Camden invests in Funding Circle for SMEs

Camden invests in Funding Circle for SMEsSmall and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based in the borough of Camden will be the first to benefit from new growth, stimulated through a new scheme described as London's first peer-to-peer business lending initiative.

The snappily-titled Funding Circle aims to boost local economic growth and employment throughout the district by improving access to finance for small businesses.

Lack of funding has been a major obstacle for many firms throughout the UK and has been identified as a significant barrier to a recovery from the current recession. The coalition has even introduced a number of its own initiatives in order to combat the issue, including Funding for Lending, although these have had little effect thus far.

As a result, Camden Council decided to take things into its own hands, by making £100,000 available to SMEs throughout the borough and the surrounding area via the Funding Circle, a website that serves to connect lenders to firms in need of working capital.

The method of funding has been identified as the future of business borrowing and a potential model for small firms across London to use in the future.

Camden Council cabinet member for finance Councillor Theo Blackwell said: "Camden businesses say that access to finance is a major issue and traditional bank lending is often slow to respond. 

"By lending through Funding Circle we are breaking down barriers stopping established local businesses growing and investing in the Camden and London economy."

James Meekings, co-founder of Funding Circle, added that the innovative partnership between his organisation and Camden Council will "drive growth and create jobs at an important time".

"We hope that other London councils will be inspired to use initiatives like this and follow Camden’s example," he concluded.

The vast majority of the borough's councils (83 per cent) have fewer than ten employees on the payroll, while a further 16 per cent have between ten and 249 members of staff. These are the ones that fall under the SME category and will therefore be able to benefit from the scheme.

Published 26th March, 2013

© 2013 Estates IT Limited

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