Face for Business is a UK business telephone answering service based in the North West of England. As advocates for start-ups and entrepreneurs we were pleased to come across a scheme run by the government which aims to help people on benefits start their own business.
Interested in starting your own business?
The scheme is called the ‘New Enterprise Allowance’ and has been in operation since April 2011. If you are interested in starting your own business, your first port of call should be your local Jobcentre Plus, where an assessment will be undertaken and if eligible, a referral made. The current deadline for referrals is March 2016. Click here for more information on the governments website.
The scheme offers support in a couple of ways. There is financial support in the form of a weekly capped allowance (a total of £1274 over 26 weeks) or the option of applying for a loan to help with start-up costs (£2,500). There is also support in the form of mentors who can help you develop your business idea and help you write a business plan. This support is ongoing into the early months of trading.
Once a specialist has reviewed the business idea, they will sign you up to the scheme and assign you a business mentor. Financial support will then be offered if your business plan is approved and if you start working at your business for 16 hours or more each week.
Are you on benefits?
If you’re on benefits and are interested and keen to start your own business, your Jobcentre Plus adviser will talk you through the next steps. The New Enterprise Allowance scheme seems to be taking off. In a recent news story by the Rye and Battle Observer, local MP, Amber Rudd, reports that 70 people in Rye and Hastings have already been helped off benefits under the scheme.
The latest statistics show that as of March 2014, 93,880 start-ups have been made where people have been working with a business mentor. Of those people, 46,000 are receiving the weekly allowance. The figures also show that the North West comes second to London in the new starts on the scheme – showing a real entrepreneurial spirit in the North West. (See attached report for more information and statistics tables).
In a recent article posted in the Liverpool Echo, it is reported that over 2,000 people (of which are previous benefit claimants) from Merseyside have signed up and been referred for the New Enterprise Allowance.