UNEMPLOYED people are being encouraged to set up in business with the help of a government enterprise scheme.
The New Enterprise Allowance provides an income, access to finance and a specialist business mentor to out-of-work people with a business idea.
Lynda Addy, 49, had been unemployed for nearly a year when she used the scheme to take over health food shops on Wakefield and Pontefract markets.
She said the LA Health Gallery stores, which sell food supplements and healthy eating products, were performing well three months after she took over.
Mrs Addy said: “At first I thought I might be too old to run my own business but I decided to go for it. The shop’s customers remained loyal and the business is doing better than I expected.”
The NEA, which is delivered by the West Yorkshire Enterprise Agency in Wakefield, is available to people aged 18 or over who have been on Job Seekers’ Allowance for 26 weeks or more.
Claimants continue to receive an allowance of £65 a week for the first 13 weeks and £35 a week for a further 13 weeks.
Mrs Addy said she took advantage of a £1,000 loan under the scheme to get her business going.
She said: “My mentor helped explain the financial side of the business to me, things like looking after the books and paying wages.”
Melissa Healy, from the West Yorkshire Enterprise Agency, said more mentors who could spare at least an hour every two weeks were sought to help with the scheme.
She said: “Whether you’re a sole trader, business owner or experienced professional, your support could make a huge difference to someone who is starting out on their own.”
For more information about mentoring, log on to www.mycci.co.uk/MYMentor, call 01924 786500 or e-mail email@example.com