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?
Lend alongside 75,000 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 30,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle. You could boost your cash flow, refurbish premises, hire staff and much more. Check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Yoga, Pilates or Bodybarre? How will you stay in shape in 2018?

The decision to become fitter is usually top of people’s new year’s resolutions and for good reason. Many of the world’s most well-known and successful entrepreneurs consider yoga, pilates and other forms of physical fitness as an essential ingredient for their continued success. These 5 local businesses are helping the UK get in shape, so where will you start?

Record your every move at Be X Fitness

Established in 2013, this Barnsley-based fitness center offers team workouts using high tech equipment so you can get the most out of your workout. Thanks to My Zone, the connected tracking technology, users can record their every move, analyse performance and receive personalised training advice from coaches.

running-shoes

To support growth, Kevin Yates applied for a business loan through Funding Circle in November 2017. They accessed £106,000 in less than one week, meaning they could take on the next opportunity quickly.

Physio by Pea Green to keep you energised

Stephanie Smith launched Oxfordshire-based Pea Green Physio back in 2008. Eight years on she decided she wanted to expand into yoga and pilates and needed a business loan to open a studio. Pea Green now offers yoga and pilates classes alongside sports massages and rehabilitation therapy after raising £25,000 through Funding Circle.

yoga-park

Rediscover fitness with Paola’s Bodybarre

Forget what you know about traditional fitness classes and embrace Paola Di Lanzo’s multidisciplinary workout methods. From light sessions focusing on technique, alignment and flexibility, to high intensity training and weight-lifting, the wide range of classes will help you find the exercise you’re looking for. After opening her first studio in Fulham in 2014, Paola’s BodyBarre is now available in 7 other pop-ups, affiliated studios and private members clubs around London. Paula expanded the business with a £53,000 loan to open a new flagship studio in Sloane Square.

Paola's Bodybarre Studio

Yoga gets you in the right headspace

The meditation classes at London-based Yogacentric are said to improve your mental focus by connecting your mind and body. If meditation isn’t for you and you’re looking for something more active, try their hot yoga or one to one sessions. All levels are welcome.

yoga-outside

Daniel Percival came to Funding Circle in 2016 as he wanted to grow his London studio. He secured £53,200 over 5 years to finance working capital and the fit-out of a second location.

Keep moving at Alderley Pilates

Jan and Peter Bowen founded their pilates business in Cheshire 15 years ago. The studio brings talented teachers and enthusiasts of all levels together in a friendly and relaxed environment. All of their trainers are certified by Body Control Pilates, the largest European professional pilates’ organisation.

pilates-workout

Alderley Pilates first came to Funding Circle for a business loan in 2014. Finance from Funding Circle has helped them refurbish their premises and upgrade their website to grow the business.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside 76,000 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. 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 32,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance through Funding Circle. You could boost your cash flow, refurbish premises, hire staff and much more. Check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

You’re helping this whisky company go even further, one bottle at a time

small business present

Meet David Stirk, a whisky aficionado, author and dedicated business owner. After graduating with an Honors Business Degree, David went on to work in a few different whisky companies, and even wrote a book called ‘The Distilleries of Campbeltown’. However, despite loving the industry he was in, David found himself yearning to take control of the business and make his own choices.

In 2004, the opportunity arose to buy a fantastic cask of whisky, and it gave David the spark to start his own whisky bottling business, The Creative Whisky Company. Based in the beautiful Lowlands of Scotland, his business has gone from bottling 15 casks a year, to doing seven times that amount today. As with any growing business, things can change over the years, however at The Creative Whisky Company, one procedure has remained: every cask they bottle is ‘nosed and tasted’ by David and his business partner.

The whisky industry is a large and competitive market. To invest in more stock and continue growing, David and his team have borrowed more than £390,000 from Funding Circle investors since April 2017. ‘I’d been in an eight month period of waiting for a mortgage to come through on the buildings that we bought. I just thought, it’s time to try another avenue, so that’s when I went to Funding Circle and I was amazed with the speed and the honesty. Everything they said would happen, happened.’ said David.

In this short video, meet David and hear more about his passion for the whisky industry:

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?
Lend alongside 74,000 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 30,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle. You could boost your cash flow, refurbish premises, hire staff and much more. Check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

A Modern Christmas: Festive experiences to enjoy this year

Don’t be a scrooge this Christmas! Local businesses are working harder than Santa Claus and his elves to make sure you make the most of the festive season. From the butchers and the florists, to the bakers and wine merchants, the business owners below know exactly what you need to have jolly and joyful Christmas experiences this year.  

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree!

No one knows the exact year that the first Christmas tree was brought into someone’s home, but it is estimated to be around 1510 AD – and the tradition carries on today in many countries across the world. Wreaths have also grown in popularity and decorating them can make for a festive and fun activity. Dried oranges, cranberries, ribbon and pinecones are just a handful of the items you can use. Pick yours up from Rocket Gardens, a DIY gardening company in Cornwall, who even supply handmade edible wreaths made from bay leaves, rosemary and chillies! Rocket Gardens were able to scale up their business after borrowing across three loans since July 2016.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

If you’re keen to get out of England and have a proper adventure this year, then you’re in luck! Incredible ski locations are just a short flight away, in countries such as Austria, Norway and France. Snowflakes falling, picturesque chalets, brightly decorated streets… Whether you’re here for the kids or on a nice getaway with friends, being in the mountains is the perfect festive break. Need the gear? Finches Emporium, a family-run sports store, will have everything you need to make sure you’re prepared for your snowy getaway. To support an advertising campaign, the Finches team borrowed through Funding Circle in May 2014.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Are you with the little ones this year? Then we suggest going to wander through a magical winter wonderland on your way to visit Santa’s Grotto at Bellflower Garden Centre, based in the heart of Suffolk. His elves have been working hard over the past few weeks getting everything ready to make sure it’s a truly special experience for everyone. In order to renovate some parts of the premises and purchase a new van for deliveries, Bellflower Garden Centre borrowed finance from 218 Funding Circle investors in November 2017.

All I want for Christmas is mulled wine

What better way to relax after a hearty meal than to have a nice warming cup of mulled wine? We’re not talking about the bottled stuff either… the best way to enjoy it is to make your own. All you need is a nice bottle of red, sugar, a cinnamon stick, nutmeg and a fresh orange – easy peasy. For a great selection of wines, check out Talking Wines, based in Cirencester, who source outstanding wines from passionate producers across the world. In order to increase stock, Talking Wines borrowed through Funding Circle in July 2013. Festive tip: make sure to have the Christmas tunes turned up and a cosy fire lit to create a truly joyful atmosphere.

Sugarplums and sweets

Since we’ve already got you in the kitchen, why not whip up some homemade gingerbread men as well? Making these gingery treats is the perfect activity to share with the whole family. They’re easy to make, have minimal ingredients and taste just like Christmas! We all know that a gingerbread man isn’t complete without gumdrop buttons, so before you get started, take a trip to Fanny Adams Sweet Shop in Kingswinford and you’ll find just what you need and more. To help open a new shop and hire more staff, the fantastic sweets shop borrowed through Funding Circle in December last year.

Happiness and all the trimmings

And finally, one of the finest holiday traditions has to be enjoying a delicious dinner in the company of all of your loved ones. Can this meal be complete without turkey? We don’t think so. Allington Farm Shop, a family-run farm shop and café based in Wiltshire, sells locally sourced and free range turkeys that are sure to be a winner with your guests. But don’t forget to prepare some mashed potatoes, seasonal garden veg, bread pudding and cranberry sauce before you dig in! To help expand their butchery, Allington Farm Shop borrowed from 618 investors in May 2014.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?
Lend alongside 74,000 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 30,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle. You could boost your cash flow, refurbish premises, hire staff and much more. Check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Watch The Ashes like a true Lady or Gentleman

Swap your turkey for a duck, your snowman for a nightwatchman, and make sure you’ve got your sledging boots ready to go – it’s time for The Ashes. With the start of one of sport’s greatest rivalries this Thursday, we’ve put together a list of businesses to help you celebrate in a true English manner. Each one has been able to grow or develop thanks to your lending.

Sticky pudding not a sticky wicket

Reaching the tea interval can be crucial for a batsman, and it’s an exciting moment for spectators too. We’d recommend upping your tea time credentials with something suitably scrumptious from Country Puddings in Cumbria. Lynne Mallinson, who borrowed £30,000 in 2012, started out baking from her farmhouse kitchen. Lynne has now gone on to win countless Taste Awards. As they say, the proof is in the pudding…

BritishTea

Bubbles on the boundary

If you find yourself on the boundary or even just at home chatting cricket with friends, celebrate like a true lady or gent with a glass of bubbly from Love Champagne. Established in 2007, the champagne specialists sell types for all occasions from their base in Shropshire. To expand their product range, Love Champagne have borrowed over £150,000 since 2016.

Strawberries as crisp as a new ball

A delight all year round, the great British strawberry will bring a touch of summer to your winter ashes. A traditional staple for any Englishman, they’ll help ease the pain of that inevitable top-order collapse. Stock up on your supplies from Annie’s Fruit Shop, who’ve borrowed over £240,000 across 4 loans since 2015, to create a truly delicious dish. Eton mess anyone?

BritishBulldog

Get yourself a hat-trick

Top off your cricket attire with a traditional hat from Laird Hatters, perfect for the pavilion or the stands. Whether you’re looking for a fedora or a flat cap, you’ll find something to suit your style. With rich colours and top quality British cloth, you’ll not only feel great, but you’ll most definitely stand out. To expand their range of handmade hats, Laird Hatters have borrowed £140,000 across 2 loans since 2013.

Become the next Joe Root

If all the cricket commotion has you feeling inspired, why not buy your own cricket gear from The Cornish Cricket Company? A step up from the sticks of rhubarb they practice with in Yorkshire, they sell a variety of gear and even offer coaching. To expand their business and hire more staff, The Cornish Cricket Company borrowed over £50,000 in 2017.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside 73,000 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 30,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle. You could boost your cash flow, refurbish premises, hire staff and much more. Check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

You’re helping to inspire children through music

TheStringsClub

Meet Amy, a musician, teacher and entrepreneur. Amy graduated with a degree in music from Birmingham University. She then went on to become a violinist and violin teacher in London, and was shortly looking for new ways to bring music into the lives of those around her.

With a strong belief in the positive power of music, Amy decided to set up a camp for children aged 4-11 in the school holidays. In 2012, the very first Strings Club was launched just behind Camden market. With six budding string players eager to learn, the session was an instant hit. At the end of the course a parent asked “When’s the next one?” and the business snowballed from there.

Five years on, Amy now runs 6 Strings Clubs across the country, with plans to open in Bristol and Cheshire in 2018. Due to the ever growing popularity of these courses, Amy borrowed from Funding Circle in January 2017 to keep up with demand and expand her business into new areas. “The loans allowed me to expand my business, hire new staff, buy more equipment and launch a marketing campaign. Overall, the experience was very efficient and very helpful” says Amy.

In this short video, meet Amy and hear more about her passion for music and teaching.

Want to lend to businesses like The Strings Club?

Lend alongside 73,000 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 30,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle. You could boost your cash flow, refurbish premises, hire staff and much more. Check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Preparing for bonfire night: our top five essentials

Remember remember the fifth of November. With bonfire night fast approaching, it’s time to make sure you’re kitted out and ready to go. Here are our top five essentials for a warm and enjoyable bonfire night with friends and family, whilst also supporting some of our businesses across the country.

1) Indulge with hot chocolate

Enjoy a sweet treat under the fireworks with Choc Affair. With a range of six delicious hot chocolate flavours, there’s something for everyone. Why not try Salted Caramel? Or luxuriate in something a little different with Raspberry and Rose? To keep up with company growth and relocate to a larger premises, Choc Affair borrowed £60,000 in 2013.

HotChocolate

2) Sip on mulled cider

Looking for something a little stronger? Ashridge Cider has the perfect winter warmer for you. With bursts of flavour that will match the colours in the sky, their mulled and spicy artisan cider will warm you up on a cold bonfire night. To keep up with anticipated growth and invest in a cider mill, Ashridge Cider have borrowed over £76,000 across two loans since 2014.

CiderApples

3) Keep your drinks piping hot with a flask

Worried about your drinks getting cold? Chilly’s Bottles keep your drinks hot for 12 hours! These reusable bottles are not only practical, but also stylish. From the Dots & Dashes to the Galaxy edition, the bottles come in a variety of different colours and patterns to accommodate all tastes. To raise funds and buy more stock, Chilly’s Bottles borrowed £20,000 in 2016.

Flask

4) Cosy up with cashmere

With the hot drinks sorted, make sure you’re dressed for the occasion with Turtle Doves cashmere accessories. With everything from cashmere hats to leg warmers, you’ll be cosy and warm from head to toe. To increase stock in preparation for their peak winter season and to grow their online presence, Turtle Doves borrowed £90,970 in 2017.

Scarves

5) Ignite the sky with fireworks

Finally, make it a night to remember with Jubilee Fireworks, the UK’s most awarded fireworks company and double winners of the Montreal International Fireworks competition. With an outstanding range of products, you’ll be able to host your very own dazzling fireworks display. To boost working capital and import more goods, Jubilee Fireworks have borrowed just over £328,000 over multiple loans with Funding Circle since 2013.

Fireworks

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside 72,000 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 29,000 UK businesses have accessed finance through 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.

Meet the booming bicycle company on the road to success

Tom and Sian met in Amsterdam and immediately became obsessed with the beautiful bicycles cruising around the streets. Back in London, they soon realised that no shops were selling the bikes they grew to love in the Netherlands, which sparked their inspiration to start Bobbin Bikes.

Founded in 2007, Bobbin Bikes have a range of trendy leisure bicycles for everyday cyclists across the world. The unique brand is known for it’s brightly-coloured and stylish bikes with long handlebars and handy baskets – even David Beckham’s daughter is a huge fan of her Bobbin!

In 2016 the team looked at their business plan and decided to add a new online sales channel to go with their shop. They needed fast financial support to buy more stock and fulfill all their new orders. After contacting Funding Circle, the team had £250,000 in their account 2 weeks later – “For us, it felt a breath of fresh air” said Tom. The future of Bobbin Bikes has never looked so bright.

In this short video, meet Tom and Sian and learn more about their exciting journey:

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Bobbin Bikes?
Lend alongside 72,000 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 28,000 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.

New business growth in Exeter, thanks to our ActionCOACH partner

At Funding Circle, we want to do all we can to help businesses get the finance they need to grow. While most businesses apply to us directly, we also work with a number of partners, who recommend us to their clients if they’re in need of funding.

One such partner is business coaching firm ActionCOACH, who referred their client Accountancy Learning to Funding Circle in May this year.

Accountancy Learning are a specialist training provider for accountancy qualifications. The team work with over 1,000 students and 80 apprentices and recently won the AAT Champion award.

Founders Prue and Simon Deane  have been working with ActionCOACH for 18 months, with business coach Steve providing executive coaching to boost their business. Due to a change in apprenticeship funding, Accountancy Learning were in need of finance to expand their business and continue to offer their specialised training. After struggling to get a bank loan, Steve recommended Funding Circle, and they were able to borrow £25,000 in just a few days. “It had taken 3 months for the bank to say no, and it took Funding Circle 3 days to say yes”, Simon told us.

ActionCOACH has helped thousands of business owners across the globe achieve their goals, leading them to become the number one business coaching firm in the world. Since partnering last year, ActionCOACH and Funding Circle have helped UK businesses access over £3 million to grow and prosper. We believe this partnership will enhance the future lending opportunities for Funding Circle investors and give more businesses the opportunity to flourish.

In this video meet Prue and Simon and hear about their experience working with ActionCOACH. You’ll also find out more about the partnership between Funding Circle and ActionCOACH, and how we will continue to work together to help future businesses develop.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Accountancy Learning Ltd?

Lend alongside 72,000 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.

Partner with Funding Circle

We work with a wide range of corporate and bank partners to help UK businesses access much needed finance. Email our Partnerships team at ukpartners@fundingcircle.com to find out how we can work together.

Windsurfing world-champion is riding towards success

Growing up by the stunning south coast of England, Christine Johnston’s love for windsurfing started at an early age. “My dad got me into windsurfing and I got quite hooked quite quickly.” she explains. Since then, Christine has won eight national titles and most impressively, won the World Windsurfing Championships in 2003.  

After finishing her competitive windsurfing career in 2008, Christine worked at an office job for five years, but found the work tiresome and dull. As an individual with an ambitious personality and a huge passion for watersports, she decided to quit her job and pursue her dream of becoming a kitesurfing instructor. One year later, after Christine completed her kitesurfing instructor course, she took her learnings into practice and founded KiTE SURF & SUP Co, a kitesurfing school and online shop based in beautiful Brighton and Worthing in 2014.

After two years of steady and successful growth, Christine wanted to grow her online shop and update the website to help develop her company even further. In order progress with these plans, she received fast financial support from 126 Funding Circle investors in March 2016 who wanted to see her business thrive.

In this short video, learn more about Christine’s passion for teaching kitesurfing:

Are you interested in lending to businesses like KiTE SURF & SUP Co?

Lend alongside 65,000 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 27,000 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.

Outdoor enthusiast goes for growth

Meet Jim Whittaker, Managing Director at Channel Group and full-time outdoor enthusiast. While teaching science and outdoor education in schools, Jim began to realise that there were things he wanted to do, such as training apprentice instructors and delivering exciting new activities, were best achieved outside of formal education. So he set out to do something about it.

In 2012, Jim and his friend Darren quit their day jobs and started Channel Group, founded with a simple mission: to get more people out and about in the beautiful outdoors. In Jim’s words, “It’s smiles on faces, it’s being in a totally natural environment, where people can just relax, express themselves and be themselves without the clutter of modern life.”  From teaching personal development programmes in Taunton to providing high-quality lessons in Minehead, the adventurous team cover all bases.

Five years on, Channel Group has grown to become a hugely successful outdoor activity business. In order to keep up with the high demand for their courses, Jim needed more passionate people to join the team. Turning to Funding Circle for support, Jim was able to progress with his growth plans thanks to you and other investors. “I can’t ever see any bank loan offer being inline with an aspiration to do some really cool stuff in the outdoors – Funding Circle is about that.”

In this short video, learn more about Jim’s passion for outdoor education:

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Channel Group?
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.

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

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?
Lend alongside over 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 26,000 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.

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.

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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?

Lend alongside 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.

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.