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New Enterprise Allowance scheme - My story
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# 1
shaneo85
Old 09-08-2011, 2:41 PM
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Default New Enterprise Allowance scheme - My story

I've used this forum for years but never really gave anything back. I plan to keep this thread as an online diary of my experience during the New Enterprise Allowance scheme. Hopefully it will encourage others to give it a go and answer any questions they might have.

For those that don't know, getting on to the NEA scheme is done in 3 steps...

Step 1 - A meeting with your personal advisor in the Job Centre to discuss the possibility of going on the NEA scheme. If your personal advisor supports your idea (mine is an online design agency - web design, SEO, branding etc) they will then book an appointment with a business expert.

Step 2 - Discuss the idea with the business expert who has the final decision on whether the business idea is viable or not. (This is the meeting I have tomorrow).

Step 3 - If the idea is seen to be viable, you will be paired up with a business mentor who will continue to develop the idea further. This process is said to take 6-8 weeks.


I have the following questions to ask tomorrow, feel free to add anything you think I should ask...

1) I am living with partner, we both receive 105 per week as we are both unemployed. How will the NEA scheme effect this payment?

2) My partner an I also receive housing benefit and council tax benefit. How will the NEA scheme effect this payment?

3) What are the exact conditions of the 1000 loan? APR, length of loan agreement, etc.

4) Should the business fail, what is the process of going back on to JSA until I find employment?

If anyone else is on the NEA scheme, feel free to share your thoughts

Last edited by shaneo85; 09-08-2011 at 2:46 PM.
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# 2
Oldernotwiser
Old 09-08-2011, 3:37 PM
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That sounds really interesting, although I think you may find it moved from the Benefits Board. I'll certainly come and look for it if it is.
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# 3
shaneo85
Old 11-08-2011, 11:53 AM
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Passed the interview (Step 2) as the advisor said my business idea was viable.

Given forms to fill out to apply for the 1000 loan, which can be paid back over 3 years at 10% APR. Also you only have to pay the interest in the first year, which works out at about 9 per month. After 12 months you have 2 more years to pay back the loan, but I'm going to pay the 1000 back at the end of the first year.

I asked how it would effect my JSA as I'm on a joint claim with my partner. He said it would actually benefit us more, as insted of getting 105 per week, I would now get 65 per week from the NEA and my partner would get 65 as a single JSA claim, so we're 25 better off per week. He said the NEA scheme has no effect on Housing/Council tax benefit.

Got another meeting with the NEA in 2 weeks to show them my business plan and get the ball rolling on the business. The loan is expected to take 3 weeks to come through.

All in all it seems like a very good scheme for those wanting to go it alone insted of looking for work.
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# 4
Kimitatsu
Old 11-08-2011, 4:01 PM
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I will leave the thread here for now.......but it may be more relevant on the job seeking board later If I do move it there will be redirects though.

Good luck for tomorrow
Free/impartial debt advice: Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) | National Debtline | Find your local CAB
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# 5
williacg
Old 11-08-2011, 4:13 PM
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I don't use the Forum that much anymore, but I agree that this thread could prove to be extremely helpful to many of the unemployed posters who might be contemplating a similar venture. Good luck, and I hope all goes well.
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# 6
flappy_mcwarbucks
Old 11-08-2011, 4:18 PM
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Oooh, what a good idea. I was thinking of starting up on my own. (if you cant find a job, make a job!) So i shall be following this with interest
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# 7
dane-katie
Old 11-08-2011, 4:28 PM
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Is the 1000 loan from the DWP?

Is a Bipolar bear

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# 8
WPN
Old 11-08-2011, 5:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaneo85 View Post
Passed the interview (Step 2) as the advisor said my business idea was viable.

Given forms to fill out to apply for the 1000 loan, which can be paid back over 3 years at 10% APR. Also you only have to pay the interest in the first year, which works out at about 9 per month. After 12 months you have 2 more years to pay back the loan, but I'm going to pay the 1000 back at the end of the first year.

I asked how it would effect my JSA as I'm on a joint claim with my partner. He said it would actually benefit us more, as insted of getting 105 per week, I would now get 65 per week from the NEA and my partner would get 65 as a single JSA claim, so we're 25 better off per week. He said the NEA scheme has no effect on Housing/Council tax benefit.

Got another meeting with the NEA in 2 weeks to show them my business plan and get the ball rolling on the business. The loan is expected to take 3 weeks to come through.

All in all it seems like a very good scheme for those wanting to go it alone insted of looking for work.
Woah... I am shocked that the APR is 10%!!

They want you off benefits... so they want to reduce your JSA gradually.... (good idea, fair enough) yet they want you to pay 10% interest. I think there should be interest but no more than 5-6%. Also if what you say is true which I am sure it is: "you only have to pay the interest in the first year, which works out at about 9 per month"... it is silly how instead of a smaller interest rate through the 3 year term or a repayment holiday of the first 6-12 months... that you are expected to pay interest whilst still on benefits including when after 13 weeks the benefit is reduced to just 33... 9 is approx 2.25 a week which seems little but on 33 you need every last money you can although I am assuming (maybe wrongly so) you cannot earn any money from the business whilst claiming benefits?
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# 9
BathGooner
Old 12-08-2011, 7:16 AM
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Great thread Shaneo85. Your questions were what I was going to ask when I went to apply at Bath Job Centre yesterday. Unfortunately, the service has been temporarily suspended as they have been swamped with applicants. Should be back up when I return there in 2 weeks apparently.
I wouldn't say it was perfect but I had intended to start up on my own anyway so it seems ideal. I already have most of my tools but could do with the loan for a website and advertising.
Regarding the 'allowance' you are paid. Are you still paid it for the 6 month period even if you should have an income from the business relatively early stage?
Keep us informed and Good Luck!

Last edited by BathGooner; 12-08-2011 at 7:36 AM.
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# 10
skater_kat
Old 25-08-2011, 10:24 PM
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any updates shaneo85?
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# 11
Truegho
Old 26-08-2011, 12:30 PM
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Default Re. Enterprise Allowance Scheme

I thought the jobcentre gave you a weekly payment for six months or so to get your business off the ground. I didn't know it was a loan that you had to pay back.



Quote:
Originally Posted by shaneo85 View Post
I've used this forum for years but never really gave anything back. I plan to keep this thread as an online diary of my experience during the New Enterprise Allowance scheme. Hopefully it will encourage others to give it a go and answer any questions they might have.

For those that don't know, getting on to the NEA scheme is done in 3 steps...

Step 1 - A meeting with your personal advisor in the Job Centre to discuss the possibility of going on the NEA scheme. If your personal advisor supports your idea (mine is an online design agency - web design, SEO, branding etc) they will then book an appointment with a business expert.

Step 2 - Discuss the idea with the business expert who has the final decision on whether the business idea is viable or not. (This is the meeting I have tomorrow).

Step 3 - If the idea is seen to be viable, you will be paired up with a business mentor who will continue to develop the idea further. This process is said to take 6-8 weeks.


I have the following questions to ask tomorrow, feel free to add anything you think I should ask...

1) I am living with partner, we both receive 105 per week as we are both unemployed. How will the NEA scheme effect this payment?

2) My partner an I also receive housing benefit and council tax benefit. How will the NEA scheme effect this payment?

3) What are the exact conditions of the 1000 loan? APR, length of loan agreement, etc.

4) Should the business fail, what is the process of going back on to JSA until I find employment?

If anyone else is on the NEA scheme, feel free to share your thoughts
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# 12
skater_kat
Old 30-08-2011, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truegho View Post
I thought the jobcentre gave you a weekly payment for six months or so to get your business off the ground. I didn't know it was a loan that you had to pay back.
the job centre give you approx 65 per week allowance, IN ADDITION to a 1000 loan (apparently with cr*ppy terms)

what i;d like to know is do you get your 65 per week, then add on business earnings, and potentially WTC?

shaneo85, any ideas?
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# 13
honestinjun
Old 31-08-2011, 9:08 PM
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Default Problems with NEA - S Yorks

I've been messing about with this now for 6 weeks. Been and done the Business Plan with the mentors, had it approved. They now say I have to sign off jsa and onto the allowance scheme (65 a week) BEFORE I can apply for the 1000 loan (which is not guaranteed to be given) plus they do not know who is administering the loan or when. Big !!!! up already it seems.




Quote:
Originally Posted by shaneo85 View Post
Passed the interview (Step 2) as the advisor said my business idea was viable.

Given forms to fill out to apply for the 1000 loan, which can be paid back over 3 years at 10% APR. Also you only have to pay the interest in the first year, which works out at about 9 per month. After 12 months you have 2 more years to pay back the loan, but I'm going to pay the 1000 back at the end of the first year.

I asked how it would effect my JSA as I'm on a joint claim with my partner. He said it would actually benefit us more, as insted of getting 105 per week, I would now get 65 per week from the NEA and my partner would get 65 as a single JSA claim, so we're 25 better off per week. He said the NEA scheme has no effect on Housing/Council tax benefit.

Got another meeting with the NEA in 2 weeks to show them my business plan and get the ball rolling on the business. The loan is expected to take 3 weeks to come through.

All in all it seems like a very good scheme for those wanting to go it alone insted of looking for work.
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# 14
roguedesigner
Old 02-09-2011, 11:51 AM
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I have also been on this scheme since July and to be quite honest my experience of it has been one of disappointment and frustration. The initial eight week period is supposed to be set aside so that a business plan can be written with the help of a business mentor. I have seen my mentor twice since July and despite asking for assistance in several areas have received none at all.

At our first meeting, I was told that training and workshop sessions would be available to me through the NEA's own provider and immediately asked for a place on several of these. At the second meeting with my mentor, I was told that no training was being provided and if I felt that I needed any I would have to organise my own. That, in itself, is not a tremendous problem as Business Link provide very good support and training for start-ups, but it was less than useful to find this out so far into the initial eight week planning period. Bear in mind that by organising your own training, you are liable for the travel expenses involved as well. It's also worth mentioning that the government, in their wisdom, are virtually pulling the plug on Business Link in November and so the future availability of this excellent free resource is unclear.

In addition to what has been, at least in my experience, a shoddy support network, there is the matter of funding to consider. The total funding package consists of payments up to 2274; breaking this down, what you actually stand to receive consists of:
  • 65 per week for the first 13 weeks
  • 33 per week for a further 13 weeks
  • A loan of up to 1000 may be available (with an interest rate of 10% APR)

So almost half of the funding package is tied up in a loan that you are by no means guaranteed to receive, and for which you are not even able to apply until you have signed off JSA. In other words, you are encouraged to base a business plan on funding that you may not even get. That could be a very nasty surprise a short way down the line and given that many people who turn to the NEA will have little or no funding from other sources, being refused access to the loan could easily sink their business very quickly. I have been unable to find out whether any form of credit checking is carried out in regard to the loan, I would hope that this is not the case as many people who have been receiving JSA for the pre-requisite six month period may have an unpaid bill or two against their name.

My advice to anybody considering the NEA would be to try to find out the experiences of other people in your area of the scheme before committing yourself to it; I was an "early adopter" and was unable to do this. Certainly the impression that I get is that the NEA is a cash cow for the training providers rather than a service user centered scheme.
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# 15
Nyfle
Old 02-09-2011, 4:45 PM
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For those of you that are thinking about signing up to this scheme, I'd think very, very carefully before doing so. I was on the old scheme so my experiences may not all apply, but from reading this thread and from talking to others that are trying to go down the self-employment route, things don't seem to have changed much sadly.

Initially I was told that I'd be able to stay on JSA whilst developing my business idea and finalising my business plan. My adviser at the time told me that, as I was intending to sign off of JSA and move onto SEC, I wasn't required to keep looking for work as it'd be pointless, and that the steps I was taking to start my business were enough to satisfy my JSAg.

A couple of weeks later I was allocated a different adviser and informed that I'd been incorrectly advised and that I risked being sanctioned if I didn't continue to look for work. As I was close enough to being ready to sign off, I filled in my declaration and then filled out the SEC forms.

I was promised support, referred to BLIL (Business Link London), and told that I'd have 3 reviews whilst on SEC. I was also told that if I needed any extra support, all I had to do was contact BLIL or wait until one of my reviews at the Jobcentre.

In actuality, I got zero support. BLIL were great, but their funding had been heavily cut and were struggling, so I had to make do with what (admittedly excellent) information was available on their website and one very poorly put together seminar for new business start-ups. I also had no reviews at the Jobcentre, and when chased for appointments, I was told that the adviser who'd put my SEC claim through hadn't done so properly so I wasn't on their system, but that would be fixed and I'd be contacted.

Unsurprisingly I wasn't contacted; I didn't have a single review at the Jobcentre. It also took 8 weeks for me to actually receive any SEC, and by the time I did, I was struggling and in debt. Surviving on 2 weeks' JSA and a 100 job grant for 2 months whilst trying to run a business really wasn't fun.

To make matters worse, the clients I had managed to secure decided that they were unable to justify increased IT expenditure. After a few months of trying and failing to secure new clients, I gave up and made a new claim for JSA.

Fortunately I wasn't on JSA for long and things are going much better now. But the last 9 months have been a massive struggle, and really quite stressful and depressing. If I'd known then what I know now, I wouldn't have tried to better myself like that and would gone straight into further education instead.

If anyone here does sign up to this new NEA programme, be prepared. Be prepared that you might not get the level of support that you're told is available, and plan for the absolute worst so that you don't get any nasty surprises further down the line.
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Last edited by Nyfle; 02-09-2011 at 4:47 PM.
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# 16
BathGooner
Old 08-09-2011, 1:50 PM
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I went to the Job Centre Plus today hoping to get on NEA and was told they are only allowed to refer 2 CLIENTS A MONTH and therefore I couldn't join yet. My adviser really didn't help much and said they might have more info in 2 weeks when I go back.
Regarding the 'up to' 1000 loan I was told it IS based on your credit status and therefore rule out a lot of people with bad credit history.
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# 17
skater_kat
Old 08-09-2011, 2:24 PM
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it sounds awful!!
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# 18
roguedesigner
Old 08-09-2011, 2:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skater_kat View Post
it sounds awful!!
Eight weeks to come up with a viable business plan (which by default means you are also going to be creating a marketing plan) with zero support and the chance of a loan that is more expensive than your credit card? What's not to like?

This is my advice to anybody embarking upon this scheme;

Be prepared to become your own training provider. Get in touch with your local Chamber of Commerce and see what they have available in terms of free workshops and training. Although after November it will no longer be possible to speak to a real person at Business Link, there will still be a website; use it.

Ask hard questions of your NEA mentor. What qualifies them to mentor you? How much time will they actually be spending with you doing their job of helping you build a business plan? The powers that be are under the impression that you will see your mentor once a week, if they won't be committing to this call your regional provider and insist on a mentor who is committed. Remember that your local Chamber of Commerce also run mentoring schemes which are free and available to anybody starting a business.

Unless you have absolutely no other source of funding, forget the 1000 loan. The interest rate is scandalous and you are required to begin repayments the instant you start trading. There are better deals out there.
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# 19
shaneo85
Old 08-09-2011, 6:23 PM
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Sorry for the late reply, I've been working on my business and forgot about this thread

Just to confirm, you are paid 65 per week for 13 weeks and then 33 per week for the next 13 weeks.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the loan, so allow me to explain...

The loan of 1000 is provided by a third party loan provider (depending on your area), not the DWP. The loan is 10% APR but you only have to pay 9 per month back during the first year (interest only) and then it goes up to about 45 per month for the remaining 2 years.

The loan is based on your credit rating, but the loan providers are VERY understanding of bad credit and even accept people with CCJ's. I have very bad credit myself, no CCJ's but about 5 defaults and many missed payments and was still accepted.

For those worried about signing off JSA and then being refused for the loan, you can contact the loan provider BEFORE you sign off JSA and ask them if you will be accepted. This is what I did and was told it would be no problem and my loan has been processed today and is on it's way to my bank account.

My loan provider was very understanding that I was setting up on my own and assured me there were no hidden charges, no late payment fee's and if I have a quiet month, I can pay next month and even have payment holidays.

With regards to the training, I assume all trainers will be different. Mine is a nice chap but doesn't know squat about web design (my business). The mentors are more for business training rather than your chosen field training.

@Skater_Kat - You get the 65 per week AND whatever you make from your business on top. You could be making 100,000 per week and you would still get the 65 regardless. You can also get WTC but I think they are paid in accordance with what you're earning, but I'm still trying to find out about this

@Dane_Katie - The 1000 loan is from a third party loan provider.

@WPN - It's true what you say about paying back 9 per month when you're only getting 65 per week from NEA, but remember you're also supposed to be running a business and turning a profit. The 65 is for those quiet weeks when you might not have as much work.

@Bathgooner - you are paid the 65 per week regardless of how much you make from your business.
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# 20
shaneo85
Old 10-09-2011, 10:20 AM
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So has anyone else signed up to the scheme?
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