Business lender helps international students Settle In
An entrepreneur who studied abroad has used his experience to launch a student support business with the help of a £30k loan from the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) via its NPIF (Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund) Microfinance scheme
entrepreneur who studied abroad has used his experience to launch a student
support business with the help of a £30k loan from the Business Enterprise Fund
(BEF) via its NPIF (Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund) Microfinance scheme.
In, based in Stockton-on-Tees, was the brainchild of Ray Abbas (28) and offers
help to international students in universities across the North East. The
website displays information on local attractions, maps, what’s on guides and
student essentials such as money and travel advice.
was inspired to set up the business after spending time in France and Germany
while studying at Edge Hill University. During his time abroad, he discovered
the lack of support available for international students and found it difficult
to find basic information and navigate a foreign city.
working closely with international pupils at his university’s office, he
discovered other students had encountered similar experiences; understanding
the enormity of this issue, he wanted to make moving to a new country less
daunting. As he was unable to find a similar service, Ray saw the real
difference he could make to students’ wellbeing and contacted BEF for funding
to expand and develop the business.
executive officer at Settle In, Ray, said: “The loan has enabled me to recruit
two full time digital marketing staff, who will help develop the website,
manage social media, create content and marketing materials for the business.
The support from BEF has also allowed us to move into fantastic new offices and
develop our website, helping us feel more established as a brand new business.”
added: “Our experience with BEF was phenomenal, the turnaround was so quick and
they all shared my vision. Our investment manager Lee was superb, he really got
under the skin of the business and completely understood what made us tick. We
wouldn’t be where we are now without his hard work.”
Business Enterprise Fund is a social enterprise specialising in providing
funding and advice to businesses across Yorkshire and the North East. In 2017
it was announced as a joint fund manager for the NPIF Microfinance scheme with
Doncaster’s Finance For Enterprise.
Vickers, investment manager at BEF, said: “It’s marvellous to see such a
powerful story behind this loan – Ray has experienced the issue first hand and
has used his entrepreneurial spirit to bring his idea to life. He has
identified a huge gap within the market and we’re excited to see how our loan
will transform the business and help students across the country.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is
supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European
Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of
the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, said: “As a region we’re renowned the world over for our expertise in
heavy industry, chemicals and engineering but we have so much more to offer.
The Tees Valley has a thriving and growing tech and digital sector, and I’m
pleased that Ray has secured the funding he needs to take Settle In to the next
level. Entrepreneurs and risk-takers are vital to our region and I look forward
to following Ray’s progress as the business grows.”
If you are also a business looking for finance, please get in touch with one of our investment team on 0800 080 3145.
For more information on Settle In visit https://www.settlein.io/