Press release

New year – new start up support for disabled entrepreneurs

Budding disabled entrepreneurs will get extra support to start up their own business in 2013.

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

Budding disabled entrepreneurs will get extra support to start up their own business in 2013, Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey announced today.

Across the country, they will get support through Access to Work to pay for specialised equipment, support workers and travel costs when setting up their business.

The measure aims to further boost the number of disabled people who are self-employed, which is half a million people or 15 per cent of disabled people in work.

Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey said:

If 2013 is the year aspiring disabled people want to set up a business - then Access to Work can help.

We’ve opened up our flagship programme so that disabled people have the same choice to start up their own business as everyone else - in every sector, from hairdressing to engineering and everything in between.

Through this scheme I am determined to get more disabled people into mainstream jobs - the same as everyone else.

From 14 January, disabled people can get support through Access to Work when setting up their own business if they are enrolled on the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA).  The NEA provides expert coaching and financial support for jobseekers with a business idea.

Last year Access to Work helped over 30,000 disabled people keep or get jobs, with around 4,500 working in small businesses.

Research also shows that around half (45 per cent) of Access to Work customers would be out of work if they did not receive support through the scheme.

Half a million disabled people are self-employed, making up 15 per cent of all employed disabled people.  This compares with 13 per cent, or 3.2m, of non-disabled people in self-employment.

Anyone interested in applying for this support, can search ‘Access to Work’ at to find out details of our contact centres.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Strong take up of the NEA scheme in its first year has seen more than 8,000 businesses set up by jobseekers across the country, including a mobile dog grooming business, a fine chocolate company and a tapas restaurant.
  2. Access to Work is a disability employment programme delivered by Jobcentre Plus.
  3. The scheme is considered very cost effective - the Sayce Review described a net return to the Treasury of £1.48 for every £1.00 spent on the programme.
  4. It is different from most other DWP programmes in that it supports disabled people who are in work or about to start work to stay in work by funding either partially or fully the cost of necessary workplace adjustments that are above what the Equality Act would define as reasonable for an employer to pay.
  5. The programme provides grants direct to individual disabled people to reimburse them for approved costs, and is very flexible in order to meet individual needs.
  6. To be eligible for the programme a person must: * have a  disability or health condition that stops them from being able to do parts of the job * have work-related costs because of the disability or health condition * Be 16 or over; and * in a paid job; or * unemployed and about to start a job; or * unemployed and about to start a Jobcentre Plus Work Trial; or * self-employed.
  7. Types of support that can be provided under the programme include: * Special Aids and Equipment * Support Workers * Travel to Work * Travel in Work * Communicator Support at Interview

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Published 14 January 2013