Stephen Metcalf, 56, who lives near Durham, is one entrepreneur who benefited from the programme after he was made redundant and decided to turn his life-long passion for photography into a business.
Debbie Simpson at CDC Enterprise Agency offered him support and helped him to access support on finance, marketing and networking.
Two months after launching his business he won a contract with an online car company, and now works across the entire North East region.
Stephen said: “I was down when I was first made redundant but one of things I’ve learnt from it is not to panic.
“I could have quite easily jumped back into a steady, more mundane job, but by taking my time working with Debbie, I had a look at different options.
“I’d always contemplated started my photography business but I never had the courage. Now I’m working flat out and loving it.”
In County Durham, four enterprise agencies worked together to deliver the New Enterprise Allowance Programme, as members of the North East Enterprise Agency Ltd, in partnership with JobCentrePlus, which provided financial support to the businesses.
Joe Murray, of CDC Enterprise Agency said: “It’s fantastic to see that County Durham’s enterprising spirit is alive and well within our communities.
“We’ve supported a wide range of individuals from all walks of life who have found themselves out of work in recent times; the support of the agencies along with the generous assistance of our dedicated volunteer mentors gives new businesses in the county the best possible start.”
Paul McEldon, chairman of the North East Enterprise Agency Ltd, said: “We’re delighted to have played a part in this significant achievement for County Durham.
“Our Durham enterprise agency members have provided invaluable business advice to help each of these businesses start up, we wish them all every success in the future.”
Start-up support from the NEA is available to people aged 18 and over and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support claimants who are lone parents or who are sick, and some Universal Credit claimants.
After showing their business idea is viable, NEA participants are eligible for a weekly allowance worth up to £1,274 over 26 weeks for claimants to establish their start-up.