Not sure if your business idea is viable? Try Test Trading and ease your way in

test trading shopTest trading is a government initiative to help entrepreneurs come off benefits and become self employed. The leap into self employment is a bold move for any disabled person on benefits, as recent Government policies on benefits have made some disabled people nervous about the future. In recent years people who have come off their benefits to go on Government schemes have found it difficult to get back on the same benefits they were used to. This uncertainty has led many disabled people to be distrusting of Government schemes aimed to help people back into employment.

Test Trading is a scheme which assists with this problem. By joining the Test Trading scheme an entrepreneur can effectively trade for 6 months and still receive their benefits. At the end of the 6 months the person can decide whether to stop trading and remain on their benefits or to carry on trading and come off their benefits. There are some advantages and disadvantages we will discuss later.

To join the scheme budding entrepreneurs will need to contact their DEA Disability Employment Adviser to find out if Test Trading is available in their area. If the scheme is available then your DEA should signpost you to your nearest provider, who will enrol you on the scheme.

There are 3 stages to Test Trading

Stage 1

This will be a meeting between you and a business adviser to discuss your business plans. The adviser will give you support in writing your business plan and will assess what other support you may need.

Stage 2

At this stage you will be developing your business plan, looking for grants and applying for Access to Work.

Stage 3

This is where you will start your business and have your full benefits for 26 weeks. There will be continual support from your business adviser on a weekly basis, via face to face meetings or via the telephone.

Hopefully at the end of the 26 weeks your business will be stable enough to support you and you will come off your benefits.

Before you finish Test Trading you will need to work with your DEA to see if you are eligible for Working Tax Credits, which could offer you further financial support. Test Trading is just one route a disabled person can take when wishing to start up in business. Permitted Work from the Job Centre, Working Tax Credits and starting a Limited Company are other ways to gain financial support whilst starting up in business.

5 Responses to “Not sure if your business idea is viable? Try Test Trading and ease your way in”

  • christina murphy:

    I went to my advisor who knew nothing about this scheme. She said because my disbabled twins were 16 years old I would not be eliligle for anything. When I told her I heard of the new deal scheme for people like me she knew nothing but would get back to me which she has not. Who should I now ask for to see please? I do want to work but can’t do a 9 tiol 5 pm because my severely disabled children take up all my time day and night but I came up with a brilliantr self employed idea which i think would work and asked about teast trading which again she knew nothing about and didn’t know who would. Just that i would be on my own and sorry. There must be some support like the articles say on this site.


  • Brendan:

    This is a very helpful resource. Thanks. Hopefully I will be able to repay the favour by augmenting it at some point.

  • Dora Marques:

    hello. I think start work for my self. my idea is a taxi driver. because i like drive ,and i have good experience in this work. I need by new car,get licence for taxi driver. i have my driver licence about 18 years. please can help find help for start my bussines. thank you

  • David:

    I am too disabled/ill to guarantee attendance at a weekly meeting, if I could do that some of my DLA would definately be stopped. Disability advisors in my experience are uninformed and usually send people away with negative feelings about trying to get into work due to financial repercussions. That is if they even bother turning up for meetings with the disabled person (3 out of 4 times I turned up but they didn't). Anyone willing to advise me on another route into self employment.

  • Mike:

    Hi David

    Have you looked into Permitted Work? If you are eligible then it could suit your situation.

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