Minister Calls for More Entrepreneurs from Ethnic Minorities


‘Help Them to Become Their Own Boss’

Budding entrepreneurs from all ethnic backgrounds are being encouraged to take advantage of a scheme to help them to become their own boss, as new figures show that so far it has helped to set up around 5,600 businesses led by people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.


Across the country, 46,000 businesses have been set up through the New Enterprise Allowance, which offers expert mentoring and financial support to people on Jobseeker’s Allowance, lone parents and people on sickness benefits who want to start up their own business.


Over 3,000 businesses have been set up by people describing themselves as black or black British, and over 1,200 by people who are Asian or Asian British. Businesses led by people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds include motivational seminars, a pastry shop and a counselling service.


Minister for Employment Esther McVey said: “The continuing success of Great Britain is built on the hard work and ingenuity of small businesses up and down the country, so it’s great that as part of the Government’s long-term economic plan we’ve been able to mentor thousands of people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to help make their dreams of becoming their own boss a reality.


“As the economy continues to grow this new generation of entrepreneurs may well go on to create the jobs of tomorrow, and I would call on even more people from diverse backgrounds to take advantage of an expert mentor to get their business ideas off the ground. My message is don’t miss out on your chance to turn be in control of your own business and secure your future.”


The New Enterprise Allowance is available to people over 18 who are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, lone parents on Income Support, or people on Employment and Support Allowance in the work-related activity group.


People on the scheme get expert help and advice from a business mentor who will help them to develop their business idea and write a business plan. If the business plan is approved, they are eligible for financial support payable through a weekly allowance over 26 weeks up to a total of £1,274. 


Participants can also access a loan through the BIS start-up loan scheme.

Mentors also continue to give the budding entrepreneurs on-going support during the early months of trading.


There are an estimated 300,000 ethnic minority-led small and medium sized enterprises in Britain, contributing an estimated £30 billion to the national economy.


NEA ambassador and former Dragon’s Den star Levi Roots, said: “Being your own boss is great – it can be really hard work, but it’s well worth it, so I would encourage jobseekers to ask their Jobcentre Plus adviser about the New Enterprise Allowance. It’s a great scheme that offers expert mentoring and cash to support you while you’re starting up.”


Alvin Arscott, from Handsworth in the West Midlands, had been long-term unemployed, until he got help from NEA to set up his own pattie company. NEA helped him buy machinery and find premises and he now sells his pastries at Afro-Caribbean shops and fast-food retail units across the West Midlands.


Alvin Arscott, owner of Tasty Patties, said: “The NEA is an amazing way to help you start a business. The dedicated mentor really helped me turn my ideas into a reality. I would urge more black and ethnic minorities to find out how it can help you.”


Case studies


Nasir Unia from Birmingham


Former Gulf War veteran Nasir Unia set up Major Motivator, a team of serving and former military personnel who use their unique experiences to deliver motivational seminars and success coaching sessions. Interest in his company has been so great that Nasir works in schools and colleges across the UK inspiring young minds to overcome their challenges and live up to their full potential.


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