Since 2017, 203 businesses have been launched by unemployed benefit claimants on average each week in the UK, figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) shows. The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme offers recipients of Universal Credit and other benefits a personal business mentor, weekly living allowance, and funding of up to £25,000 for their business idea. Figures released yesterday show a total of 209,000 benefit claimants have been supported since the scheme launched back in 2011.
As a result, 130,000 businesses have been set up as a result.
Older claimants and people living in the North West have particularly shown their entrepreneurial skills on the scheme.
Almost a quarter of all the businesses under the scheme were started by those aged over 50 (31,000), with nearly the same proportion created by disabled claimants (29,000).
When it comes to region, the North West came out top in terms of the number of business being launched – with nearly 20,000 businesses starting in this location since the scheme began.
Close behind, London and Yorkshire and Humberside saw 15,370 and 13,700 new businesses begin respectively.
Employment Minister, Mims Davies, said yesterday: “Starting a business is an exciting, challenging and potentially life-changing experience.
“Moving forward from being on benefits to having the power to become your own boss, it’s vital we do all we can to help fulfil the dreams of those with entrepreneurial ambitions and innovative ideas.
“The New Enterprise Allowance scheme is supporting people who want to make that journey regardless of their background or any disability they might have.
“Work Coaches stand ready to provide advice and support, across our network of over 600 Jobcentres – helping every claimant achieve their potential.
“Today’s figures show the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, and we are backing it.”
Who is able to apply for NEA?
NEA is available to people claiming certain benefits, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit.
Those on the scheme get a mentor to help them with their business plan, and once they start to trade, they have a mentor for the first year.
Cash support is available through the scheme for up to 26 weeks, with this being a weekly allowance of £65 for the first 13 week, and a subsequent £33 per week for the remaining 13 weeks.
Claimants may be able to access a start-up loan of up to £25,000.
The Gov.uk website says a person may be eligible if they’re over 18 and they or their partner get Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.
Alternatively, adults aged 18 or older who get Income Support and are a single parent, sick or disabled may be eligible.
How to get the New Enterprise Allowance
The government website instructs interested entrepreneurs to talk to their Jobcentre Plus work coach, who will check the business idea and help if the claimant is eligible.