Press release

Budding entrepreneurs helped off benefits

Around 2,000 businesses a month have been set up over the past year by people who have moved from claiming benefits to being their own boss.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


So far 46,000 businesses have been set up through the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) ranging from a college for children with learning difficulties and a vintage clothes shop, through to a drama school and gas engineering firm.

As part of the government’s plan to back enterprise and small businesses, the NEA offers expert mentoring and financial support to people on Jobseeker’s Allowance, lone parents and people on sickness benefits who want to start up their own business.

Minister for Employment Esther McVey said:

The continuing success of Great Britain is built on the hard work and ingenuity of small businesses up and down the country, so it’s great that as part of the government’s long-term economic plan we’ve been able to mentor tens of thousands of budding entrepreneurs to help make their dreams of becoming their own boss a reality.

As the economy continues to grow this new generation of entrepreneurs may well go on to create the jobs of tomorrow, helping even more people to get off benefits and build a career.

Today’s (17 June 2014) figures also show that the scheme helps people of all ages, with 10,610 businesses started by people aged 50 and over, and 3,370 businesses started by young people. 8,590 businesses were set up by disabled people thanks to the NEA.

The NEA is available to people over 18 who are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, lone parents on Income Support, or people on Employment and Support Allowance in the work-related activity group.

People on the scheme get expert help and advice from a business mentor who will help them to develop their business idea and write a business plan. If the business plan is approved, they are eligible for financial support payable through a weekly allowance over 26 weeks up to a total of £1,274. Participants can also access a loan through the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills start-up loan scheme.

Mentors also continue to give the budding entrepreneurs on-going support during the early months of trading.

Case studies

Mike Covell, 35, from Hull

Mike used his knowledge of true crimes in Yorkshire to launch a tour company. The ‘Amazing Hull Tours’ started last year with help from the NEA, and recounts the gruesome and darker side of the city’s history, including Jack the Ripper. He’s now secured film and reviewer roles and as a result of building his reputation, will be starring alongside Hollywood stars Mischa Barton and Jack O’Halloran in an historical film.

Hayley Thomas, 29, from Haverfordwest

West Wales entrepreneur Hayley turned her redundancy into an opportunity by following her dream to set up Lion’s Den – a children’s play centre, which gives parents the chance for a few hours to themselves on their Pembrokeshire holidays. So successful has her venture been, that she has branched out to open an on-site café and pre-school nursery and now employs 17 members of staff.

Adrian Martin, 65, from London

After being made redundant from his job as a transport manager for a logistics company, Adrian Martin identified a gap in the market. With bus and lorry drivers now having to comply with the new Driver Certificate of Professional Competence, Adrian approached NEA for help in setting up a training business. Drivers must now have a thorough understanding of European Regulated driving hours and regulations, how to secure loads safely and keep within weight regulations. Adrian is now generating lucrative contracts and expanding his business.

More information

Read the full breakdown of NEA statistics (April 2011 to March 2014)

Contact Press Office

Media enquiries for this press relaese – 0203 267 25161

Press Office

Caxton House
Tothill Street


Follow DWP on:

Published 17 June 2014