Offering expert advice through mentoring and workshops, along with financial support, the initiative is aimed at people aged over 18 and works with Jobcentre across Britain.
The New Enterprise Allowance has given over 54,000 people life-changing business mentoring so far. If a mentor feels the business plan is viable, the entrepreneur will stop receiving job seekers allowance and instead be given up to £2,274 to kick-start their dream.
Since it was introduced in 2011, 26,000 new businesses have been created through the scheme, and new figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions show the potential in this project.
Around 2,000 new businesses are set up every month by job seekers. Of the businesses that have started to date, 6,000 of those have been created by entrepreneurial hopefuls aged 50 or over, while 4,000 disabled people have also experienced their first taste of business through the initiative.
"I'm a big fan of the New Enterprise Allowance – it’s a great scheme, which helps people with ideas make the most of their talent," said Levi Roots, the entrepreneurial behind Reggae Reggae Sauce. "By offering expert mentoring support and start-up funds it sends a message to those thinking about starting their own business: you’re not alone."
Simon Short spent 16 years in and out of prison before deciding to put his potential to good use with the initiative. He set up an education and training social enterprise, The Intelligence Project, through the NEA and hasn’t looked back.
He says: “Self-employment is the quickest way for offenders to be employed if their risk-taking nature and money-oriented traits can be channelled positively. Those entrepreneurial attributes are essential in business.”
His business delivers education and training to ex-offenders, helping them cope with the normality's of life once they leave prison. Bringing his life experiences together to better other people’s lives, Simon’s story is a true reflection of what can be achieved through this government scheme.