There’s no denying that start-up fever has gripped Blighty of late. So much so, it occurs, that tens of thousands of people have turned their back on claiming benefits in a bid for entrepreneurial success.
Thanks to the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA), a long-term government scheme introduced in April 2011 to back small businesses and help people back into work, 40,240 new businesses have been created throughout the UK. Offering expert mentoring and financial support to people who want to start their own business, the NEA has been hailed a rip-roaring success for those over 18 and on jobseeker’s allowance, employment sickness allowance or lone-parent income support.
Those on the scheme are eligible to develop their own business plan and, if approved, are provided financial support payable through a weekly allowance, over a 26-week period, of up to £1,274. Loans are also available through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Start Up Loan scheme.
Figures released this week revealed that those in the over-50s age group have launched 9,260 businesses, with 2,910 youngsters getting in on the action. 7,420 disabled people have also got themselves a slice of the pie thanks to the NEA. Businesses opened under the scheme range from vegan restaurants to bespoke wedding services and building firms.
Esther McVey, minister for employment said: “Small businesses are the heartbeat of the continuing success of the country, so it’s great that tens of thousands of budding entrepreneurs have been helped to make their dreams of becoming their own boss a reality.
“As the economy continues to grow this new enterprise generation may well go on to become the employers of the future, which is great for the individuals and their families, but it is also good news for the country as well.”
Let’s just hope those people on Benefit Street take note!