By Daniel Hunter

33,000 extra jobseekers will be given help to set up their own business under a scheme aimed at unlocking the potential of aspiring entrepreneurs, Prime Minister David Cameron announced today (Wednesday).

The New Enterprise Allowance scheme, which provides expert coaching and financial support, will be extended and made far easier, in a bid to get behind those who have the determination to start up their own business.

People will now have instant access to support when they claim Jobseekers Allowance, ending the six month long wait people have to currently spend on benefits before they qualify for start-up money.

The New Enterprise Allowance will be expanded so 70,000 people can now get help from a mentor, following a strong uptake in the first year that 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.

People will be able to start working with a business mentor from their first day on Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), instead of having to wait for three months, and those who produce a viable business plan will be able to get funding straight away. Currently jobseekers must wait six months for the financial support, which is worth more than £1,000 over six months to help with start-up costs.

The Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“If Britain is to compete on a global stage, we must do all we can to support budding entrepreneurs and build a nation where everyone aspires to great things.
“I am determined to get behind people who have ideas that will work and a can-do attitude that will turn those ideas into successful enterprises.
“It doesn’t matter what your background is or whether you are out of work, if you are prepared to work hard and aspire to achieve more, this Government, through schemes like the Enterprise Allowance, will back you.”

Employment Minister Mark Hoban said:

“We have already seen huge successes with more than 8,000 businesses up and running since we launched New Enterprise Allowance. I want more people to get advice on becoming self-employed, and for them to get that advice sooner.

“This will help those unemployed people who have a real drive to get on in life, and shows our determination to promote growth and enterprise."

Under New Enterprise Allowance, jobseekers interested in setting up their own business are teamed up with a mentor, giving them invaluable guidance and support in drawing up a business plan. Those who can show their idea is viable are then eligible for funding to help them get their proposal off the ground.

Jobcentre advisers have reported the scheme is extremely popular, and now an extra 33,000 places are being offered for people to develop their business plan with a mentor. In total, more than 70,000 people will now receive help from a mentor, and we expect up to 40,000 businesses to be created as a result.

The popularity of the scheme has also prompted access to both mentoring and funding to be offered to people from their first day on JSA, sweeping away barriers to people setting up their own business.

The scheme has a clear focus on creating sustainable businesses that have future growth potential and helps unemployed people to see self-employment as a viable route off benefits.

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