Liverpool unemployed top league for business start-ups

More people in Liverpool have started their own business through the New Enterprise Allowance scheme than in any other local authority area in the North West. Tony McDonough reports

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People looking to start their own business can access support via the New Enterprise Allowance


Almost 10,000 would-be entrepreneurs in the Liverpool city region have accessed the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme in the past decade with 62% going on to start their own business.

Launched by the Government in 2011, the NEA was designed to help unemployed people who were interested in starting their own business. The scheme offers access to a business mentor.

Once a business plan is approved people may be eligible for an allowance worth up to £1,274 over 26 weeks and be given the opportunity to apply for a loan to help with start-up costs. The loan is also available for those who have started their business in the past two years. Financial backing is available for up to £25,000.

Official figure show that between April 2011 and June 2020 more than 9,760 people in the six city region boroughs – Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton – accessed the NEA scheme. Of those 6,080 (62%) went on to launch their business.

Liverpool was the top local authority area in, not just the city region, but across the North West for start-ups under the scheme. Out of 3,560 who accessed the NEA scheme, 2,140 started their own business.

This compares to 1,540 start-ups in Manchester (from 2,630), 660 in Warrington (from 900) and 1,010 in Chester and Cheshire West (from 1,470). In the rest of the city region, Wirral saw 1,520 start-ups (out of 2,260), Sefton saw 900 (from 1,460), St Helens had 700 (from 1,140), Knowsley had 450 (from 720) and Halton saw 370 start-ups (from 620).

Across the UK there has been more than 250,000 start-ups as a result of the NEA. Minister for Employment Mims Davies, said: “This remains a challenging time for families across the country but whether people are looking for a new job or a new source of income, there is hope.

“Our Jobcentre staff are there to help and can open doors to new opportunities, like the support offered through our NEA. I’m calling on all the budding entrepreneurs out there to contact their work coach and discuss how to make their business idea a reality.”

In Liverpool city region, would-be entrepreneurs can also access free assistance via the Enterprise Hub programme. It is part-funded by European Regional Development Fund and delivered by social enterprise The Women’s Organisation. The scheme offers free advice and guidance to those living in the city region thinking of starting a business.

Enterprise Hub support is available to individuals looking to start a business within the Liverpool city region, or businesses under 42 months looking to grow in the Liverpool city region.

It has a particular focus on encouraging more women to start their own businesses. The NEA data indicates there remains a gap in this area. Of all the people who accessed the NEA across the UK, 40% were women. Around 56,000 went on to start a business.

You can get more details about the NEA from your local Jobcentre or by clicking here. Enterprise Hub is offering a free online event later this month to offer advice to people thinking of starting a business. Click here for more details.

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