The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) is designed for people already on benefits who want the opportunity to start their own business.

More than 100,000 new businesses have been supported by the NEA, new statistics show. Launched in 2011, it’s an employment initiative to help jobseekers become their own boss.

Successful applicants to the scheme get access to their own business mentor, who provides them with guidance as they develop their business plan. They can also receive financial support for 6 months and apply for a loan of up to £25,000 to help with start-up costs.

The next phase of the NEA will commence on the 3 April 2017, and will continue to support people until at least March 2019.

Minster for Employment Damian Hinds said:

It’s fantastic that all across the country people are turning their dreams into reality and becoming their own boss.

Whether it’s a family-run toyshop, a graphic designer or an environment-friendly bike maker, the New Enterprise Allowance has supported thousands of businesses in their early days and given them the opportunity to flourish.

The figures show that of the individuals launching a business:

  • 69% were aged between 25 and 49, 24% were over the age of 50 and 7% were aged between 18 and 24
  • 39% were women
  • 21% have a self-declared disability
  • 13% were from a BME background

Swansea-based Matthew Senior turned to the NEA for support in getting his business idea off the ground (Gower Sailshade & Awnings Ltd) a company that supplies awnings and fabric structures for both homes and businesses. It’s been so successful that he has also employed 2 part-time assistants.

Commenting on starting his business, Matthew said:

What made all the difference was the business advice and extra income I was able to get from the NEA. It made me much more focused and it’s great having a mentor to call when I need advice.

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