Winners of unemployed-to-self-employed business awards named

Companies started by New Enterprise Allowance beneficiaries recognised at Ixion Enterprise Awards

A group of 16 early stage small businesses started by former job seekers celebrated wins at the inaugural Ixion Enterprise Awards 2013 in Westminster yesterday.

Created by the government’s New Enterprise Allowance scheme in partnership with business support service Ixion Holdings, the scheme seeks to help those over 18 on Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support or Employment Support Allowance to become self-employed and set up their own company.

The New Enterprise Allowance scheme works in conjunction with local Jobcentres which refer potential candidates to Ixion to evaluate the viability of the idea as well as providing business advice and mentoring.

Once the entrepreneur has had their idea approved they receive a total package of support from the government of up to £2,274 to get their business started.

Attended by over 100 guests including the secretary of state for work and pensions Ian Duncan Smith, the awards recognised the scheme’s most successful participants presenting 17 awards to 16 different organisations.

Social enterprise Learn2 Listen founded in 2008 by Chris Carter after helping a care leaver to realise his potential and tell his story to others was named as the South London Enterprise of the Year and Best Professional Services.

An individual award of Young Entrepreneur of the Year was granted to Sam Edkins for his eponymous furniture business, which specialises in anatomically correct chairs.

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Other businesses recognised included Natural by Nature for Best Retail Business, Driver CPC Training & Compliance Ltd for Best Trade Service Business, Hooray Entertainment for Best Hospitality Business and  R3V3R3NT Skateboards and TCA Men’s Couture  for Joint Best Creative Business.

Chief executive of Ixion Holdings, John Govett commented:

“Today we recognised some outstanding small businesses across the county all brought to fruition with the help and support of the New Enterprise Allowance.

Secretary of state, Duncan Smith added:

“The New Enterprise Allowance is one way in which this Government is […] (supporting budding entrepreneurs): offering mentoring and financial assistance to unemployed people who aspire to get on in life and are prepared to work hard.

“We have already seen thousands of successful businesses established through the scheme, and it is inspiring to hear the stories of the individual prize-winners today.”



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