Hundreds of people became their own boss every week over the last year after receiving support from a government scheme.
More than 450 new businesses were set up each week in 2014 through the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA), which supports people including jobseekers and lone parents.
Figures published on 19 December revealed that the NEA has helped entrepreneurs set up over 60,000 new businesses, with help from a mentor and financial support payable through a weekly allowance.
They include more than 4,000 young people, over 11,000 disabled people and more than 14,000 over-50s, who have all been helped to turn their hobbies into businesses.
Businesses supported by the scheme include a designer wedding dress-maker and a computer-aided design business that laser cuts model aircraft.
People on the scheme receive advice from a business mentor, who helps them to develop their business idea and write a business plan.
If their 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 a government start-up loan scheme.
From the new year, NEA will be extended to the partners of anyone who is claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance. The scheme will also be extended to more people on sickness benefits.
Link: New Enterprise Allowance