New support for business announced

THE government hopes its New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) will help create 40,000 new businesses by 2013.

The Allowance which will help unemployed people set up their own businesses will be rolled out nationwide from autumn, following a trial scheme on Merseyside.

The NEA will be available to twice as many people as was originally planned. It will give people who have been unemployed financial support for their early months of self-employment, access to a start-up loan, and an expert business mentor to help guide them through the early months of their business.

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In order to claim the allowance they will need to develop a business plan, and secure the agreement of their proposed mentor that it is viable.

The government has also announced what it calls significant changes to the way information, guidance and advice to business is provided with more focus on improving small business performance and growth and a greater emphasis on further and better private sector provision.

These moves include :

> An overhaul of the website providing online business information and tools tailored to the needs of business. This will include a number of key features:

> A Business Startup Hub, including access to online company registration

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> Notification of public procurement opportunities through a “Contracts Finder”

> A business tax ‘dashboard’ enabling businesses to get set up for tax and keep up with their tax position

> Better, clearer information on government regulation

> New training services and online tools for business to use on the move from their own computer or handheld

> A national contact centre to help businesses who cannot find the information they need on the web or who are not connected to the internet

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> A network of at least 40,000 experienced business mentors offering practical advice to existing businesses and people who want to start a business

> Business Coaching for Growth, backing high growth SMEs to enable them to realise their potential

Prime Minister David Cameron said: It is vital that we ensure businesses, and those people who find themselves out of work but have the drive and desire to set up their own business, have all the advice, support and mentoring they need. Together we can make the years ahead some of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial in our history.”