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.

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Kendra Bruckner