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Leicestershire Local Enterprise Fund

Mon 23rd December, 2013 by Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership

Leicestershire Local Enterprise Fund

Council invests £1m to boost businesses

Leicestershire County Council is investing £1 million to help struggling businesses raise finance and create hundreds of jobs.

It has set up a £1 million programme with Funding Circle, the UK's leading online marketplace for business loans, to help firms expand and grow.

Known as the Leicestershire Local Enterprise Fund, it was launched after the Leicestershire business survey revealed 55 per cent of small firms were using credit cards to raise funds.

Blake Pain, cabinet member for economic development, said: "Boosting our economy is our top priority but we can't get growth if firms are struggling to raise finance.

"That's why we've launched this easy to access fund - to kick-start the economy, by lending some money from our reserves."

Funding Circle spokesman David de Koning said: "We know businesses are looking to access fast finance in a fair and efficient way. This partnership will see council funds injected into the heart of the business community in Leicestershire, helping to drive growth and create jobs.

"To date, we have already helped lend more than £4m to businesses in Leicestershire and with the council's investment, we expect hundreds more businesses to benefit over the next 12 months."

To be eligible, firms must have a minimum turnover of £100,000 and have been trading for at least two years. Businesses can borrow between £5,000 and £1 million and investors receive an average net return of 5.8 per cent.

For further details of how to apply, see www.fundingcircle.com or contact leicsloans@fundingcircle.com

Background:

Funding Circle (www.fundingcircle.com) is the world's leading online marketplace for business loans. It enables businesses to access finance independent of their banks, whilst at the same time allowing British people to earn attractive, stable returns for the long-term. This process sidesteps the high street banks with businesses receiving finance in a matter of days compared to up to three months for a traditional bank loan.

Once businesses pass Funding Circle's credit assessment processes, their loan is posted on the marketplace. From here, investors choose which type of businesses to lend to, and bid the amount of money they wish to lend, and the interest rate they want to earn. Investors can bid small amounts, from as little as £20, on lots of different businesses to spread their risk.

Since launching in August 2010, Funding Circle has helped more than 3,000 businesses borrow more than £185 million. Investors include thousands of individuals, the British Government, local councils and Huddersfield University.

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