A Government scheme to help unemployed people start up their own business has seen a healthy take-up on the Island according to the Island’s MP, Andrew Turner.
The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) was rolled out in April 2011 to help unemployed people over the age of 18 turn a viable business idea into a reality. Figures from the Department of Work and Pensions show that to June this year 310 Island residents have worked with a business mentor, with 180 of them starting a business and taking advantage of the financial support available through the NEA to move off benefits.
The average figures for parliamentary constituencies is 166 working with a mentor with 84 going on to set up in business. The national percentage of those moving from mentor support into business is 51%; on the Isle of Wight it is 58%.
Once it has been established that a business idea is viable, loans are available through the scheme to help with the set-up costs of a business and a weekly payment (which does not have to be paid back) to help with the early months of trading. Payments from the scheme do not affect housing benefit, tax credits, income tax, or any access to work grant.
Mr Turner said :
“Working for yourself is not for everybody; but for some Islanders this has given them the advice and financial support they needed to set up in business. The scheme is administered through Jobcentre Plus, so our relative success on the Island demonstrates what a great job their staff here are doing. I would also like to pay tribute to all the volunteer business mentors – who are helping these budding entrepreneurs build the future they want. Nationally the New Enterprise Allowance has helped set up over 50,000 new businesses and I hope even more Islanders will look into this scheme to find out if it can also support them.”