Scheme helps 170 get back in business

THE number of jobs in North Somerset is still lower than pre-recession levels.

THE number of jobs in North Somerset is still lower than pre-recession levels. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A SCHEME to help unemployed people start their own businesses has been hailed a success after getting more than 170 people in the area into work since its inception.

The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme sees people on out-of-work benefits receive initial guidance from a business mentor, before being given a weekly allowance once they begin trading.

In North Somerset, 250 new businesses have started up since the initiative began in 2011, according to newly-released figures, and a further 70 in neighbouring Sedgemoor.

Two thirds of those people in North Somerset who have received mentoring advice since the project’s inception have moved on to create a business of their own, with 44 per cent of people in Sedgemoor beginning to trade.

James Heappey, the Conservative Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the Wells seat, said the project had been a ‘real success’ and praised the way it helped entrepreneurs through the ‘tricky early months’ of business.

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Mr Heappey said: “The NEA has been a real success in our part of Somerset helping people off benefits and to start their own business.”

“It’s fantastic that there have been so many business start-ups already since 2011 thanks to the scheme.

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“I look forward to seeing the new businesses that will start with the support of a mentor over the next year.

“The NEA is giving people financial support to help them start their business and get through the tricky early months.”

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