Six of Britain’s best beaches: where to eat, drink and sleep

With just over a month of summer left, it’s time to pack those picnic blankets and head for the beach! With the pound at a record low, stats reveal that 55% of British adults will be holidaying in the UK this year and enjoying the beautiful selection of beaches we have right on our doorstep.

Starting in stunning north-east Scotland, we’ll make our way across the country right down to the breathtaking coastline of Cornwall, enjoying the sand between our toes at each stop. Along the way we’ll visit six local businesses where you can go for a bite to eat, have a refreshing drink or stay the night.

1. Aberdeen, north-east Scotland

Our journey begins in north-east Scotland at idyllic Aberdeen beach. Known for its golden sand, it’s the perfect place to go on a leisurely stroll, while watching the many surfers test their skills in the water. Afterwards, why take a drive down the impressive coast and have some dinner at The Old Brewhouse? Enjoy a warm, friendly welcome, with delicious food in an enchanting old building, steeped in history dating back to the 1600’s. To add an extension to their premises, the business accessed finance through Funding Circle in October 2016.

Aberdeen coastline, north-east Scotland

2. Bamburgh, Northumberland

After a delicious dinner in Aberdeen, we’re heading south to Northumberland, where we’ll find Bamburgh’s Castle Beach. As the name suggests, the beach boasts a remarkable castle that is known to have stood since the 6th century! With so much history to explore, why rush off? Instead, stay the night at The Granary Guest House, a boutique bed and breakfast located in the heart of Berwick-upon-Tweed. To help with working capital during the winter months, the guest house borrowed £26,000 in November 2014 from 375 investors.

Bamburgh’s Castle Beach, Northumberland

3. Borth, Dyfed

Following a good night’s sleep, you’ll be ready to hit the road to our next destination: Borth, Wales. Borth beach has a unique and ancient submerged forest, which is only visible at low tide, where stumps of oak, willow and hazel can be seen. While you’re in the area, we suggest camping for the night at Bargoed Farm, a family-run caravan park. The site is tranquil and secluded, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the peaceful settings. To purchase hot tubs and expand the site, the business borrowed through Funding Circle in June 2017.

Ancient prehistoric forest, Borth beach

4. Holkham Bay, Norfolk

Next stop, Holkham Bay in Norfolk, one of the most unspoilt and gorgeous stretches of sand in the country. It’s also one of the largest National Nature reserves in England, which is not surprising given its rich and natural beauty. Fancy a bit of lunch while still enjoying the coastal views? Then head on over to Platten’s Fish and Chips, only a 10 minute drive from the beach. Established in 1966, the family-run fish and chips shop serves delicious food, with an even better view of the harbour. To help buy extra kitchen equipment, the shop borrowed £100,000 in November 2016.

Holkam Bay, Norfolk

5. Babbacombe, Devon

After you’ve had your fill of fish and chips, let’s travel to our next destination in Torquay, Devon. Here you’ll find beautiful Babbacombe Beach. This coastline is a haven of striking views and calm, clean waters where you can unwind and soak up the atmosphere. After a day of outdoor fun, we recommend visiting Hunter’s Brewery, a local microbrewery that’s been crafting top quality ales in the heart of Devon’s countryside since 2008. The brewery was able to install a new fermentation room after accessing finance through Funding Circle in August 2016.

Babbacombe beach, Devon, photo by Nick Potts

6. Bossiney Cove, Cornwall

And finally, our journey ends in charming Cornwall at a lovely spot called Bossiney Cove – a truly hidden gem. Only accessible during low tide, this quiet and private beach is the perfect get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Located nearby is our favourite restaurant in Padstow, The Basement. The team provide their customers with quality, well cooked food, sourced from local producers and with a pleasent view of the harbour. To support the development of the outdoor patio space, the team borrowed £60,000 in February 2014 from 960 investors.

Bossiney Cove, Cornwall

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Revisiting the first business to borrow through Funding Circle

Dr John Henry Looney is passionate about helping the world do more with less

With a PhD in Physiological, Community and Statistical Ecology, John Henry has over 30 years’ experience in delivering environmental and sustainability projects for businesses and organisations. In 2007, he decided to take the plunge and founded Sustainable Direction Ltd. John Henry and his team help businesses work with the natural world in order to increase their sustainability, efficiency and ultimately their prosperity.

Sustainable Direction Ltd is helping Alderney improve the efficiency of its energy infrastructure

The first Funding Circle borrower

John Henry also opened the way for small businesses back in August 2010 when Sustainable Direction Ltd became the first business to access finance through Funding Circle. They borrowed £12,000 from 53 investors to help demonstrate the viability of an outdoor air source heat pump.

Progression over 7 years

Sustainable Direction Ltd is now improving the energy efficiency of places like the Isle of Alderney, while investors lending through Funding Circle have helped a further 25,000 UK businesses to access finance.

Since 2010, we’ve worked tirelessly to improve our customer experience, as John Henry found when he borrowed a further £54,000 in October 2016 to hire two new members of staff and develop the business’s resources. John Henry said “We found it even easier this time…and it happened so fast, within a day or two the funds were in our account”.

Funding Circle co-founder and UK Managing Director James Meekings visited John Henry to see the development of Sustainable Direction Ltd— watch the video to find out more.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Sustainable Direction Ltd?

Lend alongside 63,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 25,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Seven ideas to help you stay active this summer

Hello summer! Longer days means more time to get outside and try new activities. With Wimbledon kicking off next week, we wanted to share some of our favourite ways to get fit this summer, featuring businesses who specialise in keeping people active. So come along and join us on our journey across the UK as we visit some of these extraordinary companies who have flourished thanks to your support.

1. Canoeing in Scotland

Our journey begins in idyllic Scotland at an events and bespoke travel company that will help you kick-start your active summer. Sporting Scotland is run by a team of adventurous individuals who run a number of different activities including canoeing and sea kayaking down two of Scotland’s most exciting rivers, the River Spey and the River Findhorn. Both routes offer a spectacular chance to explore stunning beaches, coves, islands and cliffs. In order to refurbish their premises, Sporting Scotland borrowed over £30,000 through the Funding Circle platform in April 2017.

2. Cycling in Rugeley

If you’re an avid cyclist then our next stop is for you! Based in Rugeley, More Adventure provides high quality cycling challenges and holidays in various locations across the world. We suggest the 10 day ride from Lands End to John O’Groats – from one end of the UK to another. Nearly 1,000 miles in total, you’ll be travelling through some of the most glorious scenery England and Scotland has to offer. To help expand and explore new products, More Adventure have borrowed finance across two loans since November 2014.

3. Horseback riding in Shropshire

From Rugeley we’re heading West to stunning Shropshire to visit Live the Adventure and test our skills at horseback riding. From instructional treks for the beginners, to four day trail rides for those with a real sense of adventure, the Live the Adventure team can offer packages to suit any rider. To  develop more professional training programs the team turned to Funding Circle in 2014 and were able to secure a cash injection for their business.  

4. Golfing in Gloucestershire

Love golf? Then you’ll love the next stop on our trip across the UK. Sherdons Golf Centre, a family-run business in the Gloucestershire countryside welcomes golfers of all abilities. The centre boasts a 9 hole course as well as a clubhouse with banqueting and bar facilities – a great way to finish a long day on the course. The team at Sherdon’s were able to exercise their long-term marketing plan after borrowing finance from 474 investors in 2013.

5. Hot yoga in Bristol

The next business to visit on our journey is Yogafurie in beautiful Bristol, a hot yoga and pilates studio. Hot yoga is said to improve the circulation of oxygen and nutrients in the body which in turn fuels the mind – it’s a true full body workout. The team of superb teachers offer a range of different classes for all abilities. You could even join a teacher training or workshop if you’re a truly passionate yogi. Yogafurie was able to open a new space after borrowing £20,000 through Funding Circle.

6. Cricket in Hampshire

Next stop: Hampshire countryside. At Funding Circle, we love team sports, which is why we’re challenging you to set up your own cricket match! Don’t have the supplies? Take a trip to Chase Cricket for all of your equipment needs. Since 1996, the enthusiastic Chase Cricket team have been designing and handcrafting the very finest cricket bats for young and old in all levels of the game. To add a sales and marketing specialist to their team, Chase Cricket accessed finance from Funding Circle investors in April 2016.

7. Kitesurfing in Brighton

Our journey across the country ends in delightful Brighton where watersport lovers congregate in the summer. The Kite, Surf & Sup Company is a British Kitesports school and online shop set up in 2014. Founder Christine Johnston is a former windsurfing World Champion so her skills and expertise shines through in all of the lessons she teaches. To help increase stock and upgrade their website to help with online marketing, the kitesurfing company has borrowed finance across two loans from 127 investors.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside over 62,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 25,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

7 steps to planning your dream wedding

We’re well into wedding season and according to a recent study, the popularity of marriage in the UK is back on the rise after nearly 40 years of decline. So if you’ve got your special day in the diary, our 7-step checklist will help you plan the wedding of your dreams.

From finding the perfect dress to booking your ideal honeymoon, the unique businesses below will support you along your journey – just like your investments have supported their growth!

1. Choose the perfect dress

According to a recent survey, 74% of women are now choosing an ivory dress instead of the traditional white. This could be something to think about at your dress fitting at Frou Frou Bridal, an award-winning boutique in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Founded with the aim to escape the boundaries of tradition, the bridal company will ensure that you leave with a dress that compliments your unique and original style. In order to furnish a new space, Frou Frou Bridal borrowed finance from 255 investors in 2015.

2. Find the right venue

On average, couples spend around 12 months planning their wedding. Finding the perfect location is pivotal for everything that follows, so it’s important to get it sorted early. Venues can book up quickly, so if you’re picturing an outdoor wedding, why not rent a marquee from Oakleaf Marquees and create your own celebration space? Get creative with fairy lights, flowers and decorations to create something truly special. After growing year-on-year, the family-run company in Dorset needed funds to keep building on their success, so have borrowed finance across three loans since 2014.

3. Decorate with flawless flowers

Brighten up any space with beautiful flowers from The Orange Pip, based in charming Somerset. Studies show that a popular wedding theme nowadays is rustic woodland, which includes soft yellow colours, pastel orange tones and earthy shades of green. We suggest displaying an arrangement on every table to create an exquisite atmosphere for your gathering. To help expand and take on more staff, the passionate team accessed finance through Funding Circle in November 2016.

4. Hire the right caterers

Our next step on the checklist is catering – arguably one of the most important staples at any celebration. A trend at the moment is gourmet grazing stations, so try filling tables with moreish canapes and nibbles. Figs Catering, a team of hugely talented chefs, offer a selection of tasty bowl food that would be perfect to include. You could even go for their delicious BBQ menu that is sure to be a winner with your guests. In order to refit their premises, the catering company borrowed £53,000 in March 2017.

5. Get bespoke sweet treats  

Findings from a recent poll show that more than one in five couples have started to think outside the box and choose cupcakes as their wedding cake. If that sounds like something for you, take a trip to The Chelsea Cake Shop, in Central London. With over 30 years of experience, the bakers produce cupcakes that taste just as good as they look – they’ll even design bespoke treats for your special occasion. To help renovate their shop, the cake shop used Funding Circle to access finance in January 2017.

6. Capture the moment

Make sure you hire a photographer to capture the moment with stunning photos. Eliza Claire is a leading vintage and alternative photographer in the UK, specialising in weddings. Her candid and fun photography comes straight from the heart and will allow you to cherish your special day with photographs that last forever. To help do a national wedding show, Eliza Claire borrowed through Funding Circle in September 2016. 

7. Embark on your dream honeymoon

Finally, after all of the excitement from your wedding, you’ll be ready to unwind and relax on your honeymoon. To help plan the perfect getaway, check out Oliver’s Travel for stunning holiday villa packages. Whether you want some time on the beach in Spain, or prefer the countryside in Ireland, Oliver’s Travel will make sure you don’t settle for anything less than exceptional. In order to branch out into Croatian villas, the company borrowed £200,000 in July 2016.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

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You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 25,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Did your lending help this business create 100 new jobs?

Brought up to be hard working by his parents, David Cusworth has worked his way up from a welder to a successful business owner. After years of experience at some of the world’s largest IT providers, he noticed that small businesses were often being underserved and neglected by the big players.

In 2011, David and his wife Angie set out to address this gap in the market and set up Firstnet Solutions. By applying their learnings from previous jobs, their vision was to provide enterprise-class IT solutions to small businesses. Firstnet has since gone from strength to strength, putting the customer first by supplying a plan that’s tailored to their individual needs.

When the duo came across the site for a new data centre, it was a dream come true. The centre would allow the team to grow to 100 employees and triple their turnover over the next 18 months. To help fund this exciting opportunity, Firstnet have borrowed £122,180 across two Funding Circle loans since 2016.

In this short video, meet this driven and successful team and hear more about their story.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Firstnet?

Lend alongside 61,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 24,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Get festival ready with our five camping essentials

Camping and festival season is fast approaching, so now is the time to ensure you have all your supplies ready to go. Our list of 5 camping essentials will help you prepare for some outdoor fun, while also supporting some unique local businesses across the country.

Essential 1. A water bottle

Camping at Glastonbury festival this year? Stay hydrated and take along a stainless steel, BPA-free water bottle from Glogg. These fantastic reusable water bottles are perfect for camping as they’re not plastic or glass and importantly, won’t harm the environment. At last year’s festival, Glastonbury needed a business to produce 200,000 stainless steel pint cups and Glogg was ready for the challenge. To fund the manufacturing process, the company borrowed £40,000 from 533 investors, helping to turn the project into a success.

Glogg manufactures stainless steel water bottles for Glastonbury festival

Helen from Glogg, manufacturers of stainless steel water bottles

Essential 2. Waterproofs

The British summer is gloriously unpredictable, so make sure to stock up on waterproof gear, such as a waterproof jacket and a pair of wellies from All Outdoor. Once you’re all kitted out you’ll be able to enjoy your camping or festival activities, whatever the weather throws at you. The All Outdoor team have over 10 years of experience and know the importance of having the right attire for the right activity. To help increase stock due to high demand, All Outdoor have borrowed finance across three loans.

Essential 3. A comfy sleeping bag

No more tired excuses! Wake up ready to embrace the day after a good night’s sleep in a cosy sleeping bag from Camping World, the one-stop-shop for all your camping needs. The company are experts in the field and stock all staple supplies — you could even add an inflatable mattress for an even better sleep. To help fund expansion, Camping World borrowed £408,340 across two Funding Circle loans.

Essential 4. Picnic set

Be the envy of the camping grounds with a colourful picnic mat from The Stripes Company. Their striped fabrics bring life to any surrounding and are perfect for hosting a tasty picnic with your friends and family. You could even top it off with a stripy deckchair, so you can sit back, relax and listen to the festivals tunes. To help increase their product range and expand internationally, The Stripes Company have borrowed more than £175,000 across three loans since 2011.

Essential 5. Find your perfect location

If you’d prefer to skip the madness of music festivals, why not head up to idyllic North Yorkshire and rent a tent at Jollydays Glamping? Quiet and peaceful, you can escape and appreciate an outdoor break while enjoying the sounds of nature. The family-run business was set up in 2008 and became an immediate success – becoming one of the early leaders in the glamping revolution. To add more accommodation units to keep up with high demand, the family team have borrowed over £145,000 across three Funding Circle loans.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside over 61,000 investors and you could earn a great return whilst supporting small businesses across the UK. Sign up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. By lending to businesses, your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

We’ve helped more than 23,000 businesses in the UK access finance for a range of finance needs, including hiring staff, opening new shops and working capital. Get your instant quote today.

Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team

Paralympian goes for gold with a Funding Circle loan

Peter and Linda Norfolk are no strangers to success

The husband-and-wife team are well-experienced in achieving excellence. Nicknamed ‘The Quadfather’, Peter Norfolk OBE is a double paralympic gold medal and multiple Grand Slam winning wheelchair-tennis player, while Linda was Head of Physio for the Paralympic GB team at the Athens Games.

Not content with just winning medals, together they also own and run Equipment for the Physically Challenged (EPC), specialising in providing high-performance wheelchairs and powerchairs. Founded in 1989, EPC imports specialist equipment from all over the world, providing their clients with a personalised service to ensure they get the chair best suited to their need. Their focus is to give customers more freedom, creating innovative chairs that are easier to dismantle, transport, and fit a wider range of uses.

To hire two new members of staff, upgrade their website and purchase new computer equipment, Peter and Linda borrowed £30,000 through Funding Circle in December 2016.

In this short video, meet this inspiring couple and hear more about their story.

 

 

Are you interested in lending to businesses like EPC-Wheelchairs?

Lend alongside 60,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 22,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Five fun ideas for a delightful bank holiday

The glorious summer weather is fast approaching and with more bank holidays coming up in May, it’s the perfect time to start planning weekend activities. We’ve got five great ideas that will help you get outdoors and make the most of the weather, while supporting businesses across the country that have flourished thanks to your lending.

1. Plan the perfect picnic

If your idea of the perfect weekend includes indulging on delicious food and drinks, while enjoying the company of friends and family, why not plan a picnic? Stock up on award-winning relishes, along with olives, toasted bread and a range of cheeses, from Deli Flavour, the one-stop-shop for all your snack needs. Voted one of the 50 best deli’s in the UK, the company was able to open another shop after borrowing £25,000 from 275 investors in November 2013.

2. Test your skills at watersports

Based in beautiful Brighton and Hove, Lagoon Watersports are experts in their field and offer a range of trainings in activities such as yacht sailing, paddle boarding and windsurfing. The friendly team teach sessions for all ages and aim to get people confident and comfortable in the water. Lagoon Watersports were able to purchase a new powerboat engine for powerboat rides after borrowing over £100,000 across three Funding Circle loans since 2012.

 3. Embark on a weekend getaway

With great views of the Irish Sea, St. Kilda Hotel is nestled in the middle of Llandudno’s beautiful promenade, with easy access to all the town has to offer. This family-run business is sure to give you a warm and friendly welcome during your stay. St. Kilda Hotel used their Funding Circle loan to cover maintenance and refurbishment costs, borrowing £30,620 from 322 investors in December 2015.

4. Get busy in the garden

Dust off your gardening boots this long weekend and start to get your garden ready for the summer. Based in Meols, a village on the northern coast of England, Carr Farm Garden Centre has been running since the 1930’s and since then has grown to be a successful garden centre – they also have online shop so you can order no matter where you’re based. To help with maintenance works across their 7 acre site, the family-run farm shop borrowed over £100,000 from 1,631 investors.

5. Get active outdoors

And finally, if you’re a thrill seeker, or just love outdoor sports, Pure Outdoor have some adrenaline-pumping activity ideas. Located in the heart of the Peak District National Park, the experienced team provide courses and activities such as rock climbing, caving and mountain guiding – a fun and exciting way to spend your bank holiday! The adventurous company were able to purchase a new office for their business after borrowing £8,000 through Funding Circle.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside over 60,000 investors and you could earn a great return whilst supporting small businesses across the UK. Sign up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

We’ve helped nearly 23,000 businesses in the UK access finance for a range of finance needs, including hiring staff, opening new shops and working capital. Get your instant quote today.

Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team

Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Seven sweet treats to make your Easter complete

Join us on an Easter egg hunt this year to find the tastiest treats from seven small businesses across the UK that have flourished thanks to your lending. Whether you’re a fruity chocolate lover, a fudge fanatic or crave something nutty, our selection below will have something to suit all taste buds.

1. Rich and nutty treats from West Wales

Our hunt begins in a sweet shop in West Wales, a place nutty chocolate fans will love. In 2013, Nom Nom Chocolates took over an abandoned chocolate factory and has since grown to become Wales’ leading luxury chocolate manufacturer. On our hunt we found an array of delicious flavours, such as peanut butter and roasted hazelnut – yum! The sweets company purchased new machinery using their Funding Circle loan.

2. Make your own in East Wales

Next stop is Black Mountain Gold Chocolates just down the road in East Wales, where you can make your very own Easter sweets. The company owners are chocolate extraordinaires and teach chocolate making and tasting workshops. From ‘one to one’ sessions to master chocolatier courses, there are classes to suit all age groups and abilities. Black Mountain Gold were able to increase production after borrowing £15,480 from over 200 investors in July 2014.

3. Milk chocolate from Lancashire

From Wales we’re heading to Lancashire in search of milk chocolate bunnies. Beech’s Fine Chocolates create the tastiest Milk Chocolate Bunny Family, which is the perfect treat to share with the entire household over the holiday. The company, who have been producing quality treats since the 1920’s, have also featured in the BBC programme ‘Who’s the Boss.’ Beech’s Fine Chocolates were able to keep up with the high demand after borrowing £250,000 in January 2016.

4. Fruity flavours from Leeds

The next stop on our hunt is one for the fruity chocolate enthusiasts. Lauden Chocolate, based in Leeds, is run by a passionate husband and wife team who produce unique and delicious chocolates that look just as good as they taste. Flavours include mediterranean orange, sour cherry, passionfruit, and lychee & rose. The duo were able to launch new and innovative chocolate bars after borrowing over £41,000 through Funding Circle.

5. A treat for the little ones in York

From Leeds we’re heading to York to find the perfect treat for the little ones. With a choice of milk or white chocolate, these handmade chocolate Rabbit Lollies from Choc affair are a great choice for kids. Choc affair also supply a range of flavoured chocolate bars such as our favourite, Raspberry & Rose. The confectionery company were able to move to a larger premises after borrowing from Funding Circle investors in 2013.

6. Dairy-free Easter eggs from Reading

The next destination on our hunt is a sweet shop in Reading, where you can find award-winning dairy free chocolate. Moo Free, a leading manufacturer of dairy free and gluten free chocolates, produce the ultimate Easter eggs that are a must try this year. The company, which sells its products in Tesco and Ocado, were able to hire more staff after borrowing through Funding Circle back in 2013.

7. Fudge from Suffolk

And finally, if you’re more of a fudge fanatic, then our last stop is for you. Yum Yum Tree Fudge, based in Suffolk, is run by a dedicated family of fudge makers who strive to make the best fudge in the UK – they were even featured on the BBC Good Food Show! The skilled team produce a scrumptious collection of flavours such as mango, sea-salted caramel and mint chocolate chip. Yum Yum Tree Fudge were able to improve their facilities after borrowing over £128,000 in January 2017.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside over 59,000 investors and you could earn a great return whilst supporting small businesses across the UK. Sign up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

We’ve helped more than 22,000 businesses in the UK access finance for a range of finance needs, including hiring staff, opening new shops and working capital. Get your instant quote today.

Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team

Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

St Patrick’s Day: Our four favourite pubs across the UK where you can enjoy a pint of Guinness

From the Scottish Highlands to the hustle and bustle of Central London, right down to the idyllic Cornish sea, we’re taking you on a journey to find the perfect pint of Guinness this St. Patrick’s Day. Below is our list of four pubs across the country where you can find a delicious pint, while also supporting successful Funding Circle businesses.

1. Enjoy your Guinness with a delicious meal

Our journey begins in Dalkeith, Scotland at The Sun Inn, an award-winning pub and boutique inn. Visit this lovely pub if you fancy a Guinness while enjoying delicious food cooked with flair. The Sun Inn was able to redesign their kitchen to cope with increasing demand after borrowing £100,000 from Funding Circle investors.

2. Pair your pint with a burger

Next stop, London. If you like your Guinness paired with a scrumptious burger, then the Thirsty Bear in Southwark is the pub for you. The popular bar allows customers to pour their own drinks, use an ipad to order and also build their own custom burgers. Our favourite is their chicken, chorizo and jalapeno burger – yum! To help open another site, Thirsty Bear borrowed £99,500 in January 2014.

3. A pint and a place to stay

From London we’re travelling to beautiful Wells, Somerset where we’ll visit Crown at Wells, a 15th Century coaching inn. Nestled in the heart of the historic city, the family-run hotel boasts the top-notch Penn Bar, which is popular with the locals and tourists. To help with refurbishments, Crown at Wells has accessed £230,000 across three Funding Circle loans.

4. Guinness with a view

And finally, we finish our journey at The Golden Lion in Port Isaac, where you can enjoy your pint with a stunning view of the Cornish sea. Overlooking the idyllic fishing village, the 18th century pub is full of original character and charm. Providing the superb food and drinks at The Golden Lion is the Pollock’s Pub Company, who also have three other popular restaurants in the area. In order to recapitalise their hospitality business, Pollock’s borrowed £80,000 from 1580 investors.  

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside over 58,000 investors and you could earn a great return whilst supporting small businesses across the UK. Sign up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

We’ve helped more than 21,000 businesses in the UK access finance for a range of finance needs, including hiring staff, opening new shops and working capital. Get your instant quote today.

Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team

Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Our 6-step guide to a romantic night in this Valentine’s day

Amour, liebe, love… what better way to spend Valentine’s day than having a cosy and romantic night in with your special someone? To help you plan the perfect night, we’ve tailored a 6-step guide featuring wonderful small businesses across the country that have thrived thanks to your lending.

Step 1: Sweets for your sweet

What is the number one staple of Valentine’s day? Chocolate of course! Grab some gourmet sweets from Beech’s Fine Chocolates, such as their luxurious milk chocolate praline hearts – yum! The company, which was founded in 1920 in Lancashire, were able to keep up with high demand after borrowing £250,000 from Funding Circle investors.

Step 2: Flawless Flowers

Warm up your home with exquisite flowers from The Flower Emporium. The shop has been stocking and delivering flowers in Stockport since 1995so they are true experts in the field. Choose from an array of bouquets and arrangements, such as their Valentine Collection. You can even add a scrumptious chocolate pizza to your order! The Flower Emporium were able to further their refurbishment after borrowing £5,000 from investors in 2015.

Step 3: Wondrous Wine

For many people a romantic night isn’t complete without a superb bottle of wine, so we suggest grabbing a bottle from Talking Wines in the Cotswolds. The company is run by a passionate team who carefully select and source from independent producers. They also run a wine tasting event every Sunday. Whether you enjoy a deep red or a light and refreshing white, their online shop will have something to suit your tastebuds. To increase stock and selection due to high demand, the company accessed £40,000 in 2013 from 498 Funding Circle investors.

Step 4: Caring Cards

Surprise your loved one with a sweet and sentimental Valentine’s card from Love Kate’s. With over 250 cards to choose from, there is bound to be something that you and your partner will love. To help them improve their marketing and promote their brand, Love Kate’s borrowed £45,000 from 569 investors in 2015.

Step 5: Charming Candles

Pick up some warming candles from Bubblelush Divine Gifts to give your home an inviting and comfortable feel. The family-run business specialise in home fragrance and stock a variety of lovely scents such as Lemongrass and Ginger, Snowflake Cookie and Wild Fig. To help bring in new members of staff and expand into new markets, Bubblelush Divine Gifts applied for  £30,000 from Funding Circle in 2015.

Step 6: Perfect Presents

And finally, spoil your special someone with a thoughtful gift this year, such as a dazzling piece of jewellery from Krystal London. The shop handcraft everything locally themselves using the finest quality Swarovski Crystals at affordable prices. The company were able to attend trade shows to share what they are passionate about after borrowing £40,000 from 671 investors.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside over 55,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

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Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team

Industry insights: 90 seconds with an expert

No one knows more about the day to day running of a business than the Funding Circle borrower community, so each month we ask an industry expert to share their expertise.

Industry insights (4) The motorcycle industry

Recently we spoke to Candy from Suffolk Canine Creche, to hear her views on how to build and run an award-winning accommodation facility for fun-loving dogs. This month, we caught up with Andy, founder and owner of Teasdale Motorcycles, to get his advice on how to run a very successful ‘one-stop shop’ for motorcycle enthusiasts. Since 2012, Teasdale have borrowed £167,000 from thousands of investors through Funding Circle, helping them to move to larger premises, hire new staff and boost their online business!

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Find out more about Andy’s thriving motorcycle retailer in this short video.

Teasdale Motorcycles was set up by Andy Walker in 2002 when he decided to turn his love for motorcycles into a career. Since then, Teasdale Motorcycles has flourished and established itself as one of the North East’s largest motorcycle dealerships. They currently hold the franchise for Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Norton and KTM Street Motorcycles. Teasdale Motorcycles moved to a larger freehold premises in 2012, and are currently midway through a total redevelopment of their site on Long Street, Thirsk – upsizing by two-thirds of its original size.

Watch our short video to find out more about the motorcycle industry:

Andy’s three insights for managing a motorbike shop are:

  • Be a one-stop shop for bike lovers: offer a range of products and services so your customers can rely on you for whatever their needs require
  • Be flexible: Consumer’s needs are constantly changing, so be prepared to adapt in order to keep up with customer demand
  • Be a strong ambassador for your franchises: When working with big brands, try and operate the partnership in a way that benefits both parties – that way, you benefit from great products and they benefit from your exposure

Are you looking to grow your business?

20,000 UK businesses like Teasdale Motorcycles have accessed finance with Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. Get your instant quote and start growing your business today!

 

Teasdale Motorcycles triple turnover thanks to Funding Circle investors

Andy Walker, founder of Teasdale Motorcycles, has had a passion for bikes his entire life. His dad first introduced him to the wonders of motorcycles when he was young and he quickly grew to adore the freedom of roaming around the country on a bike of his own. Andy realised that he could turn his passion into a career, spend his days surrounded by bikes as a profession.

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In 2003, Andy founded Teasdale Motorcycles, which has since become one of the largest dealerships in North East England, operating as an official franchise for Derbi, TGB, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi. They also expanded their product offering to include bike clothing and repair services. Teasdale is now a one-stop-shop for motor enthusiasts all over the North of England

To help the business expand, Andy borrowed £167,000 through Funding Circle from thousands of investors. Since then, Teasdale have boosted sales through a new website and expanded into much bigger premises. Being able to expand the business when the time was right means that turnover has since tripled, with the team growing by 10!

In this short video, meet Andy and find out more about Andy’s passion for bikes and his experience of borrowing from Funding Circle investors.

 

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Teasdale Motorcycles?

Lend alongside 55,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 19,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Industry insights: 90 seconds with an expert

No one knows more about the day to day running of a business than the Funding Circle borrower community, so each month we ask an industry expert to share their expertise.

Industry insights (3) The pet industry

Recently we spoke to Helen from Glogg, to hear her thoughts on designing and manufacturing a range of drinkware products. This month we caught up with Candy, founder and owner of Suffolk Canine Creche, to hear her advice for growing a business in the pet industry. Since 2014, Candy has borrowed £84,000 from 644 investors through Funding Circle.

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Find out more about Candy’s award-winning canine creche with this short video.

Candy opened Suffolk Canine Creche in 2011 and the business has been hugely successful, winning Pet Service Business of the Year at the National Pet Industry Federation Awards 2015 and employing 22 members of staff. Candy also featured in the Telegraph’s business column, which discussed the rise of pet hotels and specialist nutrition for our furry friends.

Watch our short video to find out more about the pet industry

Candy’s three insights for managing a canine creche are:

  • Using real photography in your marketing is one of the best ways to differentiate your business
  • To provide a premium care experience, make sure you don’t underestimate how many people you need
  • The pet industry is not heavily regulated yet, so it’s important to set high standards

Are you looking to grow your business?

19,000 UK businesses like Suffolk Canine Creche have accessed finance with Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. Get your instant quote and start growing your business today!

Holistic healing: Natural products to cleanse the body and soul

Sunita Passi, founder of Tri-Dosha, was working as a business journalist when she became aware that many of her peers were suffering from stress and anxiety. Led by her love for holistic healing, and inspired by memories of her grandfather’s Ayurvedic health clinic in India, Sunita took it upon herself to discover how she could help others through her passion.

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In 2005, Sunita founded Tri-Dosha, producing award-winning, naturally crafted bodycare and skincare products based on the ancient Indian holistic health system, Ayurveda. They also run training sessions on their methods to masseurs and spas across the UK. By importing only natural and sustainable ingredients from places as far as India, Tri-Dosha supports small business owners and communities across the world.

To help create her new ‘NEEM’ product range, Sunita borrowed £21,060 through Funding Circle in October 2015. The product is now being sold by a major high street retailer.

In this short video, meet Sunita and find out more about how Tri-Dosha is helping to boost the UK’s wellbeing.

 

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Tri-Dosha?

Lend alongside 53,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 17,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Industry insights: 90 seconds with an expert

No one knows more about the day to day running of a business than the Funding Circle borrower community, so each month we ask an industry expert to share their expertise.

Industry insights (2) The drinkware industry

Recently, we heard from Darren Goldfinch, owner of Finch House, to gain insights into the cafe and coffee shop industry. For the second in our series, we caught up with Helen Smith, owner of Glogg, to hear her thoughts on designing and manufacturing a range of drinkware products.

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See Helen’s stainless steel cup being manufactured in our short video.

Helen started Glogg in 2007 to plug a gap in the market for stainless steel, BPA-free water bottles. To help meet an order for 200,000 stainless steel pint cups for this year’s Glastonbury festival, Helen borrowed £40,000 in January 2015.

In this short video, Helen shares her insights into bringing a successful range of products to life:

  • Lease your products to customers at events such as festivals
  • Invest in getting the right legal advice from the start
  • Carefully plan how much it will cost, and how long it will take to create a product
  • Plug any gaps in your skill set by partnering with experts

Looking for funding for your next project?

If, like Helen, there is a product you want to bring to life, you can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

We’ve helped more than 17,000 businesses access finance for a range of purposes, and you can read more stories like Helen’s here.

Reusable drinkware supplier rocks Glastonbury

Helen Smith started Glogg in 2007 after spotting a gap in the market when looking for a durable reusable water bottle. Producing a wide range of styles and sizes, it wasn’t long before Glogg became one of the leading UK suppliers of stainless steel, BPA-free water bottles.

When Glastonbury needed a business to produce 200,000 stainless steel pint cups for this year’s festival, Glogg was ready for the challenge.

Meeting such a large order was no easy task steel had to be sourced directly from Sheffield, and Glogg teamed up with APS Metal Pressings LTD to help manufacture the new cup.
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To fund the design of the tooling used in the manufacturing process, Helen borrowed £40,000 from 533 investors. The new product was a major success, and a number of other festivals around the UK have placed follow up orders.

In this short video, meet Helen and find out how Glogg is helping events and festivals to be more sustainable.

 

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Glogg?

Lend alongside 53,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Do you want to grow your business?

More than 16,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. Get your instant quote today!

Fright night: 4 hauntingly good Halloween ideas

Don’t be a lazy bones this year! Creep it real with Funding Circle’s guide to a ghostly Halloween. Stock up on decorations, sweets and costumes from these 4 small businesses to ensure it’s a ghoulishly good night.

Creepy costumes

The first thing you need to think about this Halloween is your costume. Find one that will set you apart from all the other witches and zombies out there at I Love Fancy Dress, a family-run online costume retailer based in Southend-on-Sea. To expand into the wholesale market, they’ve borrowed over £390,000 across three loans since 2013. Have fun browsing a huge range of Halloween goodies, including masks, scars, teeth and wigs – guaranteed to help you look fang-tastic!

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Petrifying Pumpkins

Next thing you’ll need are decorations, so getting that perfect pumpkin is essential. Carve one that will get your neighbours talking, and also help the local community, by purchasing through a family-owned business Annie’s Fruit Shop. To help with increased demand, Annie’s Fruit Shop, who are based in beautiful Devon, accessed more than £240,000 across 4 loans since 2015 from investors across the UK. Whether you’re an expert, or a beginner, pumpkin carving is an activity that’s fun for all ages.

Spooky sweets

When your home is devilishly decorated, make sure to visit Hancocks Confectionery and grab some spine-chilling sweets to hand out to trick-or-treaters. The popular shop have a great selection of candy, such as Alien Head Lollipops and Jelly Filled Skulls! To help with cashflow, the company borrowed £27,500 from 619 investors. Make sure you don’t eat them all before the kids start knocking!

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Chilling chocolate

The final step is… Chocolate! James Chocolates have been producing award-winning and creative sweets in Somerset for over 20 years – including their deliciously haunting Hopping Popping Frogs. These hand-painted delights are sure to surprise your guests with their popping candy center! James Chocolates needed to refit their office to make space for their new telesales team, so have borrowed £150,000 across 2 loans since 2014.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside 53,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

We’ve helped more than 16,000 businesses access finance for a range of finance needs, including hiring staff, opening new shops and working capital. Get your instant quote today.

Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team

Industry insights: 90 seconds with an expert

No one knows more about the day to day running of a business than the Funding Circle borrower community. Each month we’ll ask an industry expert to share their expertise.

Industry insights (1) Cafes & coffee shops

For the first in the series, we caught up with Daron Goldfinch, owner of Finch House an award-winning cafe and bakery in Kent. Daron has an established reputation in the industry after his active involvement with Konditor & Cook, as well as working with a number of other coffee shops providing concept, design and implementation strategies.

Business owner Daron
Meet Daron, take a tour of the new shop and find out his best selling bake in this short video.

His business experience meant that Daron was able to set up the Finch House concept in such a way that it can be efficiently rolled out further. To fit out the latest shop in Orpington, including catering equipment, furniture and air conditioning, Finch House borrowed £125,000 back in December 2015. Daron plans to open a third and fourth shop in Kent and Sussex soon.

Daron’s 3 insights for running a successful cafe are:

  • Research new cafe locations in depth
  • Use branding to tell the customer what you do as a business
  • Reward your staff to ensure great customer service

Looking to refit a new shop?

If, like Daron, you’re looking for a business loan to refurbish or refit a new shop, you can check if you qualify online in just 30 seconds.

We’ve helped more than 16,000 businesses access finance for a range of purposes, and you can read more stories like Daron’s here.

 

Oktoberfest: Raise a glass to these 4 glorious breweries!

Cheers! Prost! Salute! Toast your friends with exceptional beer this year to celebrate Oktoberfest. Ignite your taste buds and try something new with our recommended selection of pale ales, dark ales and lagers – all from fantastic businesses across the UK that have flourished thanks to Funding Circle investors.

1. Hackney Brewery

Hackney Brewery was established in 2011 to bring top-quality, locally-produced beer to the thirsty drinkers of London. The brewery produce a range of beers including a Golden Ale, an American Pale Ale and a fruity Raspberry Kristallweizen – brewed with real berries! In order to buy a new fermenter and increase production, Hackney Brewery borrowed £30,000 from 451 investors. We visited the team last year to see their new fermenter in action.

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2. Leeds Brewery

Leeds Brewery, founded by two university friends, first opened its doors in 2007 and since then has become the largest brewery in Leeds. Using only the finest possible ingredients, the brewers produce an array of unique beers such as Monsoon Pale Ale, Gingerbread Stout and our autumn favourite, American Pumpkin Ale. To help with working capital, Leeds Brewery have borrowed £250,000 across 3 loans from 981 investors.

3. Ashridge Cider

Fancy a refreshing cider instead? Ashridge Cider brew a lovely selection of organic ciders such as an Elderflower cider, a Devon Blush and their famous Sparkling Vintage Brut Cider which was featured on the Daily Telegraph’s ‘50 Foods to Try Before you Die’ list! In order to invest in a new cider mill and press to keep up with growing demand, Ashridge Cider has accessed £86,000 from Funding Circle.

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4. Roosters

And finally, born in 1993, Roosters Brewery is run by a father and his two sons in beautiful Yorkshire. Having invested in their own canning line in 2014, the company now stock their beer in casks, kegs, bottles and cans for their customers to enjoy. Whether you prefer a pale ale, an IPA, or something a bit different such as their traditional coffee porter, Rooster’s have a beer to suit you. Due to the growing popularity of their products, Rooster’s Brewery borrowed £150,000 across 2 loans to help meet this demand.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside 50,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

We’ve helped more than 15,000 businesses access finance for a range of finance needs, including hiring staff and opening new shops. Get your instant quote today.

Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team