Santander launches pioneering competition for first crowdfunding-led cycle scheme

Santander has today announced a new Santander Cycles University Competition; a unique initiative which offers Santander UK university partners* the chance to collaborate on the creation of their own bespoke cycle hire scheme.

The initiative, which offers two institutions the chance to win the capital funding for a scheme, reflects strong interest from universities who are increasingly seeking new sustainable transport solutions to help them address congestion, reduce emissions and promote well-being. The competition also helps overcome the financial difficulties that universities face in installing cycle schemes by covering the significant capital costs which traditionally challenge their viability.

Twenty three** universities from across the UK have confirmed their participation in the competition, which offers a new and innovative model for how cycle schemes can be developed and funded.

In the first phase, participating universities will benefit from expert consultancy allowing them to design a bike scheme that meets their specific needs, delivered through Santander’s cycle partner; Nextbike which runs over 130 schemes worldwide. The university will also receive support from Crowdfunder, the UK’s leading crowdfunding platform on how to raise funds to cover the on-going operating costs of the scheme. Beyond generating income, crowdfunding will also allow universities to validate their communities’ interest by testing its commitment prior to installation.

Following three months of workshops and virtual coaching each university will submit their plans to an expert panel of judges, including Bikeplus, the UK’s leading independent body for cycle hire schemes. The panel will shortlist the top six submissions and the selected universities will move through to the final round of the competition. Those universities who do not progress will retain a feasibility and marketing plan that they may wish to launch at a later date.

In the second stage of the competition, due to begin after the summer break, the six shortlisted universities will each compete to engage their communities and raise funds through their own crowdfunding campaigns. The two winning universities will be those that reach the highest percentage of funds above their operating target. Since smaller universities will design smaller schemes and have correspondingly lower operating costs, this will ensure a level playing field for all participants. The two winners will each receive the capital costs for a cycle scheme valued at up to £100,000, with the schemes launching in Spring 2018.

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK, said: “Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK. This is a great opportunity for students to get involved in an exciting competition that leads to their very own cycle scheme, whilst learning many news skills along the way.

“The competition is the next phase in our commitment to supporting local communities across the country by exploring a completely new model for cycle hire. We hope this will pave the way for more communities to be able to benefit in the future whilst inspiring students to make a positive long term contribution to life on campus.”

Dawn Dewar, Transport Co-ordinator at the University of East Anglia said: “We are really excited to be participating in this competition; our University has the opportunity to win a bike scheme but perhaps more importantly our students have an opportunity to take away knowledge, experience and skills that will be of value to them when they graduate. We are already brainstorming ideas and making plans for our winning entry.”

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Notes to Editors:

*The competition was open to 69 of the 81 UK University partners as it excluded those already covered by an existing cycle scheme.

** The universities taking part are:
Northumbria, Newcastle, Lancaster, Leicester, Essex, Swansea, Leeds, Chester, Bath Spa, Portsmouth, East Anglia, Cardiff Metropolitan, St. Andrews, Cranfield, Royal Holloway, Nottingham, York, Kent, Brunel, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Plymouth, and Surrey.

The Santander Cycles University Competition is now in progress with the shortlist due to be announced in May. The two winning universities will be announced in January 2018 with the scheme set to be launched in Spring 2018. Please note that the application period for initial entries has now closed.

Santander Cycles in London now covers 100 square kilometres, making it the second largest cycle hire scheme in Europe. Since launching in July 2010, more than 57 million journeys have been made, and the scheme enjoyed a record-breaking start to 2017 with more than 600,000 journeys made in January. Among the improvements made to the popular scheme last year were the introduction of Blaze Laserlights to all 11,500 bikes, a new Santander Cycles Business Accounts scheme, and more bikes and docking stations, including at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

About Santander

Santander Universities UK
Santander, through its Santander Universities division, maintains partnerships with close to 1,200 academic institutions in 20 countries. Santander Universities was introduced in the UK in 2007 and the bank is already collaborating with 81 British Universities and Higher Education Institutions, with agreements focused on promoting international exchange, entrepreneurial activities and the mobility of students and researchers within the network.

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 31 December 2016, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c20,000 employees and operates through 841 branches (which includes 60 university branches) and 67 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, headquartered in Spain, with a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas. It is among the world’s top banks by market capitalization. The bank’s purpose is to help people and businesses prosper, in a way that is simple, personal and fair. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.52 trillion in managed funds, 125 million customers, 12,200 branches and 188,000 employees at the close of 2016. Santander made attributable profit of EUR 6,204 million in 2016, an increase of 4% compared to the previous year.

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