Almost 2,000 new businesses were set up by people taking part in the New Enterprise Allowance scheme in Tayside and Fife in the last decade.
The UK government programme provides jobless entrepreneurs with a personal business mentor and a weekly living allowance.
Applicants can also apply for financial backing of up to £25,000 to help with building up their businesses.
Between 2011 and 2020, 1,980 businesses were launched in the region.
More than half 1,050 – were in Fife. Another 330 were in Perth and Kinross, 360 in Dundee and 240 in Angus.
Across Scotland, 13,000 businesses were set up.
The scheme is open to people aged over 18 if they or a partner receive Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance, as well as people receiving Income Support and people who are lone parents, sick or disabled
Successful candidates can get a weekly allowance worth up to £1,274 over 26 weeks, as well as loans to help with start-up costs.
Alexander Stewart, Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, said the data provided some encouragement amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This remains a challenging time for families across the country but whether people are looking for a new job or a new source of income, these newly released figures demonstrate that there is light at the end of the tunnel”, he said.
“Jobcentre staff are there to help and can open doors to new opportunities, like the support offered through the UK Government’s New Enterprise Allowance, and I encourage anyone with an entrepreneurial dream of starting their own business to contact their work coach and discuss how to turn their business idea into a reality.
“This is exactly the sort of innovative support we need as we rebuild the economy and drive recovery, building back better from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, Pete Wishart said the news was extremely welcome.
“We always hear about the support that Jobcentre Plus provide in helping people to get back into work, but we often overlook the support that they can also provide to help people set up their own business,” he said.
“We have an extremely diverse workforce and it is important that we recognise that traditional 9-5 work is not suitable or desirable for all, so it is really welcome to see people getting this support to be their own boss.”