New Enterprise Allowance

The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) provides practical and financial support to individuals who wish to start their own businesses. It consists of a combination of business mentoring, a weekly allowance and a business loan, subject to eligibility.

Helping smooth the transition from those receiving benefits into self-employment, the New Enterprise Allowance Programme provides detailed and bespoke business advice, guidance and mentoring to help those who aim to start a new business. Blue Orchid deliver the scheme for Merseyside.

The NEA support package is aimed at would-be entrepreneurs aged 18 and over, currently in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit. It is also available to Employment and Support Allowance claimants in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and lone parents in receipt of Income Support.

Once you join the scheme you will be assigned a business mentor. This individual will help you put together your business plan and will support you in turning your idea into a realistic, revenue-generating venture. Your mentor will stay with you, providing ongoing assistance during your first few months of trading.

When your business plan has been approved, you will be given access to the financial support. This comes in the form of a weekly allowance and a start-up loan facility.

The NEA weekly allowance is £65 per week for the first 13 weeks and £33 per week for the second 13 weeks. The allowance is paid for a maximum total of 26 weeks. There is also a Start-up Loan that can be applied for to assist you with any start-up costs.

Applications for the NEA are made through your local Jobcentre Plus. Your Job Centre Advisor will provide details of how you can be referred to the programme. Blue Orchid deliver the NEA programme within Merseyside.

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Recent Case Studies


Following a period of ill health, Janet Rach registered at the Job Centre. Here, she was made aware of the New Enterprise Allowance. She was referred to Blue Orchid, who supported Janet by helping her structure her business idea into a solid business plan. She also received help in finding the much-required start-up capital she required, receiving a grant from Remploy towards material costs and a loan from Newable.

As a previous restaurant owner, Janet had blended and made her own spices and sauces. They were so popular, customers began buying them to take home with them. This inspired her to start her own new business, Ena Pa, which offers home-made African and Caribbean spices and sauces along with healthy snacks.


Janet Rach - Case Study

“The NEA has enabled me to go into self-employment. My Blue Orchid Business Mentor helped me achieve this and took away my anxiety for the future, allowing me to fully concentrate on my business.”

Janet Rach – Ena Pa


Jaqob loves to help people and take on a challenge. After a series of personal difficulties in his life, including the loss of his parents, he began competing in powerlifting competitions at World Championship level.

After a period of time he started thinking of channelling his passion into his own business as a personal trainer. Speaking to his job centre advisor, he discussed self-employment and was referred to Blue Orchid under the New Enterprise Allowance Programme to receive business advice and support.

Jaqob Bagley - Case Study

“I have never had experience of starting my own business, it was just a dream I had and a passion that the NEA made come true. The support I had from my business advisor was excellent she was always so positive and personal with me. I felt extremely comfortable asking questions and discussing issues and worries that I had.”

Jaqob Bagley