The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) scheme encourages people getting certain social welfare payments to become self-employed.
The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) scheme encourages people getting certain social welfare payments to become self-employed. If you take part in the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme you can keep a percentage of your social welfare payment for up to 2 years.
The main beneficiaries are people who are on social welfare payments who wish to become self-employed.
You can qualify for a Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) if you are:
1) Setting up as self-employed in a business that has been approved in advance in writing by a DSP case officer or Local Development Company
2) Getting Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit for at least 9 months or a qualified payment for at least 12 months.
In addition to income support, you can also get financial support with the costs of setting up your business.
The main stakeholders are the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection and the Local Development Companies. In Kerry, the Local Development Companies are South Kerry Development Partnership CLG (SKDP) & North, East & West Kerry Development CLG (NEWKD).
Expenditure nationally on the Allowance in 2016 was €126.2m (11,400 participants nationwide).
Evidence of success
In December 2016, there were approximately 11,400 participants on the BTWEA, which is broadly similar to the previous 5 years. In the Kerry Region, there were 390 participants in 2016 which represents a 9.3% of the live register.
Given the socio-economic backgrounds of the individuals the scheme supports, the 2-year time period for support is a relatively short timeframe to facilitate these individuals establish viable entreprises.
Potential for learning or transfer
The scheme has proven itself as an effective mechanism for supporting individuals who are unemployed/long-term unemployed to access self- employment opportunities. The fact that participants retain their social security/welfare benefits for a two year period whilst pursuing their enterprise goals provides a significant encouragement to those who are unemployed to explore self- employment opportunities that they might otherwise not do. They noted the additional incentive or confidence that this support provided them with, enabled them to take the risk and establish their businesses. Given that the participants are coming from the ranks of the unemployed – they do not have the required financial resources to go it alone and establish a business and completely forego their social security/welfare entitlements. This scheme addresses that need and gap and in doing so provides an effective mechanism for supporting those who are unemployed/long-term unemployed to access self-employment.