Supporting Success

Changing Lives

New Enterprise Allowance Scheme

For many, the idea of running their own business can seem an impossible dream. We’re working to help them make it happen.

The New Enterprise Allowance scheme (NEA) is a national Department for Work & Pensions initiative designed to help jobseekers move off benefits and encourage them to become their own boss. It also aims to help self- employed people on Universal Credits increase their income.

“Some people are keen to start up to build on a key skill or a hobby they’re passionate about. For others it’s about gaining a feeling of control over their future. And for some, self-employment can be a more workable option than being an employee – the flexibility that self-employment brings can suit those with caring commitments, health issues or other constraints.” — Lesley Robinson, Start-Up and Enterprise Manager, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

Prime Contractor

Cumbria Chamber delivers NEA as the prime contractor for Cumbria, Lancashire and Merseyside, having beaten significant national players in a tough competitive tendering exercise. We recently won the contract again for a third time!

Ensuring local knowledge and effective linkage into business communities, our supply chain for this contract includes Blue Orchid, East Lancashire Chamber, North & Western Lancashire Chamber and St Helens Chamber.

Practical Support

LinkUp:StartUp workshops enable people on Jobseeker’s Allowance and certain other benefits to explore whether self-employment is for them. If they want to take things forward, they can then ask their Jobcentre adviser to refer them onto the scheme.

Across the region, New Enterprise Allowance has supported 8,500 individuals looking to start a business, with 5,500 created so far.

To help them get started they can access 1-2-1 support from a business mentor to help develop their business plan and get started, plus business workshops, financial support for six months and the opportunity to apply for a StartUp Loan of up to £25,000. Follow on support is also available once they start trading.

To help them earn more, the NEA scheme now also offers 1-2-1 advice and workshops to people who are already trading but receive Universal Credit because their income from self-employment is low.

  • Cumbria Chamber of Commerce
  • Blue Orchid
  • East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
  • St Helens Chamber
  • Dept for Work & Pensions
  • North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce
  • European Regional Development Fund