Jobs: Help extended for unemployed would-be entrepreneurs

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A programme that supports the unemployed in becoming self-employed has been extended.

The Department of Work and Pensions recently announced its Enterprise Allowance Scheme, which provides financial support and coaching to job seekers starting up their own business, will be extended from March 2013 to September 2013.

The extension follows evidence of a ‘strong uptake’ in the programme’s first year. According to official statistics, at the end of May, some 8,180 businesses had been set up through the NEA.

The scheme is to be made ‘easier’ too, in a proposal to back those who have the determination to start their own business.

The current three month long wait for business mentor support is to be abolished and jobseekers will now be able to access the support instantly, as soon as they start claiming JobSeekers Allowance (JSA).

Financial support is to become instantly accessible too – to those who can produce a viable business plan. The financial support, which is worth more than £1,000 over six months, is to be used to help with start-up costs.

Peter Cabon, director of advisory and education services at Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire’s Enterprise Agency Wenta, said: “To date, Wenta have helped to start 321 businesses across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire through the NEA programme. 119 of these businesses have already completed six months of trading supported by their Wenta business mentor and new businesses starts are currently running at 25 -30 per month.”

The extension of the scheme will enable Wenta to continue to support Jobseekers across the two counties.

Since the NEA scheme has been running, Wenta has helped and supported an eclectic variety of business start ups – varying from cafes, florists and mechanics to reflexologists, forensic scientists and even paranormal investigators.

Wenta will continue to deliver the NEA scheme to Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire jobseekers until the end of September 2013. It is estimated that 40,000 new businesses will be created in the UK by the end of 2013 as a result of the programme.

For more information visit: www.wenta.co.uk