New Enterprise Allowance can provide money and support to help you start or grow your own business if you’re getting certain benefits.


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

You may also be eligible if you get Universal Credit, including if you’re already self-employed.

Your Jobcentre Plus work coach can check if you qualify and refer you to the scheme.

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

Help you can get

If you’re starting a new business, you could:

  • attend an initial workshop to help you decide if self-employment is the right option
  • get a business mentor to help you develop your business idea and start trading - you can get support for up to 52 weeks afterwards
  • get a weekly allowance paid for up to 26 weeks (up to a total of £1,274)
  • apply for a loan to help with start-up costs

The loan has to be paid back, the allowance doesn’t.

Any money you get doesn’t affect your Housing Benefit, tax credits, Income Tax, Universal Credit or Access to Work grant.

If you’re self-employed and claiming Universal Credit

You may be able to:

  • get help to increase your earnings by developing a business development and growth plan
  • get ongoing mentoring support for up to 52 weeks to help grow your business
  • apply for a start-up loan if your business is less than 2 years old

How it works

A business specialist will assess your idea, or your business if you’re already trading. If it has potential you’ll be signed up to the scheme and get a business mentor.

If you’re starting a new business, you’ll be able to claim financial support if:

  • your business plan is approved
  • you start working at your business for 16 hours or more per week

Additional information

The Jobcentre Plus work coach will explain:

  • how New Enterprise Allowance works
  • who will assess the business idea, or your business’s growth potential if already trading
  • who provides the practical support
  • what Jobcentre Plus expects from you
  • if you can get the allowance, how much it will be and how it will be paid
  • about the loan
  • what will happen when the allowance ends