First university to invest in peer-to-peer lending

Tue, 05 Feb 2013 16:37:00 GMT

Profits to support 200 student scholarships

  • Huddersfield becomes UK’s first university to use peer-to-peer lending to invest in British businesses 
  • Profits expected to support scholarships for up to 200 students over five years 
  • Businesses will also gain access to Huddersfield’s world-class technology and research facilities

James Meekings, co-founder of Funding Circle pictured with Vice-Chancellor Professor Bob Cryan

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan, is pictured here with the co-founder of Funding Circle James Meekings.

The University of Huddersfield, the UK’s Entrepreneurial University of the Year, and Funding Circle have launched a pioneering partnership that will see the University provide scholarships to students, via investments in British businesses. 

Huddersfield will lend an initial £100,000 to businesses across the UK, using Funding Circle, the UK’s largest online marketplace where people lend directly to small businesses.  

This initiative, named the Business Lending Partnership, will not only support business owners but also help develop tomorrow’s business leaders.  All interest earned from the investment will be put towards student scholarships for the University’s ‘Enterprise Development’ degree.  Over the next five years, it is anticipated that this could benefit more than 200 talented students from socially-deprived backgrounds. 

The partnership will provide growing businesses with access to the University of Huddersfield’s world-class technology and research facilities, including its recently opened £12.5 million 3M Buckley Innovation Centre.  Funding Circle and the University will also develop a programme of seminars and internship opportunities with borrowers to ensure the next generation of business leaders gain hands-on experience with fast-growing British businesses as part of their degrees.

James explains further on what Funding Circle is about in the video below.

Theo Paphitis, a supporter of the University’s Enterprise Development degree, said:

“I have seen first-hand that the University of Huddersfield has a deep commitment to supporting businesses and delivering the next generation of business leaders and with this initiative the University has made a pioneering step in taking its commitment to businesses even further.  It is an exemplar for other universities to follow.” 

James Meekings, co-founder of Funding Circle said: 

“This partnership will enable British businesses to better compete at home and abroad, while utilising the talents of the University’s students.  At the same time, it will provide much-needed work experience with companies that are the lifeblood the UK economy.  There are over one hundred universities in the UK – if the University of Huddersfield’s investment can help to support 200 students over five years, imagine the possibilities.” 

The partnership was the brainchild of the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan, who is committed to strengthening the University’s links with businesses.  He 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.  At Huddersfield, we pride ourselves on our business degrees and graduates.  The Business Lending Partnership will help us to strengthen our ties with businesses across the UK, which can only benefit our students.” 

“This partnership represents the University of Huddersfield’s commitment to the future of British business.  Together we will support entrepreneurs active in today’s business world while at the same time helping young business people develop the right knowledge and skills for the future.” 

The investment is Funding Circle’s third institutional partnership.  Last month the Government announced plans to lend £20 million to small businesses through Funding Circle in 2013.

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