Can Government Programs Support Self-Employment?

Mathematica Examines Efforts to Help Workers Launch Businesses, Create Jobs
Feb 17, 2017

In a study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Mathematica Policy Research explored how states refined their Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) programs or established new programs. Designed to support entrepreneurial efforts, SEA programs help qualifying recipients of Unemployment Insurance set up a business in lieu of seeking a new job. The programs provide a weekly self-employment allowance and typically partner with other organizations to provide participants with important business development supports, including counseling, mentoring, or training.

Learn more about states’ motivation for establishing SEA programs, states’ experiences with implementing them, and the outcomes of SEA participants and their businesses in the full report, “A Study of the Self-Employment Assistance Program: Helping Unemployed Workers Pursue Self-Employment.”

Mathematica is also evaluating another DOL self-employment initiative, the Self-Employment Training (SET) Demonstration. Established in 2013, the SET Demonstration seeks to give participants access to intensive business development services for up to 12 months and up to $1,000 in microgrants. Learn more about this study.


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