Lending directly to small businesses to create entrepreneurship scholarships

The University of Huddersfield has lent to over 2,000 UK small businesses through Funding Circle, thanks to a partnership where the University became the first to lend directly to businesses through a lending platform. Launched in 2013, the tie-up has created opportunities for students through entrepreneurship scholarships. Professor Bob Cryan, Vice-Chancellor at the University said: “I was originally drawn to Funding Circle because I felt that the platform’s innovative approach to investments and small businesses was a strong match to the ethos of the University.” 

Four years on, the University continues to lead the way in this area, having committed a further £1 million to the programme in 2014 after the initial investment of £100,000. One of the local businesses that has benefitted from the University’s lending is Ushiwear, a British clothing brand launched by husband-and-wife team Neil and Jilly Kapusi. The passionate duo were able to build on their success and go for growth after accessing finance through the platform.

Neil Kapusi, co-founder and COO of Ushiwear

“The capital injection from the University through Funding Circle has allowed Ushiwear to grow exponentially. We’re now currently in the process of a complete brand overhaul with everything from a new website, to a new shop, to new product lines. We’ve been able to invest in new equipment, boost our advertising and marketing and expand our team.” said Neil.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?
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Your February Review – Insight and Analysis


Last month Funding Circle investors, like you, lent over £117 million to UK businesses to help them grow and develop.

Dive in below for your monthly analysis and read the latest blog by Simon Read, a personal finance expert. With extensive experience in helping people making the most of their money, Simon discusses saving for your summer holiday.


Last month, you and other investors helped businesses to take new opportunities, create new jobs and drive energy into the UK economy. Thank you for your continued support!


Read between the lines: Saving for your summer holiday

Are the short nights and cold days making you want to book a holiday away in the sun? Dive in for Simon Read’s top tips for ensuring you can plan and save efficiently for the holiday you’ve been dreaming of.


These graphs show the most recent activity on our platform.

You’ve helped more than 9,700 small businesses access finance in the last 6 months…



Totalling over £650 million lent



January 2018 sector breakdown

Amount lent to each sector


January 2018 regional breakdown

Amount lent to each UK region



As part of lending to businesses, a small percentage will not be able to fully repay their loan. This is known as bad debt and is a normal part of business lending. We believe diversification, where you lend no more than 1% of your total to each business, is the best way to reduce the impact this has on your return. Our automatic lending tool will help you diversify by splitting your investment across lots of businesses. We suggest lending £2,000 or more, so you can lend to at least 100 businesses, with no more than 1% going to each one.  

Each week, we publish a list of the loans being defaulted on the Customer support section of our website under ‘Announcements.’ To see a breakdown of the loans defaulted last week simply click on loans defaulted 2nd February 2018For further information on why Funding Circle defaults loans you can read our FAQ here.



You can also read more about how our collections and recoveries process works (part one and part two) on our blog.

Up next in February we’ll be looking at the impact your lending is having on the UK economy and bringing to life some of the businesses you’ve helped access finance.

As always, if you have any questions or comments our dedicated team are here to help. And if you have any further suggestions we’d love to hear them.

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team

*Data from CEBR report

This blog is a general summary, and should not replace financial advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice. If you have any questions, please speak to your professional advisor or seek independent specialist advice.

Read between the lines: Saving for your summer holiday

We regularly bring you a column from Simon Read, a personal finance expert with extensive experience in helping people make the most of their money. In his last piece, Simon looked at the cost of Christmas.

If you’re like me, the depressing weather at this time of year will make you want to have something good to look forward to – a holiday in the sun! And knowing that in a few months you could be sitting poolside sipping a cocktail, or exploring that old ruin with the sun in your eyes, is a good way to help cope with the shorter nights and rainy days.

But assuming you want – like me – to have a fantastic summer holiday to look forward to, the question is, how to pay for it? The easiest and most convenient way is to simply put it on the credit card. You can worry about paying for it later but, if you’ve been sensible, you’ll have a piece of plastic that gives you cashback or loyalty points. If you’re splashing out a couple of grand on a decent holiday, think how much cashback that’ll net you!

But, and it’s a big but, if you don’t pay off credit card debt right away, you end up being stung by high interest. And that could mean putting your dream trip on plastic proves a costly mistake. If you can’t pay off the whole amount in one go, you could box clever by opening a card with a 0% deal and transferring the debt to that. However, that’s not taking account of the balance transfer fee. Many cards charge 3% for that so if you transferred £2,000 you’d have to pay out £60 for the privilege.

So maybe sticking the holiday on a credit card is not such a good idea. In fact it’s a lousy one. The simplest and easiest way to pay for a holiday is to plan for it. You know you’re going to go away in the summer so start saving for it months ahead. In fact the best way to pay for a holiday is to have a regular savings habit into a holiday account. Work out how much you plan to spend on your breaks each year and stash a 12th of the total away each month.

That should mean that paying for trips is painless. But it does mean planning; not just planning your saving but also your spending. You know when you have big costs coming up, annual insurances or council tax for instance, as well as holidays. Your saving plan should take account of your spending needs so that you can cope with big costs without having to dip into the red or use an expensive credit card.

In other words, think about what you’re saving for in 2018. For long-term savings you want to find the best possible return on your cash, which will mean being happy about making the most of peer-to-peer opportunities, or bonds. But for short-term savings where you know you will need the cash in a matter of months, you should keep it in an account that is easy to access. That will mean sacrificing decent returns for paltry ones, but is the price you have to pay.

Sorting savings into short-term and long-term is a good way to start a sensible savings plan.

That’s especially important as it means that once you’ve accounted for all your short-term needs, for holidays and bills and so on, the rest of the cash you have available to put in a nest egg can be used to get better returns. And that will leave you laughing all the way to the river bank or beach, depending on your chosen holiday.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not represent those of Funding Circle. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice.

The information and views contained here are provided solely for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal, tax, regulatory, accounting or investment advice, or as a recommendation or an offer or invitation by Funding Circle.

To the extent permitted by law, Funding Circle does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of, or reliance on, such information contained here.

If you have any questions, please speak to your professional adviser or seek independent specialist advice.