The European Investment Bank (EIB) today agreed a £100 million (€129 million) investment in loans to UK small businesses originated through Funding Circle, the London-based operator of a marketplace for business loans.
This investment, alongside £25 million from Funding Circle's own 'SME Income Fund', will enable over £200 million of new loans over 7 years, the EIB said. There are an estimated 5.4 million+ small businesses in the UK accounting for 99.3% of all private sector business.
Since its launch in 2010, Funding Circle has facilitated more than £1.3 billion of loans to 16,000 businesses in the UK. Its new partnership with the EIB represents the first deployment of the latter's funding through a direct lending marketplace to support small businesses.
“Investment by small businesses drives economic growth, and simple, efficient access to finance is essential to help small companies to expand, create jobs and harness new opportunities," argued European Investment Bank VP Jonathan Taylor.
"This new and exciting partnership with Funding Circle demonstrates the European Investment Bank’s firm commitment to seeking out new ways to stimulate business investment across Europe. The £100 million backing will not only unlock over £200 million of new investment by small businesses across the UK, but also provides an innovative model for supporting SMEs that could be used elsewhere in Europe," he added.
To be continued, no doubt.