The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) is a government scheme to help the short-term unemployed with a good business idea to set up their own businesses. The scheme is delivered through a cooperation between Job Centre Plus (JCP) and local Enterprise Agencies such as the Somerset Business Agency (SBA) and Business Information Point (BIP). The assistance offered includes a number of meetings with a business mentor who will help the client to prepare a business plan and a cash-flow forecast, approval of which is required to qualify for continued support from the scheme.
Cornerstone mentors are working with BIP and the JCPs to support NEA clients in West Somerset, Taunton Deane and South Somerset. Since January 2014, Cornerstone has supported more than 60 NEA clients. Recent estimates indicate that more than 80% of those NEA entrepreneurs who complete the scheme are actively trading 6 months later. NEA support is proving to be an effective strategy for helping suitable job-seekers to become self-employed.
NEA mentoring is particularly rewarding because there is a short-term, tangible outcome that is measured, and the benefits to the mentee, and to the County, are clear. Cornerstone is proud to be able to make such an important contribution.