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From Unemployed to Self-Employed

OPB | Sept. 28, 2011 9:40 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 10:41 p.m.

In the past, we’ve talked to entrepreneurs who have been laid off and, instead of seeking new jobs, tried to get their dream businesses off the ground. One of the challenges to starting a new business after losing your job is you can’t collect unemployment unless you’re actively seeking a new position.

Oregon, along with six other states, has an alternative for unemployed entrepreneurs. It’s called the Self Employment Assistance Program, and it’s serving as a model for an aspect of President Obama’s American Jobs Act. The program is available to qualified candidates in lieu of traditional unemployment benefits. It allows recipients to forgo searching for another job in order to devote resources toward starting up their own businesses.

The President’s broader job plan has faced criticism, but the self-employment assistance program is gaining positive attention. Oregon’s plan has created at least 100 businesses and over 300 employees. What can the federal plan learn from Oregon’s example?

Have you benefited from the Self Employment Assistance Program? Do you think its a good idea?

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