Press release

Wales sees more benefit claimants become their own boss

More than 4,000 new business started with support of the New Enterprise Allowance


More than 4,000 new businesses have been started by jobless benefit claimants in Wales according to new official statistics released today by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The figures reveal that in Wales a total of 4,070 new businesses have been created using the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) since it was introduced in April 2011, contributing to a British total of more than 73,000 new start-ups created through the scheme.

In Wales the top five local authorities for start-ups being created (up to June 2015) are:

  1. Cardiff 540
  2. Swansea 410
  3. Carmarthenshire 350
  4. Pembrokeshire 290
  5. Caerphilly 270

The NEA provides benefit claimants who have a solid business idea with financial support and a business mentor.

Employment Minister, Priti Patel, said:

We want everyone in all parts of the UK to benefit from the opportunities being created by our growing economy. We are supporting people, regardless of their background or where they are from, who want to work hard and get on.

This scheme helps claimants with a good business idea to become their own boss so they can support themselves and their families, and turn their lives around.

The UK is rated as the best place in Europe and one of the best places in the world to start a business, however the Government wants to see more people from disadvantaged communities have the opportunity to turn their dream of being a boss into a reality.

The Government has launched a DWP-led review, carried out by leading entrepreneur and business woman, Michelle Mone OBE, into how to support more people from these areas to set up their own business.

Disadvantaged communities may include areas where there is a higher level of unemployment, entrenched worklessness, or lower levels of education.

Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb said:

Everyone who sets their sights and ambitions high has the support of this government, every step of the way.

The New Enterprise Allowance is helping thousands of people in Wales choose to end a life on benefits, start their own business and be part of a new enterprise generation.

These are the employers of the future - the ones that will transform our economy, create more jobs and build a prosperous future for Wales.

The NEA helps jobseekers, lone parents and people on sickness benefits with a good idea to set up their own business. 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.

Case studies

Rudi Thomas

Prestatyn based businessman Rudi Thomas was supported by the NEA after he faced an uncertain future due to a long term arm injury which meant he could no longer continue his job as a lorry driver. With help from the scheme he decided to become self employed and has set up a very successful beach front café called “Crofter’s Pantry” on the North Wales Coast. Rudi is now earning a decent living through his business venture and is also employing students in the café on an on-going basis.

The NEA has supported Rudi through the start up process and his mentors have given him invaluable accountancy and business advice.

Rudi said:

I am really pleased so far in terms of the profit I have made and the customer satisfaction. In general I would highly recommend the New Enterprise Allowance as it is a great way of supporting you in the early stages of the business.

Meurig Davies

Another entrepreneur helped by the NEA is former Ceredigion Parks and Gardens employee Meurig Davies. Meurig has gone from cutting grass to selling treasures from the past with help from the scheme. The father of three had tended Ceredigion’s parks and gardens for four years before he was made redundant in 2014, but with help from the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA), Meurig opened Harbourside Antiques and Collectibles.

He said:

I have been really interested in antiques for about 20 years and have a lot of knowledge. There are no antiques shops round here so when a commercial property became available near my home, I looked in to opening one up.

It’s been enormously helpful. I was nervous and excited when we opened on April 1. We have had a steady stream of visitors but while we’ve been waiting for the tourist season to start I’ve had to put every penny that goes in the till into paying bills and buying stock. The NEA grant has made sure I can get by.

It feels brilliant to be my own boss and to be doing what I love. We’re heading in the right direction and I feel confident about the future.

Notes to editors

The New Enterprise Allowance is available to: * people over 18 who are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance * people who are claiming Income Support as lone parents or who are sick * people on Employment and Support Allowance * eligible Universal Credit Claimants

Read the full statistics here

Published 24 September 2015