From January it will be even easier to start your business if you’re unemployed – Varadkar

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From January it will be even easier to start your business if you’re unemployed – Varadkar 

3 January 2017

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From the start of January it will be even easier to start your own business if you’re unemployed, Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has confirmed.

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance helps unemployed and long-term unemployed people to go into business for themselves, by allowing them to retain some of their welfare benefits while setting up their new business.

And from January 1st, the qualifying period has come down from one year to nine months for anyone on Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance. This measure was brought in by Minister Varadkar as part of Budget 2017.

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance is a very successful scheme with 11,881 people taking part in 2015, and a similar success rate expected in the year gone by.

"The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance is a fantastic scheme which allows people to retain a proportion of their social welfare payment over two years, along with secondary benefits. The best way to help anyone on welfare to improve their circumstances is with a job. And if they are able to start their own business, and potentially become an employer of other people, that’s an even better outcome," Minister Varadkar said.

The allowance is paid on a reducing scale over a two year period, i.e. 100% of a person's social welfare payment is paid in year one and 75% in year two.

The Department also offers the Short-term Enterprise Allowance which allows a new entrant to Jobseeker’s Benefit to commence self-employment as soon as they become unemployed.

These self-employment supports aim to assist individuals into self-employment and make this a viable and sustainable option. Those interested are referred from Intreo to their Local Development Company which talks through their options, exploring the viability of their business idea, preparing a business plan and application. Once accepted onto the scheme these new businesses can then avail of the supports and mentoring from the Department of Social Protection Case Officer and Local Development Company over the two years of the scheme.


Last modified:03/01/2017