Almost 1,000 new businesses have been launched in North and Western Lancashire thanks to a joint initiative between the local Chamber of Commerce and Jobcentre Plus.
The Chamber has held the contract to run the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) since its launch in 2011, and through it, 920 fledgling businesses have got off the ground in the area.
The people coming to us are often those who have been made redundant from their previous jobs and are looking to finally put that long-held business idea into practiceBabs Murphy
The NEA provides a weekly allowance for 26 weeks amounting to £1,274 to the new business, as well as a personal mentor to help develop the idea and provide ongoing support.
And according to figures published today by the Department for Work and Pensions, broken down into local authority areas, since April 2011, 210 businesses have gone through the programme in Lancaster, 170 in Blackpool, 120 in West Lancashire, 100 in Chorley, 90 each in Wyre and South Ribble, and 70 each in Fylde and Preston.
North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Babs Murphy said: “The NEA has provided a vital step into the business world for almost 1,000 people now and more fantastic and unique ideas are being brought to us on a weekly basis.
“The people coming to us are often those who have been made redundant from their previous jobs and are looking to finally put that long-held business idea into practice.
“It is great for us as a Chamber to know that we have helped so many businesses get off the ground and also to know that such a wide variety of businesses exists in the county.
“We all know Lancashire is a great place to do business and these new ventures are the tangible proof of that.”
Employment Minister Priti Patel said: “Through this scheme, we are helping to unlock the talent and entrepreneurialism of the great cities in the north and central England, with these areas showing the highest number of jobseekers turning a big idea into a business.
“Starting up in business successfully needs so much more than just funding – it needs the right support and advice at the right time, and we’re doing just that through the New Enterprise Allowance scheme.
“We will ensure that every part of Britain, including the northern powerhouse, benefits from a growing economy and that everyone who works hard gets the opportunities they need to succeed.”
The NEA is open to those aged 18 or over who have a business idea and are in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support as a lone parent or Employment and Support Allowance.
Often those entering the scheme have suffered losing their jobs through redundancy or due to serious health problems and are looking for a way to get a new business up and running to get back on their feet.