The latest Government statistics show that the New Enterprise Allowance has helped would-be entrepreneurs launch over 105,000 businesses.
The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) is a fund aimed at helping jobseekers and those on income support to get a business idea off the ground. Financial support is paid as a weekly allowance of £65 a week for 13 weeks and then £33 for the following 13 weeks (a total of £1,274 over 26 weeks).
Successful applicants also get access to a business mentor and can apply for a loan of up to £25,000 to help with start-up costs.
More than 105,000 businesses have been launched with NEA support since the scheme began in 2010.
The NEA figures show that the North West had the highest number of start-ups (16,090), followed by London (12,870) and Yorkshire and Humberside (11,590).
The figures also show that of the individuals launching a business:
- Over two-thirds were aged between 25 and 49;
- 24% were over the age of 50;
- 7% were aged between 18 and 24;
- 40% are women;
- 22% have a self-declared disability;
- 13% are from a black and minority ethnic background.
Damian Hinds, minister for employment, said: "As these latest figures show, thousands of people across the country have great business ideas and are taking the steps to turn them into a reality. The NEA provides the right mix of expert, tailored advice and support to people of all backgrounds which can be invaluable in the early days of starting a company."
Sunderland-based Colin Young, 51, made use of the scheme to launch his business after being made redundant. The NEA helped him start North East Drone Services , a professional drone photography service. He said: "After working as a TV and photography technician for 13 years, I decided to invest in myself with the New Enterprise Allowance. I met with an adviser who not only helped me with my business plan, but also to plan for any pitfalls that I might not have considered."