October 19, 2012 - Rachel Miller

More help for start-ups as New Enterprise Allowance scheme is extended

David Cameron has announced an extension of the New Enterprise Allowance scheme, making it possible for 33,000 extra jobseekers to get help setting up their own business.

The New Enterprise Allowance scheme — which provides coaching and finance — is to be made far quicker and easier to access for those that are out of work. Would-be entrepreneurs will get instant access to support and the chance to apply for start-up money as soon as they claim JobSeekers Allowance, ending the previous six-month-long wait.

The newly-expanded scheme will allow 70,000 people to get help from a mentor. This follows a strong uptake in the first year that has seen more than 8,000 businesses set up by jobseekers across the country. Jobcentre advisers have reported that the scheme is extremely popular.

Now people will be able to start working with a business mentor from their first day on JobSeekers Allowance (JSA), instead of having to wait for three months, and those who produce a viable business plan will be able to get funding straight away. Currently jobseekers must wait six months for the financial support, which is worth more than £1,000, to help with start-up costs.

David Cameron said: “I am determined to get behind people who have ideas that will work and a can-do attitude that will turn those ideas into successful enterprises.”

Employment minister, Mark Hoban, said: “We have already seen huge successes with more than 8,000 businesses up and running since we launched New Enterprise Allowance. I want more people to get advice on becoming self-employed, and for them to get that advice sooner.”

Commenting on the announcement, John Walker, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “It is great news that the Government has scrapped the six month wait so that unemployed people with a sound business idea can take advantage of this funding.”