Federal Self Employment Assistance Program Can Help Unemployed Entrepreneurs

by Joanne Steele on September 20, 2012


I heard recently about a young woman who had been laid off from a good well paying job. You probably know a few like her. She’s well educated, smart, with a great entrepreneurial spark. She’s a real asset to her small rural community.

lemonade stand

But if getting a different job is her only option, we’re going to lose her to a nearby big city where there are more job options. She has a great idea for a business, but with all the travel required to search for work, where’s the time to flesh out this idea and actually create that business?

This is the latest obstacle that is driving young people away from rural communities, and there is a great solution!

I received an email from the California Association of Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO) asking for my support for their Help Unemployed BeYourOwnBoss campaign.

Read on – This might be the solution for young people (and some not so young) in your state.

There is a Federal Program that is supposed to help unemployed people qualify for unemployment benefits while working to start their own business.

It’s called the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEA).

It’s been around for ages and with all the pain this recession has caused for good people, few states have yet to adopt it. There is even financial incentives to do so and still, few states have adopted it or implemented!

Check out this article by Senator Ron Wyden about the success of the SEA program in Oregon.

Entrepreneurs can get unemployment benefits while working to create their own business.

This is the brilliance of this program. Unemployed entrepreneurs can focus all their energies on building a small business while getting those unemployment checks they and their families need to survive.

And, they can get the help they need to be successful by working with their local microenterprise assistance association. (Getting some business startup assistance is part of the SEA deal)

In California you can go to CAMEO to find the closest business startup assistance.

In Nebraska, you can go to Rural Enterprise Assistance Project

In Arkansas, you can go to Arkansas Small Business Technology Development Center

In Oregon, you can go to Rural Development Initiatives

Getting into a SEA program isn’t guaranteed.

Few states have adopted the program and applied for a share of the federal funds. So you might need to rattle some local cages.

This program is for people who have lost a job and qualify for unemployment insurance, not for everyone wanting to start a business.

At Self Employment Ideas, you can find out about Self Employment Assistance Programs in the few states that have passed necessary legislation. You can also learn about who to contact to find out why your state isn’t participating!

If you live in California, please go to CAMEO’s petition and sign. There is $5.3 million dollars in federal funds that could be helping California entrepreneurs!

How much money is your state losing out on?

If you are involved in microenterprise assistance in any other state, please leave your organization’s name and contact information in comments. Let’s get some help for new entrepreneurs.

Another link to good information:

I found a very helpful pdf at the CFED.org website: New Federal Funding to Serve Unemployed Entrepreneurs in Your Community

photo on flickr by Robert S Donovan. This young entrepreneur made $6 in one hour in November! Let’s hope programs will be in place to help her keep building her dreams close to home!

1 Tourism Tim Warren September 26, 2012 at 6:41 am

Great article and help Joeanne for future tourism entrepreneurs.

Well done.

I support this fully. Please let me know your contact so I can help promote this too,

Will we see you at the OneWorld Travel Mart in San Francisco 9/27 & 9/28? I am doing a workshop on ” How to get your clients selling for you 24/7 online”.

TO your success, Tourism Tim

2 Joanne Steele September 26, 2012 at 9:24 am

Thanks Tim, Your help getting this out to California business folks would be fantastic! check out the CAMEO links in this article, and send them on to your readers. Rural entrepereneurship = rural tourism in so many cases, and tourism is your thing!

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