Frequently asked questions
New Enterprise Allowance (NEA)
What is the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme?
The NEA scheme is a business support programme offered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It aims to help those claiming certain unemployment benefits to become self-employed. If you complete the NEA scheme and your business starts trading, you can receive a weekly allowance valued up to a total of £1,274 over a 26 week period (the final amount may vary based on other benefits you are receiving).
The Start Up Loans Company works closely with the NEA scheme and although both schemes are dedicated to supporting individuals to start their own business, they are separate entities. If you would like to apply for support from the NEA scheme, please talk to your local Job Centre Plus or visit the government website to find out more.
How do I apply for a Start Up Loan through the NEA scheme?
If you are not already registered on the NEA scheme then you will need to do this first. Speak to your local Job Centre Plus who will be able to advise you whether you are eligible to participate in the NEA scheme and give you more information about how to get started.
If you are eligible, you will be assigned to an NEA Mentoring Provider in your local area who will work with you for a period of eight weeks to produce a Business Plan. Please note, NEA Mentoring Providers are administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and are not affiliated with the Start Up Loans Company.
At the end of the eight weeks, your NEA Mentoring Provider will assess the viability of your Business Plan. If they believe your business is viable, they will approve your Business Plan and you will be eligible to begin claiming the weekly NEA allowance. At this point, you will also be eligible to apply for a Start Up Loan.
If you would like to apply for a Start Up Loan please fill out this form. Before getting started on your application, please contact your NEA Mentoring Provider to ensure you satisfy the conditions.
My business plan has been signed off by my NEA Mentoring Provider. Does this mean I have been approved for a Start Up Loan?
No, your Start Up Loan application is separate to your NEA Business Plan. A Start Up Loan application takes into account your credit worthiness, personal affordability and overall business viability in order to determine whether a Start Up Loan is appropriate for you and your business.
Once your NEA Mentoring Provider has signed off your Business Plan, you will be able to apply for a Start Up Loan using our application form. Before getting started on your application, please contact your NEA Mentoring Provider to ensure you satisfy the conditions.
Please note, when applying for a Start Up Loan, you can use your existing Business Plan as part of the process but a credit check will need to be completed. You may also be required to provide extra documentation before a decision can be made on your loan application.
If I’m an NEA participant, how much money can I apply for?
NEA participants may apply for a Start Up Loan between £500 and £25,000 using their signed-off NEA Business Plan. However, it is important to note that completing the DWP NEA Mentoring Scheme does not mean you will automatically receive a Start Up Loan and that loans are granted in increments of £500.
Start Up Loans over £5,000 have a different assessment criteria. You will still be able to use your NEA Business Plan however you may be required to update it with further information. We recommend you consult with your NEA Mentoring Provider first to get more information about the right approach for you.
Can I apply for finance through any Start Up Loans Delivery Partner if I am participating in the NEA Scheme?
No, you must apply for a Start Up Loan through our online form. This is in order to avoid you repeating the work that has already been done with your NEA Mentoring Provider. If you would like to apply for a Start Up Loan, contact your NEA Mentoring Provider who will tell you whether or not you have satisfied the conditions to apply for a Start Up Loan and, if not, when you will be eligible to apply. If you are eligible, your NEA Mentoring Provider will advise you on how to commence your application.
If I have previously been declined for a Start Up Loan, can I still apply to participate in the NEA scheme?
Yes, you may apply to the NEA scheme if you have previously been declined for a Start Up Loan. You will need to discuss whether you are eligible for the NEA scheme with your local Jobcentre Plus.
However, please be aware that even if you are accepted on to the NEA scheme, there is no guarantee that if you re-apply for a Start Up Loan in the future it will be approved. You will need to wait at least three months from your initial decline before reapplying. This period is designed to give you time to review and improve upon any areas of your application that prevented you from securing a Start Up Loan previously.
As part of this reassessment, you will need to be able to demonstrate that your circumstances have changed or that you have addressed the concerns that were raised in your initial decline letter. You will be required to submit updated personal and business documents and undergo any checks required by the scheme.
If my application for a Start Up Loan is declined, can I re-apply through another Delivery Partner?
No. you must apply for a Start Up Loan through our online form. This is in order to avoid you repeating the work that has already been done with your NEA Mentoring Provider. In these instances, you will likely need to do some additional work on your application in order to address any areas that caused the application to be declined in the first place.
If you have any questions or require further assistance, please contact our Customer Service team who will be able to assist you.