Jobseekers are given a head start in business

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Hundreds of jobseekers in Sheffield have started up their own businesses with the help of a Government scheme.

Figures from the Department of Work and Pensions reveal 440 people have set up their own companies since the New Enterprise Allowance was introduced in 2011.

The initiative offers unemployed people expert mentoring and grants to give wannabe entrepreneurs a kick-start in their chosen field.

Everything from gourmet chocolate businesses to internet games design houses have been set up in the past two years thanks to the scheme.

Sheffield food lover Inga Dirziute found out about the New Enterprise Allowance after losing employment and visiting the city’s Jobcentre Plus for help.

With the help of advisers, she drafted a business plan to become self-employed and has since gone on to set up her catering and confectionery firm the Wholefood Café.

Inga said: “I’m not saying planning and preparing to start my business was easy – there was a lot of hard work involved – but the help I’ve received through the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme has been fantastic.

“When I got the keys for my business premises I was so excited.

“It’s a great feeling when you realise dreams do come true if you want something.

“I don’t think I would have been able to achieve so much without the support I’ve had from them and from my mentor.”

Mark Hoban, employment minister, said: “In Sheffield, 440 jobseekers have set up their own business, and I hope many more will follow.

“The scheme is a great example of the Government offering support to people with ideas, as well as the ‘can-do’ attitude to turn them into successful enterprises.”