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A scheme which lends small amounts of money to small businesses and new start-ups has beaten its own target in its first year.

Grameen in the UK, the micro-lending initiative facilitated by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), has issued more than 100 loans.

It is the first such Grameen-style scheme in Western Europe.

Grameen aims to alleviate economic, health and social inequalities in some of Scotland’s poorest communities.

The original Grameen bank was founded in Bangladesh in the 1970s by Nobel Prize winner Prof Muhammad Yunus.

Grameen in the UK offers small loans, initially of £1,000, for up to 52 weeks to new start-ups and existing small businesses currently not served by any financial services.

The model has been used in developing countries to support entrepreneurship and alleviate poverty, and in many cases to empower women.

However in the UK, currently 60% of Grameen’s borrowers are men.

The venture is backed by a number of funders including Tesco Bank.

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