Mersey chamber to support 240 new entrepreneurs

Launched in 2011, more than 10,000 people in Liverpool city region have accessed support through the New Enterprise Allowance and now the scheme has been extended. Tony McDonough reports

St Helens Chamber
St Helens Chamber is offering support to 240 entrepreneurs


St Helens Chamber is to support 240 new entrepreneurs across Liverpool city region after it was announced the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme was being extended.

NEA was launched by the Government in 2011. It is designed to help unemployed people who were interested in starting their own business. More than 10,000 people in Liverpool city region have accessed it in the past decade with 62% starting their own business.

It offers access to a business mentor and once a business plan is approved people may be eligible for an allowance worth up to £1,274 over 26 weeks. They are also given the opportunity to apply for a loan to help with start-up costs.

St Helens Chamber has delivered the New Enterprise Allowance in St Helens since it was first launched and since then has helped thousands of Job Centre Plus customers to explore self-employment.

Thanks to the latest extension of the scheme the chamber is looking to support a further 240 budding entrepreneurs to launch a business during the coming year. It covers people in Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton.

Stella Libertini, business start-up co-ordinator at St Helens Chamber, said: “We’re so pleased to have had this contract extended given the amount of successful businesses who have already benefitted from the NEA.

“With the renewed funding we look forward to helping more aspiring entrepreneurs across the region start their businesses and supporting them every step of the way. We love seeing the creativity of local people, and watching their business grow from an idea into a fully fledged business.

“We would really encourage anyone who has a business idea to speak to their Work Coach and take advantage of the fantastic NEA scheme.” 

The NEA funding has helped businesses across the region to get off the ground, with 109 new businesses launched over last year, despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Just one of these businesses was set up by James Hunter, who used the NEA scheme to set up his business High Definition Mobile Valeting.

High Definition Mobile Valeting
High Definition Mobile Valeting received help from St Helens Chamber


James said: “The support has been superb. My Adviser Steve slowed things down for me and gave me a new perspective on my business, he advised me about different funding available and then he helped me access relevant training. 

“I took advantage of some of the courses on offer like ‘Getting started with LinkedIn’, and I did a Bookkeeping course which was really useful. With me handling money I wanted to know I was doing everything right, so this really helped.”

Another local business owner, Debbie Richards of Nurture Training took up the support of St Helens Chamber and the NEA and her business continues to go from strength to strength.

Debbie added: “The Support was fantastic; my advisers were both very informative and even now they still get in touch to check in on me and see how I’m doing. They are really invested my success – Steve is getting in touch to help me with growth and marketing soon too which is great.

If you are unemployed and thinking of starting a business, speak to your JobCentre Plus adviser for more information about the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme. To find out more about the New Enterprise Allowance, click here.

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