1: Essential Skills for Starting Your Business (And How to Get Them!)

We’re excited to announce the launch of an exciting new blog series, in conjunction with Navitas Skilled Futures, to support refugees and migrants to develop the essential skills you need when starting your own business.

Learning to communicate in English and understand important digital skills to complete everyday tasks is essential when you want to start your own business. This series is designed to help you understand the skills and tools available to assist you on this journey.

Sometimes it might feel hard to know where to start to learn these things. Luckily, there is free support available to develop these skills, via the government-funded Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). Over 200 visa types are eligible for the AMEP, and the program is offered all over Australia. Navitas Skilled Futures offers the AMEP at 10 colleges in Sydney and Canberra. If you have young children, you’ll also be able to get free childcare for your kids while you study.

Improving your English and digital skills is especially important when starting your own business. Here’s the some of the ways that learning these things can help you on your journey:

  1. Learning English will help you to understand information and online guides for starting a business.

Finding information in a new country, and a new language, is not easy. But there is a lot of help available to get you started. 

Websites like this guide from the Australian Government can give you step by step instructions to begin, while websites like this one from the Australian Tax Office can give you guidance around how to get your Australian Business Number (ABN) and pay tax. There are even some webinars available in multiple languages here. There are many online videos on websites like YouTube that can also help.

But to fully understand all the help that is available to you online, you may need a higher level of English to help you read, listen and understand the information. This is where a program like the free AMEP can help you.

2) Learning English can help you to network, to find customers and investors.

When thinking of starting a new business, it’s important to start building a network, or a group of people who will either buy your product or help you to start your business. You can do this at community or council events, online through social media, or simply through friends of friends. Here’s a great guide to networking and how it can benefit you when starting out.

To network well however, you must have skills to communicate in English, both spoken and written.

The AMEP program can help you to learn business-related words and phrasing and help you to feel more confident in talking to your business network. When you enrol in the AMEP Pre-employment English stream, you’ll learn the right words to use, and how to use them.

If you already know what industry you want to start your business in and need to build your network in that industry, you may choose to enrol in an AMEP Pathways to Work course. These courses are industry-specific and can help you to understand words and phrases that relate to the specific industry that you’re interested in starting your business in. The growing industries that are included in Pathways to Work include beauty, aged care, and administration. For example, if you wish to start working as a beautician in your own business, you can learn about things like hygiene and safety standards, and the specific laws that you must follow if you start your own salon, when enrolled in the Pathways to Work – Beauty course.

3) Learning English can help you to promote your business 

When starting your business, you need to think about how you will promote your business to find customers – and for your customers to find you! To do this, you’ll need to create a website and run your social media pages with information about your products that makes your customers interested in buying or booking a service – all of these things will need to have a higher level of English skills. Here’s a short guide to help you start to think about how to promote your business.

Being able to write well in English will help you to explain your product on your website and create engaging content for your social media pages. For example, if you start a café, you’ll need to be able to write your menu, and write about the kinds of foods that you cook on your website, plus you’ll need to be able to write commentary on your Instagram page that sits next to the nice pictures of your cooking! Here’s a great guide about promoting your small business on social media.

Creating all these things requires a level of written English and digital skills that can feel overwhelming at first but can be learned with proper tuition. The AMEP can help you to improve your English skills, so that your business can grow.

4) Learning digital skills supports all the above: researching, networking and promoting your new business.

In today’s world, every single successful business is going to need to operate in a digital economy. What does that mean? That means that for your business to grow you’ll need to feel comfortable using digital tools to research, network and promote your business.

From the very start, when you have an idea, you’ll need to be able to learn how to research online, and how to work out what information is correct – and what is not. This includes learning to understand how to use search engines correctly, and where to find “official” information in Australia.  

Once you are in the “networking” phase of your business, you’ll need to understand how to use social media and business websites, as well as join – or host – online webinars. Then, when you move into the promotion phase of your business, you’ll need to build a website, and run your social media pages. You may even need to understand how to use new software, for example accounting software like Xero.

Within a program like the AMEP, you’ll learn what is called “digital literacy”. Just like driving a car, learning digital literacy skills will give you the strong foundations you need to understand how to use today’s digital platforms, and set you up to continue to learn new skills as your business needs them. The AMEP has options to help you get started, including specialist Computer Skills courses, plus digital learning is included in every single course, including all Pathways to Work courses.

Start Here.

Learning English and digital skills is essential when you are wanting to start your own business – beginning from before you begin, in the research phase, right through to when you have already launched, and are wanting to grow. 

Starting a business is an exciting journey, and it can feel overwhelming, but your English study is one thing that you can easily start and continue to improve – all for free.

Here’s a short list of some of the current English and digital courses, as part of the AMEP, that are currently available at Navitas Skilled Futures – all for free. 

  • Adult Migrant English Program: Social stream
  • Adult Migrant English Program: Pre-Employment Stream
  • Pathways to Work: Beauty
  • Pathways to Work: Childcare
  • Pathways to Work: Customer Service & Retail
  • Pathways to Work: Aged Care & Home Care
  • AMEP Short Course: Computer Skills
  • AMEP Short Course: Digital Skills for Life & Work

Where to begin? If you are in Sydney or Canberra, contact Navitas Skilled Futures to find out if you are eligible for the free, government-funded AMEP. If you’re in a different area, you can find your local provider here.

Access more information about the above programs at NSF at the following links:

Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) | Free English Classes (

Pathways to Work (PtW, SLPET) | Gain Work Skills (

We’re here to help you to build a better future and reach your goals of starting a business. Contact NSF on 1300 798 111, email or visit click here to find out more or enrol.

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