Over 4,000 benefit claimants in Wales have been transformed into business owners over the past four years, thanks to the government’s New Enterprise Allowance (NEA).
Created in April 2011, the NEA provides benefit claimants who have a solid business idea with financial support and a business mentor.
Since the allowance’s inception, more than 73,000 new start-ups have been created through the scheme.
Priti Patel, the government’s employment minister, is delighted with the new statistics, and is striving to create more business leaders in the UK.
‘‘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,’’ continued Patel.
The programme has been incredibly popular with the Welsh people, particularly in Cardiff. The top five local authorities for start-ups being created through the scheme (up to June 2015) in Wales are as follows:
- Cardiff 540
- Swansea 410
- Carmarthenshire 350
- Pembrokeshire 290
- Caerphilly 270
Nuturing British talent
The British government is attempting to explore every avenue that can lead to more home-grown, entrepreneurial success stories.
In August, SME Insider reported that Michelle Mone OBE, entrepreneur and founder of lingerie brand Ultimo, had been appointed by the government to lead an independent review to encourage start-up creation in deprived communities.
Mone herself started her business under difficult circumstances, having left school at 15 and founded Ultimo in her twenties. The NEA helps people who are currently going through what Mone once experienced, including jobseekers, lone parents and people on sickness benefits.
Participants of the initiative get expert help and advice from a business mentor who will help them to develop their idea and write a business plan. They also receive a government allowance of up to £1,274 in order to get their business idea off the ground.
One of the success stories to have benefited from the NEA is Rudi Thomas, who was supported in his venture by the government after suffering an arm injury which meant he could no longer continue his job as a lorry driver.
With the NEA’s help, Thomas now owns his own beach café.
‘‘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,’’ commented Thomas.