Almost 1,400 unemployed people on Merseyside have stopped claiming benefits after setting up their own business using Government support. The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) has helped create 860 new businesses in Liverpool - more than any other local authority in the country - and a further 520 in the Wirral.
Since its launch in 2011, as part of the Government’s long-term economic plan to back small businesses and help people into work, the NEA has created 40,240 new businesses across Britain – that’s around 2,000 people every month in the last year helped to get off benefits and set up on their own.
The New Enterprise Allowance 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, which Minister for Employment Esther McVey has heralded as creating a new enterprise generation.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I am determined to do all I can to support the British economy and that includes helping small businesses and budding entrepreneurs to get on. “In the last two years we have helped tens of thousands of people to turn their ideas into a viable business through the New Enterprise Allowance and I am delighted that so many people in Liverpool and the Wirral have benefited.
“My message is simple: if you have drive, determination and are prepared to work hard, we will back you – that is part of our long-term economic plan to ensure a better and more financially secure future for Britain, for hardworking people and their families.”
Minister for Employment Esther McVey said:
“Small businesses are the heartbeat of the continuing success of the country, so it’s great that tens of thousands of budding entrepreneurs have been helped to make their dreams of becoming their own boss a reality.
“As the economy continues to grow this new enterprise generation may well go on to become the employers of the future, which is great for the individuals and their families, but it is also good news for the country as well. “It’s particularly welcome that so many women have started their own business through NEA. This shows the benefit of having an expert mentor, and I’d like to encourage more business experts, especially women, to sign up to help the next generation of entrepreneurs secure their future.”
Today’s figures also show that the scheme helps people of all ages, with 9,260 businesses started by people aged 50 and over, and 2,910 young people also becoming their own boss. 7,420 disabled people have also set up in business thanks to the New Enterprise Allowance.
The New Enterprise Allowance 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 BIS start-up loan scheme.
Mentors also continue to give the budding entrepreneurs on-going support during the early months of trading.
Young entrepreneur James Tartt is on a fast track to success after being helped to set up his new business thanks to the government’s New Enterprise Allowance Initiative. James launched JT Design, an architecture design business in Crosby, north Liverpool, after assistance from the New Enterprise Allowance and St Helens Chamber’s Business Start up Team.
James, an architecture graduate and UK championship runner, set up JT Design four months ago and has already completed several successful projects, designing extensions to domestic properties.
Whilst on the NEA training, he also forged valuable links with other entrepreneurs who are now helping each other out with business leads.
“The support I received has been fantastic,” said James, 30. “It has been incredibly helpful and intuitive for the type of business I have set up. Whilst I was getting the business off the ground, my adviser recommended I get a part-time job to provide extra financial support. I took this advice and it worked really well.
“It has helped me make my business even more successful as I have the finances to help me with the running costs of the business.
“As I completed the programme, I met other people setting up related businesses and we are remaining in touch and have promised to help one another out with work.”
James was unsure of what to do after graduating from university in the depths of recession and it was whilst working with a builder at Crosby-based Farrington Building Services on extension projects that he developed the idea to set up his design business.
For James, self employment had the added appeal of flexibility, to enable him to follow his passion for athletics. As a UK championship 1500 metre runner, James hopes to perform well at the Commonwealth Games Trials in June this year and has aspirations to compete at the championships in Glasgow and, ultimately, the next Olympic Games.
“I missed out on place in the final at the Trials for the London Olympics by just 0.7 seconds but am confident that my performance can be improved upon and hopeful that I can push for a place at the Commonwealth Trials,” added James, who has been a member of Southport and Waterloo Athletics Club for 20 years.
“Being self employed enables me to fit my training regime and competitions around the work which really suits me.”
Budding entrepreneur and skilled cook Goya Griffiths is aiming to spice up the dishes served at events across the region after launching a bespoke catering business. Goya set up Saraphee Catering from her home in Newton le Willows, Merseyside to provide Thai-style catering to a wide range of events, including private parties, conferences, corporate events and official openings.
She received assistance to launch her venture from the New Enterprise Allowance Initiative and Business Advisers at St Helens Chamber – and says her spicy dishes are proving a hit with people more used to staple party food such as sausage rolls and sandwiches.
“My clients really love my dishes and I’m getting some great feedback,” said Goya who was born in northern Thailand and relocated to England after marrying a man from St Helens.
“My dishes include Thai green and red curries, chicken satays and meatballs, though I also provide less spicy food to cater for all tastes.”
Goya came up with the idea for her business when she started cooking for her husband and friends as an alternative to eating out at Thai restaurants.
“Eating out can be expensive and I felt that the food served was no better than dishes I have been cooking for many years,” she continued. “Growing up in Thailand all of the women learn to cook from an early age. I learned alongside my grandmother, using fresh ingredients including chillies, limes and lemongrass grown in her own garden.
“I spotted a business opportunity, spurred on by the popularity of Thai food, as I think people are often looking for an alternative to traditional party food. I’m hoping that ‘word of mouth’ recommendations will help me to expand my business.”
Goya, who has access to a large, professional kitchen when catering for bigger events, found the support she received from the NEA scheme really helpful.
“I had my idea but was unsure of where to start to set it up as a business,” she said. “The support and help has been fantastic, it’s given me lots of ideas and I’ve also been introduced to lots of people who I hope will be future clients.”
Heather Hayes, Managing Director, Blue Orchid Management Consultants said:
“Due to the backing of finance and mentoring support from the New Enterprise Allowance, Blue Orchid has helped over 4,500 unemployed people to become their own boss since 2011. Amongst the business ideas supported includes caterers, creative designers, landscape gardeners and mechanics.
Commenting on the phenomenal demand for the service, Heather Hayes, CEO of Blue Orchid said:
“Month by month over 250 people are taking the opportunity to create a job for themselves. Working in more than 54 local Job Centre Plus offices across the North West, unemployed people can work with a business mentor to help realise their ambitions. “The New Enterprise Allowance has been so successful, next year we expect a further 2,000 unemployed people to access finance and advice to get their business idea of the ground.”
Full breakdown of NEA statistics (April 2011 to March 2014): https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/pre-work-programme-and-get-britain-working#new-enterprise-allowance-statistics