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Entrepreneur scheme extended to boost enterprise

The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme has been extended to give 33,000 extra jobseekers help to set up their own business.

Initially launched in 2010, the NEA is available to Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants aged 18 and over. A weekly allowance worth £1,274 over 26 weeks at £65 a week is paid to successful applicants to help them set up an enterprise.

Claimants can also access a loan of up to £1,000 to help with start-up costs as well as expert coaching from a business mentor. Since launch, the scheme has helped to set up 8,180 businesses, and it expects 40,000 to be created by the time the scheme closes to new referrals in December 2013.

Commenting on the extension, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "If Britain is to compete on a global stage, we must do all we can to support budding entrepreneurs and build a nation where everyone aspires to great things.

"I am determined to get behind people who have ideas that will work and a can-do attitude that will turn those ideas into successful enterprises.

"It doesn't matter what your background is or whether you are out of work, if you are prepared to work hard and aspire to achieve more, this Government, through schemes like the Enterprise Allowance, will back you."

The scheme used to require that applicants had been claiming JSA for at least 26 weeks before accessing the finance and support, but it has now been amended to allow access from day one of JSA.