LSC’s NES evaluation now published

Thursday 10th January 2008
The Learning and Skills Council demonstrates resounding success for its New Entrepreneur Scholarship programme
Helping people in disadvantaged areas to start in business

The Learning and Skills Council has today published an evaluation of its New Entrepreneur Scholarships (NES) programme. The £6 million programme has six years experience in helping people in the most disadvantaged areas of the English regions set up successful and sustainable businesses and the results of the evaluation highlight how much of a positive impact the programme has had since its inception.

People from disadvantaged areas and backgrounds often have the ideas and ambition to succeed in business, but many find it hard to get support and finance relevant to their needs. The New Entrepreneur Scholarships programme has helped 5500 individuals living in the 25% most deprived areas of England overcome these difficulties – by providing a comprehensive package of training, support, mentoring and funding to encourage and support the start-up and growth of new businesses. Funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and managed by The National Federation of Enterprise Agencies, The Association of Business Schools (ABS) and The Prince’s Trust, the programme is based on the specific needs of the scholars, works closely with universities and draws on specialised skills of business support organisations.

Glenn Robinson, Support to Business Development Director at the Learning and Skills Council, said: “The findings from the independent evaluation of the New Entrepreneur Scholarship programme show that the programme is reaching disadvantaged individuals and is helping them to acquire the skills that they need to start a business venture.”

The research highlights that the NES programme has a fundamental part to play in the success of new business start up and reducing economic inactivity and unemployment, with 75% of NES scholars going on to start their own business within three months of completing the programme. These businesses have an extremely high start up and survival rate with
94% still in business after a year, 86% after three years and 76% after five years. Of the few
scholars that never start a business, or one that doesn’t continue, around half (47%) enter or return to employment.

The research also shows that the programme has great success in reaching the most disadvantaged groups with 59% of NES scholars classed as unemployed or economically inactive at the start of the course. Other scholar profiles include those with a disability (10%)
as well as individuals that are functioning as lone parents (16%).

At a time when policy makers are encouraging the support of women in enterprise, NES can
also confirm that 46% of its scholars are female – and with 30% of those on the programme
describing themselves as non white, NES can demonstrate that it reaches out and engages with a range of ethnic groups.

George Derbyshire, CEO at the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies, the lead
management partner for NES programme delivery, said: “We have always believed that the New Entrepreneur Scholarships programme hits the spot in terms of reaching disadvantaged areas of the population and that it delivers a highly effective business start up programme. We welcome this independent assessment; it clearly establishes the value and impact of the programme and it is a base from which we can development further.”

The results of the New Entrepreneur Scholarships Programme evaluation are hugely positive and demonstrate that the scheme has a significant part to play in the support and
development of new businesses for those in disadvantaged areas and backgrounds.

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