Friday, July 1, 2016

News: Rotherham's enterprising jobseekers

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Rotherham is again amongst the top areas in the country for the number of people setting up businesses with the help of a Government scheme.

The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) has been behind a wide range of new ventures since it was introduced in 2011. It involves jobseekers and other benefit claimants receiving business support including a mentor to help develop business ideas and write a business plan.

Rotherham ranks 40th out of all 380 local authority areas for new startups via the NEA scheme. 1,020 people have started working with a mentor since April 2011 and 510 have gone on to start a business, up from 460 this time last year.

The scheme entitles participants to a weekly allowance worth £1,274 over 26 weeks and, where start-up capital is needed, they may also be able to access a loan up to £1,000 to help with start-up costs.

Employment Minister Priti Patel said: "When we launched the NEA we sent out a clear message to claimants with the creativity and drive to go it alone that we would back them, and it is testament to this one nation's entrepreneurial spirit that people have risen to the challenge in their droves.

"The NEA has given people the confidence to secure their own financial future and move off benefits, which has also helped us to notch up a record employment rate and cut unemployment to a ten year low."

Sheffield ranks fourth in terms of business starts with 1,270 from April 2011 to March 2016 and Doncaster is at 12 with 740. Barnsley is 44th with 480.

At the start of the 2015 calendar year, new starts to NEA are delivered by new providers meaning that there are slight differences in definitions between grant funded starts before 2015 and contracted phase starts via new providers.

Pinnacle People now delivers the scheme in Rotherham after it secured the £1.5m Government contract for South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and North East Yorkshire and the Humber.

Acting as a prime provider, sole delivery of the contract includes hour long initial assessments on the viability of business ideas, business planning seminars, practical classes, links to other support in the area and eight weeks of support through the pre-trading period. The Pinnacle People business club is also available to all NEA participants offering a range of free-to-use services.

In previous contracts, Pinnacle People has used a flexible staffing bank and deployed over 200 freelance advisors to over 2,000 customers per month. The firm also calls on a bank of volunteer mentors.

NEA website
Pinnacle People website

Images: Pinnacle People

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