Support programme extension will enable chamber to help set up 240 businesses

St Helens Chamber

The extension of a government employment scheme means St Helens Chamber will be able to help 240 budding entrepreneurs launch their business dreams this year.

The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) has been extended, enabling the chamber to continue supporting budding entrepreneurs across the Liverpool City Region.

It has delivered the New Enterprise Allowance in St Helens since it was first launched as a trailblazer back in 2011, and since then has helped thousands of Job Centre Plus customers to explore self-employment.

Thanks to the latest extension the chamber said it is looking to support a further 240 budding entrepreneurs during the coming year.

Stella Libertini, business start-up co-ordinator at St Helens Chamber, said: “We’re so pleased to have had this contract extended given the amount of successful businesses who have already benefited from the NEA.

“With the renewed funding we look forward to helping more aspiring entrepreneurs across the region start their businesses and supporting them every step of the way.

“We love seeing the creativity of local people, and watching their business grow from an idea into a fully fledged business. We would really encourage anyone who has a business idea to speak to their work coach and take advantage of the fantastic NEA scheme.”

The NEA funding has helped businesses across the region to get off the ground, with 109 new businesses launched over past year, despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

One of these businesses was set up by James Hunter, who used the NEA scheme to set up his business High Definition Mobile Valeting.

High Definition Mobile Valeting

James said: “The support has been superb. My adviser, Steve, slowed things down for me and gave me a new perspective on my business, he advised me about different funding available and then he helped me access relevant training.

“I took advantage of some of the courses on offer, like ‘Getting started with LinkedIn’, and I did a bookkeeping course which was really useful. With me handling money I wanted to know I was doing everything right, so this really helped.”

Another local business owner, Debbie Richards, of Nurture Training, took up the support of St Helens Chamber and the NEA and her business continues to go from strength to strength. Debbie said: “The support was fantastic – my advisers were both very informative and even now they still get in touch to check in on me and see how I’m doing.”

The New Enterprise Allowance is funded by the Department of Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund.

In addition to business support advice, training and mentoring budding business owners will receive a tax-free allowance of £1,274 over the first six months of trading – subject to JCP/DWP criteria.