University in business lending link-up

THE University of Huddersfield has become the UK’s first university to invest in British small businesses using peer-to-peer lending in a move that will also provide scholarship funds for students.

Its partnership with online lending marketplace Funding Circle will see the university use the interest earned on its investments to provide scholarships to students from socially deprived backgrounds who want to study for its Enterprise Development degree. The university aims to lend an initial £100,000 to businesses across the UK.

The partnership will also provide businesses with access to the university’s technology and research facilities and a programme of seminars and internships will be developed with borrowers so students gain experience with fast-growing businesses as part of their degrees.

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The partnership is the brainchild of Vice-Chancellor Prof Bob Cryan, who said: “Working with Funding Circle in this way allows us to boost our scholarship fund and provide an injection of capital funds to thriving British businesses at the same time.”

The initiative is expected to support scholarships for up to 200 students over five years.

In November, Lancashire County Council became the first local authority to start lending through Funding Circle.