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Services and support within each Local Authority, Jobcentre Plus or Health Board area.

Self Employment & Enterprise Support

At a time when job opportunities are limited, self-employment can be an attractive and viable option for some unemployed people. While self-employment will not be the desired path for all, business opportunities can be developed based on an individual's:

  • Skills, contacts and experience built up in previous jobs.
  • Hobbies and interests.
  • Existing informal work or volunteering.

However, setting up a business can be a difficult process and unemployed people can face particular barriers to becoming self-employed, including:

  • Limited understanding of the business start up process.
  • Difficulties accessing start up finance.
  • Limited connections with potential customers and suppliers.
  • May live in more disadvantaged area with limited local market for products and services.
  • Lack of confidence.
  • Fear of giving up benefits for risk of business failure.

To help overcome the barriers to self-employment and support people to start their own business, the main source of support for unemployed people is Jobcentre Plus. Jobcentre Plus advisers can tell you about help you can get to start up your own business. For example, individuals may be able to apply for New Enterprise Allowance for business ideas that could work and you are claiming JSA, Income Support or ESA. Through the New Enterprise Allowance, individuals will be given a business mentor and, if the business plan is approved:

  • A weekly allowance worth up to £1,274 over 26 weeks.
  • A loan to help with start-up costs.

If individuals have a disability, health or mental health condition and getting New Enterprise Allowance, extra support can be received from an Access to Work grant.

Other supports and advice around starting and running a business can be accessed through: