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The European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend EUR 100 million through Funding Circle, a leading global platform for small business loans. This investment, alongside a further EUR 25 million from a leading global asset manager, will support over 2,000 small businesses in Germany and the Netherlands over the next two years and provide a further injection of

much-needed funding into the European small business sector. The EU bank’s loan is backed by a guarantee from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan – under which the EIB and the European Commission are working together as strategic partners and the EIB’s financing operations are boosting the competitiveness of the European economy.

The transaction builds on the successful existing partnership between Funding Circle and the EIB in the UK. Since 2016 the EIB has lent £100 million (EUR 120 million) to UK small businesses. Online lending platforms play an increasingly important role in channelling finance directly through to small businesses, whilst also operating as an important new channel for governments and supranational entities to directly stimulate the real economy.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) continue to be underserved across Europe when it comes to access to finance, despite their significant contribution to the economy. Despite ongoing efforts on the EU-level, a recent survey by the European Commission found that 18% of the European SMEs did not manage to get the full bank loan they had planned for during 2018.

Since launching in 2010, Funding Circle has facilitated more than EUR 7.5 billion of loans to over 60,000 businesses globally. Across Europe, 50,000 businesses have accessed about EUR 5.5 billion in finance to date. The platform model enables institutional investors to access the SME lending asset class in an efficient and scalable way. The EIB joins a diverse group of investors lending to small businesses through Funding Circle, such as more than 85,000 retail investors, financial institutions, national and local governments such as the British Business Bank in the UK, and the German development bank KfW, as well as international organisations such as the European Investment Fund.

By linking supply directly with demand through the marketplace, Funding Circle diversifies the sources of funding available to small businesses and supports economic growth and job creation in local communities.

In Germany, Funding Circle has facilitated more than EUR 210 million in small business loans since 2015, EUR 100 million in 2018 alone. The platform supports small businesses from all over Germany with finance, creating and sustaining 1,700 jobs in 2017.  

In the Netherlands, Funding Circle has facilitated more than EUR 140 million in small business loans since 2015, EUR 81.2 million in 2018 alone. The platform supports small businesses from all over the Netherlands with finance, creating and sustaining 900 jobs in 2017.