Case study

3 things Nicola did to go from jobless to her own boss

The government's New Enterprise Allowance helps you get your business idea off the ground if you're on benefits.

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Read up to date information about New Enterprise Allowance eligibility and how to apply.


After losing her job, Nicola was receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance and struggling to find work. Within 6 months of being made redundant, Nicola had started her own successful social media business, Pepamint. Nicola was able to do this with the help of New Enterprise Allowance. She was also a finalist for the Forward Ladies Young Woman in Business Award 2014. Nicola’s situation was like many people around the UK who want to get off benefits and find success in their careers.

Here are 3 things that Nicola did to turn her situation around and become a successful entrepreneur.

1. Take advantage of the support offered by the New Enterprise Allowance

A mentor will help you create a business plan and if your idea is approved you may get financial support.

2. Research the market

The more you understand the industry you want to be in, the better you’ll be able to develop your idea. Can you find a niche in the market?

3. Go to networking events

This will help you widen your circle of contacts and find out about potential opportunities. Contact your local Job Centre Plus to find out about networking events in your area.

What is the New Enterprise Allowance?

If you want to start your own business, New Enterprise Allowance offers a mentoring service and financial support.


You must be aged 18 or over, have a business idea and get one of the following benefits:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support as a lone parent
  • Employment and Support Allowance, if you’re in the work-related activity group

A Jobcentre Plus adviser can refer you to the scheme as soon as you get a qualifying benefit.

You don’t qualify if you’re part of the Work Programme, but you can still get help setting up a business elsewhere.

There’s more help available from the government

The New Enterprise Allowance is just one of many government schemes that offer support. Here are a few more examples of schemes you may be interested in.

Other useful services:

Published 10 November 2014